The adolescent years are the bridge between childhood and adulthood. Parallel to growth spurts is a similar growth in experience and maturity; these formative years and how they forge the foundation of one’s lifelong identity are the focus of this edition of Verde.

In “Other (Multiracial),” staff writers Lucia Amieva-Wang, Ashley Hitchings, Jenny Tseng and Ella Thomsen explore how students straddling multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds have defined their identities — and how their experiences have in turn shaped their own definitions of race. While many multiracial individuals are born into cross-cultural worlds, those with multilingual families can also struggle to find a place within more than one community. Written by staff writers Gila Winefeld and Angela Liu, “Bilingual by Luck” delves into this phenomenon, profiling individuals who both fully embrace their dual worlds as well as those who have not quite found their ideal connection to their family’s histories.

As the Bay Area has shifted to accept various forms of cultural diversity, the push and pull between other aspects of contemporary lifestyle and traditional practices has also become more apparent. Staff writers Asia Gardias and Abby Cummings peer into a microcosm of this transition in the closing of a beloved Eastern European market. “The Milk Pail” uncovers the hardships of upholding heritage in a more modern-day, progressive environment.

For some immigrants, this upholding of heritage comes in the form of sharing their home cultures with others. In “Pho Banh Mi,” staff writers Jenny Tseng and Ashley Hitchings explain how restaurant owner Jade Luong opens her new establishment, not only to accomplish a childhood dream, but also to provide a location for individuals to experience camaraderie over a bowl of pho and a banh mi.

Whereas the previous stories explore identity through the lens of culture, “Admissions: Impossible” looks into identity shaped by a shared experience. Staff writers Riya Matta and Bridget Li break down the college admissions pressure at Palo Alto High School amid the Operation Varsity Blues scandal: both the ethical temptations the pressure offers as well as the potential it can unlock.

As new editors-in-chief, we are thrilled to be continuing Verde’s history of high-quality, hard-hitting journalism. At the same time, we aim to continue developing our magazine’s identity — one that connects aspects of our community through authentic storytelling. We are incredibly excited to see where this next year takes us and we couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of a publication with such a strong sense-of-self.

— Alex, Rachel, Emma

On the cover

Staff writer Lucia Amieva-Wang frames freshman Isa Morabia, a multiracial student, with the sentence: “Every person has their passions, their fears, and their joys. Every person has something to say, and it’s our place to give them a voice.” Written in multiple languages, the cover represents on a larger scale how one’s appearance is only a fraction of their story.This intertwinement of external and internal identities is explored through the cover stories “Other (Multiracial)” and “Bilingual by Luck” which come together into a package that exemplify how individuals perceive themselves on the inside – voices, the words we speak – versus how they may be perceived by others – faces, self-image and racial alignment.