How the Fairview Website Was Created


Media created and edited by Elliott Pease.

During the first several months of the 2022-2023 school year,  the BVSD school district changed the Fairview website domain now provided by the service called Finalsite. Many students dislike the change, but none more than the students that made Fairview’s original website, as it threatens their club.

“There isn’t really a guarantee that the website will continue past this year,” said Austin Campbell (12), a co-leader of the web team.

“BVSD has control, if they stop paying for the servers or domains or anything, it would just shut down,” said Michael Brennan (12), another co-leader. “They have full control over that.”

These students aren’t the only people affected by this. If the old Fairview website completely disappears, so will a part of Fairview’s history. This includes the work of countless web teams.  The web team at Fairview has been around for many decades, but the first traceable form of the old website dates back to September 20, 2010. During this time, the leaders of the web team at Fairview consisted of junior Ben Alpert and sophomores Ryan Atallah, Carson Kahn and Ved Topkar.

“The website was a collective effort, but two alumni who were very influential in our thinking, even though they graduated before the project could come to fruition,” said Carson Kahn over a phone interview. “Sophie Albert, who went on to become a senior engineer at the EdTech Company Khan Academy, and also Alexander Atallah, Ryan’s older brother, who founded the NFT and crypto company Opensea… Both of those two guys were really influential in our thinking.”

Currently, Kahn is an engineer who recently graduated from Stanford, and for the last two years has served as the co-founder of a company called Spindle. Unsurprisingly, he isn’t a fan of the change that BVSD is requiring Fairview to make.

“I think by swapping out a student-designed power tool for a corporate behemoth, effectively, the school district is working against itself in its goal to to prepare students for the workforce,” said Kahn. “And that does make me a little bit sad.” 

Kahn and his peers were self-taught when they threw together the original version of the website, primarily utilizing the coding language JavaScript.

“[The team] all had to learn, at that time, what were new technologies, like Ruby on Rails and various JavaScript frameworks on the fly,” said Kahn. “It was a great way for us to enrich our skill sets and bring what we learned back to the community through the website.”

In 2011, the project was into its second year when the initial, fully functional website launched. It looked like this:

The homepage of the Fairview website, timestamped from July 19, 2011. Screenshotted from Wayback Machine.

“In the second year of the project, it grew into being something larger than ourselves,” said Kahn. “In particular, we actually got to teach a four credit class at Fairview that had maybe a dozen people involved at any given time.” 

Two years later, the website migrated onto the domain that it remains on to this day: The code remained largely the same, but the domain became the one that students would recognize today. Once the original team graduated from Fairview, the next team took over, creating a new tradition.

“We’re still good friends with a lot of the people who participated in that program, the sort of formal web team, and in some cases have even hired them into our companies,” said Kahn. “My favorite part was seeing the project become something bigger than ourselves and frankly, even bigger than Fairview. And it forged knowledge and relationships that are still relevant to us to this day.”

A screenshot of the first traceable version of the domain. Timestamped from November 20, 2013, screenshotted from Wayback Machine.

Over the following decade, the website received constant updates from a variety of Fairview student web teams. Unfortunately, since the website is shifting to a district-managed domain, the website will likely no longer be student-run after this year. It’s unclear what specifically will happen to the old domain and the Fairview web team. Until BVSD acts, however, the web team will continue to diligently work on maintaining student resource pages.

“As more and more of the functionality of our website gets transferred or turned off in favor of the newer one, the counseling page will definitely become much more integral to what the club is doing,” said Campbell. “And we’ll continue to rely on the club, at least for this year.”