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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Orchestra Fosters Friendship at Annual Squads Reveal

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  • Animated, Magnolia Hance ’26 narrates a game of Mafia. After being assigned to squads, groups united to play a game of Mafia together, concluding the event.

  • Creating a group chat, Medha Katragadda ’25 adds the numbers of her squad members to her phone. After receiving squad assignments, members united by squads to familiarize themselves and foster the beginnings of new friendships.

  • Beaming, Pedro Badillo ’25 and Izzy Valenzuela ’24 open their envelopes to reveal squad assignments with enthusiasm. Orchestra officers assigned squads based on shared interests and existing friendships among members.

  • Forming a circle, Medha Katragadda ’25, Mahathi Harith ’25, and Remy Simpson ’25 await for a game of Mafia to being. With the intention of the Squads program to facilitate community-building, socializing during the Squads Reveal event was highly encouraged.

  • Assigning roles in a game of Mafia, Leila Tavasoli ’25 confirms her decision with another orchestra member. Orchestra officers narrated Mafia games after Squad reveals occured to strengthen the notion of familiarity with one another in the program.

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Nurturing feelings of familiarity and friendship were key objectives of the Westwood Orchestra department as they hosted their annual Squads Reveal event after school on Friday, Sept. 29. A years-long orchestra tradition, the Squads Program serves to cultivate community-building through friendly competition. 

“Squads is a program within orchestra designed to help members meet new people, [and] to get that familial feeling of community in orchestra going,” Advertising Commitee Officer Eera Gour-Gupta ‘25 said. 

Each “squad” consists of four to five members of the same orchestra, assigned to groups by orchestra officers. Throughout the year, squads accumulate points by participating in monthly challenges, competing in social events, or spending time together. At the end of the year, the squad with the most points wins a prize.

“[Squads] were assigned by interests, so a lot of detail went into the process, hoping everyone meets their match in the program,” Gour-Gupta said. 

The afternoon began with a presentation from Junior Vice President Nirvik Pande ‘25, who introduced new members to Squads and welcomed back returners. In his speech, Pande touched on how the program leverages collaboration and engagement, and despite the competitive aspect, Squads fulfills a more meaningful purpose. 

“Squads are a wonderful initiative in orchestra to foster friendship in our community,” Pande said. “[Officers] aim to create squads that allow friends to stay together while also providing opportunities for everyone to meet new people and build new friendships.”

Following the speech, envelopes revealing squad assignments were distributed to attendees.

“I love the whole reveal process, it makes it really dramatized and exciting,” orchestra member Medha Katragadda ‘25 said. “I really enjoy the Squads program because it allows you to get closer to other members in your orchestra who you might not have had the chance to otherwise.”

Catalyzing camaraderie, newly assigned squads paired with others to play Mafia, bringing the event to a close. 

“There was definitely lots of friendly competition, [already] sparking the room,” Gour-Gupta said. “Squads is a very inclusive program. The [officers] who have put so much thought into it, have really fostered a sense of community within orchestra.”


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About the Contributor
Chloe Oakley, Campus News Editor
Class of 2025 Looking forward to another year as a part of Student Press, I am especially excited to be serving as Campus News Editor for an organization I so cherish. Beyond an obvious love for writing, my primary interests include literature and music. In the rare moments you find me outside the newsroom, I am likely hiking, fulfilling my love for coffee, or escaping into a thriller novel.

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    Omkar PatilOct 10, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    W article