Well, this is quite surreal. It seems like just yesterday that I was starting my first editorial as Editor-in-Chief with that same sentence, brimming with excitement for my new position and the opportunity to make my mark on the organization that had brought me so such joy over the past three years.
So now, as I sit here watching Saturday Night Live, with the prospect of my last News Day in the morning looming, I’ve decided to write from the heart, share some memories and experiences from my nearly four years on the KO News staff, and thank some of the people who have had a special impact on me.
As my regular readers will know, I would never have been a part of the KO News in the first place had it not been for a scheduling error on the first day of my freshman year.
I had signed up to take studio art as my first semester elective, but the class had been left off my schedule, and was already filled up. So I had to choose a different elective, and, at the suggestion of my mother (thanks Mama), I settled, begrudgingly, on journalism.
I had always been an avid reader, and had always been opinionated, two things that typically go along with “likes to write.” However, I had never really enjoyed it, and so, understandably, was rather irritated at the prospect of having to spend a semester doing nothing but writing.
As the class progressed, something strange happened: I was starting to enjoy the writing. I found that the style of journalistic writing, particularly opinions writing, gave me a conduit through which I could articulate and share thoughts, ideas, and opinions I otherwise would have kept inside.
As a result, becoming a part of the KO News, something I would never have dreamed of doing just a few short months prior, was now something I was eagerly anticipating. I still remember the moment I walked into Mr. Kyff’s office after school and found out that I had been made an associate opinions editor. Like most new associates, I was thrilled just to have a position on the staff and was brimming with excitement as I walked into the Math Center for my first planning meeting.
I stood around, like a deer in headlights for a few minutes until one of the upperclassmen asked me what section I was in, and brought me over to the opinions section. At the time, the section consisted of Maeve McDonald and head of opinions Eliza Charette. It would be here, for the next year, where I would not only hone my opinion-writing skills, but also develop a love for the KO News that would only grow in the coming years.
When it came time to apply for new positions, I decided to come up with a bold new proposal: a reviews section. For years, the KO News consisted of the same six sections: news, arts, sports, features, opinions and investigative.
I felt that there was a new niche that could be taken advantage of, especially given the newly christened website, with content that was more engaging for a high school audience.
I went to Ms. Schieffelin, who passed my idea on to the seniors, who decided to give me a page of my own to do with as I wanted.
I was still dead-set on creating the reviews section, so after pestering Ms. Schieffelin for a while, I expanded my single page to three.
This meant that I was essentially doing the work of an entire section by myself every News Day. And I loved it. Every second of it.
However, going on like this for another year was simply unpragmatic, so before we left for the summer, I was given three applications for associates and was told to choose two.
Ultimately, Mrs. Schieffelin and I decided that the best course of action would be for me to take all three, due to the rapid pace at which my new section was growing.
At the start of the new year, I finally got to put faces to the names of my new associates.
One, Bella Leuschner, I already knew. However, the other two, new sophomores Madeline Arcaro and Niki Taylor, I did not.
Little did I know that over the next half-year, we would form an incredibly close bond (our group chat is still regularly used two and a half years later), and make countless memories, from Madeline committing the cardinal KO News sin, printing out the entire paper, on her first ever News Day, to Niki spilling coke everywhere during a planning meeting, to Bella’s unfortunate title pun.
So when I found out, in the February of my junior year that I had been chosen to be the new Editor-in-Chief, I was thrilled, but I was far more proud of my three associates, all of whom had been made head editors.
In my time as Editor-in-Chief, I made a concerted effort to move the paper in a progressive direction, reforming and modernizing our use of technology and our website, using the paper as a medium to promote civil discourse among the student body, and encouraging new ideas from staff members.
During my tenure, our staff swelled to the largest it has ever been, with 44 total members this year.
Despite all these accomplishments, it is the little moments, the jokes on News Days, the late night FaceTimes and texts that I will hold with me forever.
Finally, there are some people I would like to acknowledge before I say my final goodbye. First to Mr. Kyff. Your class, and you’re palpable passion for journalism created within me a love of writing that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I can’t underestimate the impact that your class and you have had on not only my KO News career, but also my life. Next, to Ms. Schieffelin, who joined the KO News as faculty advisor the same year I did. When I first started on the paper, I was quite scared of you. However, as I got older, and less skittish, I came to realize not only how amazing of a teacher and supporter, but person you are. Whether it be coming in at 8:00 on Sunday News Days with bagels for everyone, or our countless meetings and text conversations, the KO News would certainly not be able to function without you. Thank you for everything you do, and will do. It’s appreciated. Finally I would like to thank my peers. First and foremost, the original reviews squad, Bella, Madeline and Niki. You guys really and truly made every moment I spent with you at planning meetings, News Days, post News Day lunches, car rides, or texting rants a joy. Madeline and Niki, Words can’t express how proud I am of both of you. Not only for being made managing editors, but also for the amazing people you’ve become. You’ve come such a long way since that fateful first planning meeting. When I was reading those applications, I never would have imagined that those three people would end up as forever friends. Lastly, I want to thank my managing editors, Esha Kataria, Alyssa Pilecki, Juliana Kulak, and Ishaa Sohail. Without the four of you, I never would have been able to survive this year. Your skill, enthusiasm, and joyousness make the KO News the amazing experience it has been for not only myself, but for countless others. So on that final note, I say my final goodbye. Thank you, and I love you all.