Get to Know: Brianna

Dov Weinstein Elul '24
Meet a Writer with a Willingness to Try New Things

Profile and photos by Dov Weinstein Elul ‘24

In our student voices series, “Get to Know,” Dov Weinstein Elul ’24 introduces us to fellow Poly students he meets around campus.

When Brianna Sylvain ‘27 attended her very first Polygon meeting as a 6th grader, she couldn’t have been more excited about the idea of becoming a student journalist. Although she was one of the few middle schoolers there at the time, she left the meeting with a smile on her face and a new assignment: an article about why affinity groups were not doing so well. “I remember it being so inviting, so accepting, and just being happy to be there.” When she finished her story (though she now looks back on it and laughs at the quality) she knew she wanted to continue. Just a few months later, Brianna would become the first Middle School editor. 

Brianna’s curiosity about journalism started while reading various publications including Vogue, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. “When you’re reading a publication you always want to see the types of stories you like. And if I like these stories so much, shouldn’t I be writing them too, to entertain that demographic that I am a part of?” 

Brianna Sylvain in hallway.

Now in ninth grade, having over 15 articles under her belt to date, she has been able to make that dream come true. Brianna, now the arts editor, has come to enjoy journalism for two reasons. She is able to tell stories and write fun pieces, ranging from an article about cranberry sauce to Haitian independence Day—whilst also giving back to the Poly community, by informing the students, faculty, and staff through her work. The Polygon in particular, she noted, does a very good job simulating a real publication, “you get to see what layout looks like, and go to pitch meetings, and go after the writer whose story was due two weeks ago and they still haven’t sent it to you, or collect interviews.” Being a part of The Polygon allows her to be more than just a student on campus, a feeling she has now grown to relish. Brianna said she finds herself writing articles even when The Polygon is not publishing, just for fun. The Communications Office, where The Polygon is located, has become a sort of second home for Sylvain, “when I sit in Polygon meetings I just feel like I’m surrounded by so many smart people. I am gaining brain cells by being here,” she joked. Today she is very committed to The Polygon and writes for every issue. “I tell people I’ve drawn blood and everything,” she joked.

Sylvain believes her writing, which now extends beyond just journalism, has been encouraged and fostered at Poly. Other publications, such as The Blue and Gray, Poly’s magazine, or The Poly Record, the school’s literary art magazine offer her other opportunities where she can practice her craft in different forms. She believes that Poly, through its rigorous literature instruction in both history and English classes, encourages each student to hone their writing skills.

The connections she has made with the people in each of her unique interests; the swim team, The Polygon, the string ensemble, have and continue to make a big school like Poly feel a lot smaller and close knit.

Heading into high school, Brianna committed herself to finding a balance between academics, athletics, and arts. Brianna for most of her life, had been a dancer, not an athlete. But when she decided to quit dancing, she knew she wanted to find a sport to fill the time. “Athletics was always something I wanted to try and playing a Poly sport is just such a good experience.” After trying out the track team in 8th grade, she has now earned a spot on the swim team. Although Brianna had never competitively swam before, she was excited to try out the team and has quickly become very passionate about it. Brianna now swims most days of the week, both for Poly and a club team outside of school. 

Brianna Sylvain working on computer in Communications Office.
Brianna at work for The Polygon in the Communications Office.

Additionally, Brianna decided to pick up a new instrument in high school. Although she is a beginner, she enjoys being a member of Poly’s string ensemble. “It’s just another one of those spaces that I love. We’re all having a great time playing these pieces, and I love the setting,” she said.

Brianna’s favorite part about Poly is the flexibility of its schedule, which allows her to participate in string ensemble and Polygon during the school day schedule, giving her room to try more things, like sports, after school.

One of the things Poly is best at, Brianna told me, is creating small communities within the larger school community. The connections she has made with the people in each of her unique interests; the swim team, The Polygon, the string ensemble, have and continue to make a big school like Poly feel a lot smaller and close knit.

In her next three years at Poly, Brianna wants to leave her mark. Maybe through an in-depth and well-reported Polygon article, or, maybe through performing a particularly beautiful symphony with the string ensemble. In whatever form it may take, leaving a lasting legacy of her time at Poly is one of her goals and she is on her way to achieve just that.