Featured, Meet the Staff

Meet the Senior Editors: Leanne Zuiderveen & Cassie Disharoon

We are so excited to introduce to you clay‘s Senior Editors for 2019-2020!

Meet Leanne Zuiderveen:


Hailing from Canada’s capital, Ottawa, seventeen-year-old Leanne Zuiderveen will be entering her senior year with TPS. TPS veteran of seven years, Leanne has taken 32 courses, watched over 1,650 hours of class, attended eight TPS camps, and journeyed across the pond on the TPS France trip. Former photographer and International News Columnist for clay, Leanne hopes to continue her journey as Senior Editor in the upcoming year. As Leanne closes off her high school adventure, she will be taking AP French, AP Psychology, Introduction to Videography, and Graphic Art Foundations: Adobe Photoshop with TPS.  This fall, she will also be attending a course at the University of Ottawa. 

Aside from the daily grind of school, Leanne enjoys exploring her musical tastes by playing guitar and piano. While Leanne is not a self-proclaimed artist, her love for creative talents extends to photography and graphic design. With her free time, Leanne reads books about anything ranging from plays to politics, challenges her younger sister to endless games of Wizard, and chills out with Mountie, the family’s one-year-old German Short-haired Pointer. 

Psalm 42 is one of Leanne’s favorite portions of scripture. She loves noting the psalmist’s absolute faith in God despite his hopeless situation. Another verse that encourages Leanne is 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 

As Leanne starts off another school year, she hopes to inspire another generation of students to continue to use their God-given talents to serve the Lord. We can’t wait to see her serve as a leader of clay this year!

Meet Cassie Disharoon:

In the heart of the Tampa Bay area resides sixteen-year-old senior Cassie Disharoon. She has grown up homeschooled, as she started in the first grade, and is entering her fourth and unfortunately final year with The Potter’s School. Cassie will take Spanish 4/5 and Psychology and Counseling from a Biblical Perspective with TPS this year, in addition to dual enrollment classes at St. Petersburg College. She anticipates that both of her TPS courses will be highlights of her twelfth grade experience. Additionally, this will be her third year as a clay staff member, having served as a columnist in tenth and eleventh grade. Some of her best memories have come from clay—she has always loved the community of young journalists who get to bond through this publication, not to mention all the great themes and events throughout the year that make each month unique. Overall, she is incredibly passionate about clay and could not be more excited to co-lead the publication this year.

Outside of schoolwork, Cassie enjoys numerous activities such as writing, crocheting, watching sitcoms, spending time with family, and debating various Marvel-related topics with her younger brother, to name a few. As an introvert, she often retreats to her room to read or listen to music to recharge. She appreciates the finer things in life, such as chocolate desserts and the oxford comma. Cassie also has a heart for community service, devoting some of her time to volunteering each week.

Cassie is eager to embark on her senior year of high school and help clay have its best year yet. We are so blessed and delighted to have Cassie joining us as Senior Editor on clay‘s 2019-2020 adventure!

To carry on the tradition formed a few years ago by clay’s former Senior Editors, we asked our Section Editors to each present us with an intriguing question to help provide insight into our deepest thoughts, most curious desires, and craziest aspirations.

Rachel Shey (Arts & Culture Editor): You have to give an hour-long presentation with no preparation. What topic do you choose and why?

Leanne: “The Art of Procrastination.” I’d have so many personal examples to share the presentation may stretch on for a couple hours. And yes, stress-free procrastination is an art form.

Cassie: “Why It’s a Bad Idea to Give Hour-Long Speeches with No Preparation.” I could make it up as I go (read: as I unpack every aspect of my horrific situation) and I wouldn’t run out of things to talk about until I ended my presentation, since new subtopics would pop up as I presented. However, a lot of it would probably consist of me talking about how I don’t know what to talk about, so I don’t suggest attending this presentation.


Jenna Koo (Arts & Culture Editor): What would you do if you found yourself on a boat in a Florida lake staring into the eyes of an alligator dressed like Neville Longbottom’s grandmother?

Leanne: Assuming I knew I was in Orlando, Florida, I would ask the alligator to pose for a picture with me. Who knows? Maybe Disney World started hiring alligators as actors. And if not… well, let’s just say that would make for one viral selfie.

Cassie: I’m about to make some serious waves in the homeschool community, but I’ve never read the Harry Potter series! However, I luckily know enough to understand this reference. I live in Florida and I feel like I’m desensitized to alligators at this point, so I’d probably take a few pictures and then… go home?


Sarai Morato (News Editor): What has been your most memorable or impactful experience in TPS so far? And, any advice to students entering high school right now?

Leanne: I’ve had so many memorable experiences over my seven years with TPS, but my most impactful experience with TPS was spending three weeks in France on the TPS France trip. Serving alongside my French teachers, classmates, and newfound friends helped me grow in my personal walk with Christ and forge friendships with TPSers across the States. I still miss every moment of the trip and of course, the chocolate croissants. Unfortunately, they just do not taste the same back home.

My advice for fledgling TPSers? Plan to go on a TPS Mission trip and get involved with the TPS community; you will never regret it. Additionally, never lose your love of learning. If you can’t making learning fun, you are going to have a long four years of high school ahead of you!

Cassie: Besides everything I’ve experienced with clay, the one moment that has stuck with me the most occured in Señora Kelly’s Spanish 2 class sophomore year. One day, we started class by writing a prayer together in Spanish; we all took turns writing one sentence at a time, and when it was finished, we all got on our mics to read our contributions together.  Something about that struck my heart… I was amazed by the sense of community I felt in that moment, and I will never forget it.

As far as advice, I would say to work hard in school, but don’t let it overwhelm all of your time.  Contrary to popular belief, there is a balance between straight A’s and a social life! It’s difficult to master this, but once you do, you’ll be glad you learned how to take mental breaks without dropping your GPA.


Eunice Tan (Theology & Worldview Editor): Would you rather live in space or underwater for the rest of your life?

Leanne: As long they both have high-speed internet, I’m willing to give either a shot. But I’ll admit that saying I’m doing class from space sounds pretty enticing.

Cassie: I’m really bad at answering this type of question because I can’t stop thinking about the logistics. Like, can I breathe underwater, or would I drown immediately? Do I have a stable spaceship and enough supplies to make it in outer space? Are there vicious aliens attacking me? The list goes on… But I suppose the short answer would be underwater; I want to be best friends with the Little Mermaid.


Anastasia Dulle (PR Manager): If you could domesticate any animal, real or mythical, and have it as a pet, what would it be?

Leanne: I’ve always found mythical creatures like dragons or unicorns rather temperamental and stubborn. So, I’d prefer the peculiar skill of domesticating a moose. Riding into town on that 1,500 lbs beast with antlers would truly be a dream. What could be more Canadian than that?

Cassie: I would want a pegasus. For traveling purposes, obviously.


Madison Asher (Spotlight Editor): If you could only listen to music from one decade, what would it be and why? And, if you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be and why?

Leanne: Since I am constantly switching up the music I listen to, listening to the same music for the rest of my life would probably drive me insane. I’d prefer to pick up my guitar and pound my ivory keys to create my own music than be forced to listen to the same decade of music.

It would be amazing if I could be an expert at encouraging others and giving them supportive advice. Asking me for advice is one thing that is sure to make me blank. But you know, being an expert chef would also not be a letdown.

Cassie: Though it’s really difficult to dumb it down to only one decade, I would probably choose music from the 2000s. I love many of the rock and pop songs from that era, and several of those tracks are now considered staples of a Generation Z childhood, so I think the nostalgia and appreciation for my younger years would make the constant repetition more bearable.

I would love to be an expert in a super obscure topic, like elephant fish (look it up—they’re actually pretty interesting). I mean, can you name a better feeling than shocking someone with insanely detailed, totally uncalled for, and almost entirely useless knowledge?


Christine Lyford (Humor Editor): If you rubbed a lamp and a genie appeared offering you three wishes, what would you wish for?

Leanne: A lifetime supply of chocolate croissants and a faster metabolism so I can digest them all! And also the ability to count, because I almost forgot to ask for a third wish.

Cassie: It doesn’t take much to make me happy; my wishes would be the following:

Wish #1: I recently stopped dancing after almost 11 years of training, and my body is retaliating by making every single muscle sore since I’m not stretching them anymore. So I think it would be nice if that could go away.

Wish #2: A whole bunch of cheeseburgers (not necessarily an endless supply, just a lot of them).

Wish #3: World peace, probably.


Mari Stanton (Open Mic Editor): If you could go back and give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Leanne: Jump outside your comfort zone and be adventurous in trusting God. I know you love the familiarity of life, younger self, but challenge yourself to take on that extra class, volunteer, introduce yourself to a new face, encourage a stranger, and learn a new skill. It may be terrifying, but it will also be incredible.

Cassie: Don’t be so hard on yourself! No matter how hard you try, some things just aren’t meant to work out in your favor. All you can do is try your absolute best, accept your win or loss, and move onto the next thing. I’d also tell Young Me she’s allergic to pineapple, so she doesn’t have to find out the hard way.



  1. I’m looking forward to writing under you girls this year, as well as taking videography with you, Leanne!
    Lol, those tags are great…

  2. Looks amazing, girls! Great job, and I am so excited for this year at clay. =)

  3. You girls are going to be so good at this — you already have been!

    And yes, the chocolate croissants!!! *cries*

  4. You two are going to do a great job!

  5. Congrats on being Senior Editors ladies!!!