Roving Teen Reporter: Writer Rotation

Jasmine Criqui

With her top-notch writing skills, passion for all things politics, and attentiveness to her community, Neha Pubbi was the perfect fit to take over the position of roving teen reporter from graduating senior Dhathry Doppalapudi. During her time at the Sandpiper, Neha has covered topics like teen life during the pandemic, San Diego’s policing practices, and high school students’ views of the 2020 election. Next year, she’ll be taking her talents to the University of California, Berkeley, where she plans to study political economy. “I’m excited for change. We’ve been in this pandemic for a while and I’ve been at home and I’m ready to branch out on my own,” Neha said. “I’m also excited to grow academically. I think when you find something you’re interested in it’s really special; in high school you’re exposed to every subject, which is good, and it’s important to be well-rounded, but we don’t get to learn contemporary political economy theory, for example.”


There are plenty of words to describe Neha, but well-rounded certainly fits. During her four years at Torrey Pines High School, Neha has balanced academic rigor, positions on two varsity sports teams, editorship positions at the school’s newspaper, the Falconer, support for various political causes, and having time to recharge and hang out with friends. As far as activities independent from school, she expressed a lot of gratitude for the lessons her role at the Sandpiper has taught her. “Honestly, I think it made me a more concise writer. It taught me how to use quotes to serve a purpose, and what purpose your commentary serves as well. The Sandpiper taught me how to balance those two,” Neha said.


However, Neha credits the Sandpiper not just as an opportunity to hone her writing skills, but a way to give back to her community and get involved in politics at the local level. “I think community work is really important,” Neha said. “I think we’re such a polarized society, we’re really focused on big, national issues but I think what affects us more, quite frankly, is community policies, legislation, and goals. So I think understanding the importance of community and being involved in it is something I’ll take with me to Berkeley.”


As for what to do with her life post-college, Neha has no plans to slow down. “I want to make sure whatever I do, I’m passionate about it, and that it actually has an impact on society and the people around me, so I’m exploring options like possibly law or policy work,” Neha said.


When Neha and I met on the staff of the Falconer, we bonded over our shared passion for writing and politics. The quality I first noticed about her was her enthusiasm, and the amount of effort she dedicated to every aspect of her life, including the Sandpiper. I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to continue her legacy of student-oriented journalism, and I am beyond excited to see what Neha puts her mind to next.


This year, like Neha, I hope to use the journalistic skills that the Falconer has taught me to provide a platform for teenage voices in Del Mar and the surrounding area. I look forward to learning the ins and outs of local issues so I can share a unique perspective on stories that impact the people in our community.