“This is like stupid, totally stupid and irrelevant, but I have a distinct memory of a story about a pirate,” junior Cici Chagnon said when reminiscing on the start of her writing career in first grade. “I don’t remember the plot or why I wrote it, but my first-grade teacher made this little ‘inspiration bag’ that you could take something out of if you didn’t know what to write about, and one day I got a rubber duck with a pirate hat on and apparently thought it was pretty cool.”
From being an Associate Arts Editor to Editor-in-Chief, Cici’s growth and interest in writing has certainly taken her to where she is today.
Cici started off by explaining what she thinks ignited her interest in writing. “I think I really started to get into it probably around fourth grade when we had an assignment to describe something we did over the summer and I wrote about this lighthouse I visited with my family,” Cici said, “and my teacher was like, ‘Hey, this is actually pretty good. You should be a writer,’ and I was like nine so I sorta said okay.” Even though Cici didn’t know it then, her teacher certainly planted the seed for her continued interest in writing.
Cici embraced her interest even more when she started as a freshman at KO. “I had been signed up for painting, but I had already taken an art elective and wanted to change things up I guess, so last minute, I switched into journalism and it was awesome,” Cici explained. She thought it was “interesting” because she had never written in that way before. Being graded on how succinct her writing was became a challenge that she enjoyed.
After completing the journalism elective, Cici met with English Department Chair and faculty advisor for the KO News Catherine Schieffelin to discuss an Associate Arts Editor position, which was earlier than the normal application date for the KO News. Cici remembers sitting in the Roberts lobby when she got her email from Ms. Schieffelin, asking for her to meet whenever she was free. “I walked on over to her office and when I walked out, I was an arts associate,” she said. “I just remember being really excited to get more heavily involved in the paper and I’ve always liked the arts so I also got to write about things that interested me.”
The following year, she became the Head News Editor, where she and other news associates had nine to 11 articles that they wrote and edited for the paper. “Firstly, I was pretty nervous because it was my first time having to manage people,” Cici said, “but it was definitely a learning process, and I was intimidated because I was this little sophomore and I was managing upperclassmen.” However, she described this initial intimidation as a positive because she had a great group of associates and senior Esha Kataria, her managing editor, served as a great mentor.
“She is a really passionate and hardworking individual,” Esha said. “I never had to worry about the news department because she always had it handled so well.” She celebrates the fact that Cici was both humble and approachable even though she was a year younger than some of her associates. “I really enjoyed collaborating with her; she really loves the KO News and always had cool ideas and funny jokes or stories to share,” Esha said.
Web Editor Alma Clark added, “Working on the KO News with Cici was fun, even if I didn’t get to work in the same department as her. I’ve been reading her articles for years, and I’ve seen her writing improve and watched her move up in the ranks.” Alma continued to describe Cici as a very energetic, positive presence on the news. “I’m very happy to see her as Editor-in-Chief,” Alma said.
Now that Cici ventures onto her senior year, she is both extremely excited and anxious to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief. “I’m definitely scared to be Editor-in-Chief because there’s added pressure and obviously I want the paper to be good, but I’m also really excited because I’ve been a part of the KO News for a while now, so being able to take on a bigger role in something I love is super cool,” she said. “Also, the editorial board this year is great, and I have some good friends.” Cici is excited to work with all of them and hopefully put out issues the staff is proud of.
Cici plans to try to keep the paper going as strong as it would’ve been during any other spring, publishing articles that the KO News staff is excited about and that the community is eager to read. “For anybody thinking of taking journalism they should absolutely give it a shot, it’s a great class and you’ll learn a lot,” Cici said. “Even if you don’t think you want to pursue journalism or even hold a position on the staff we’re always looking for writers.[…]Give it a shot, we’d love to see it.”