By HAILEY MATZ ‘23
When imagining the “perfect student,” a handful of EHS teachers can say they’ve had the privilege of working with one. Intelligent. Hard-working. Detail-Oriented. All characteristics of a model student, this is a student that always strives for nothing less than greatness. Ask any former teachers of Hayley Slusser ‘18: she did not disappoint. Slusser is currently the new editor-in-chief for The Daily Targum as a Junior at Rutgers University. Founded in 1869, The Daily Targum holds the title for being the second-oldest collegiate newspaper in the United States. Over at Rutgers, Slusser is held at extreme standards, is confident in her craft, and always pulls through. During her days at EHS, she could be seen participating in clubs and musical theatre, all while maintaining extraordinary grades and a healthy mindset. At Rutgers, she pushes through the hurdles of young adulthood while keeping up with her position at the Targum.
The Eagle’s Eye reached out to Slusser for more insight into the position she holds at The Daily Targum.
EE: How did EHS prepare you for writing at the Targum?
HS: I definitely enjoyed my history and English teachers the most. My favorite teacher of all time was Dr. Nasser, and taking his World History class opened my eyes to social issues I had never heard of. He single-handedly shaped me throughout my high school years, not just as a teacher, but as a person as well.
The Eagle’s Eye also contacted EHS’s AP World History teacher Dr. Nasser, who shared a few words about his days teaching Slusser.
Dr. Nasser: I am very honored to have had the opportunity to teach Hayley. Obviously, in my class, she excelled to high amounts. Though outside of academics, we clicked the instant she began my class. She was always very interested in my academic background and the social issues we would chat about. This is the reason why we teach, going into deeper social issues in class was tricky. Hayley was always the first to ask questions. Even when she hesitated I told her it was alright to have these lingering questions about society. Now I see how successful she has become and will be, and I sit here honored to be a part of her journey.
EHS principal, Charles Ross, also contributed a few words of kindness.
Mr. Ross: Hayley was always a student who found a way to give back to the school. She brightened the day of all who saw her and would always speak up in her classes. As a Rutgers second-generation alum who read the Targum on a thousand bus rides during my time on the Banks, I couldn’t be more proud to have an Eagle Alum running the show!
After, we continued our chat with Slusser.
EE: How many years have you been at Rutgers?
HS: I am a Junior in college, though this is only my second full year at Rutgers. I transferred freshman year from North Eastern in Boston. I spent my first semester there in London on a special program.
EE: What is your major, and what degree will you graduate with?
HS: Journalism and Media Studies. I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts.
EE: Is journalism something you want to pursue?
HS: I discovered my love for journalism towards the end of high school. My mom suggested I’d be a newscaster, though I was always more comfortable relaying news through writing. One day, hopefully, I would love to write for The New York Times, I am not concerned with the outlet as much. I just want to write stories that people will care about, and put my ideas into a large crowd. My dream after college is to be a political journalist.
EE: What does an average day working for the newspaper look like?
HS: Right now as the editor-in-chief, I will send a message to everyone asking how many stories each section has for the next day. For each section, the main editors get their stories from the writers. Then, they edit it themselves to make sure it’s formatted correctly; after that they send their work to the copy editors. Those are the people that check if the quotes are embedded correctly, as well as the AP style rules being up to date. After I get sent the piece, I review them making sure most articles are not biased, and that all information is factual. If there are things I am uncertain about I communicate with the writers. Pre-Covid I would review a printed paper, now I look over google docs as well as help manage the Targum’s social media.
EE: What is your favorite story you have covered?
HS: When I was the news editor one of the long-term stories we were working on was about a school called the Lincoln Annex. Rutgers has a partnership with Robert Wood Johnson and was going to tear down this school to build a new cancer institute. While cancer is important, most kids who attended this school were immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries. The new school that was going to be built was very far from its original location and the parents were mad. For about a year they protested for this building to stay up. I liked covering this piece because I loved standing up for those injustices with the families.
EE: What’s the atmosphere like at the Targum?
HS: Right now we aren’t able to see each other in person. Though Pre-Covid, we all became pretty close and were able to bounce ideas off of each other. The new editors that came in last year were extraordinary and we all clicked very fast. The atmosphere is great in person and online, though I miss being able to communicate in person.
EE: What would you say to the younger girls who want to go down your same path?
HS: Do not be afraid to speak out and be a leader. I’m confident in what I’m doing, if I know I’m right I am not going to let anyone tell me what to do. Do not allow people to mistake your kindness for an opportunity to take advantage of you in any work field. Just be stern, be strong, and stand your ground. I believe women have to deal with these problems more than men and that there is a fine line in society that underestimates a woman’s ability to be great. For any younger girls, do what you want to do and do not let anyone get in the way of your success.