There is not too much that I think that I will miss about high school, but I am genuinely devastated to be leaving my staff behind. Three years doesn’t feel like a long enough time to have had with them. When I opened up my last InDesign template it really hit me that it’s coming to a close. Working on The Dispatch has been one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences of my (albeit short) life. It gave me an outlet to be involved in school and connect with people, a place to talk about the topics that mattered to me and a voice, and it was a place where I felt like I belonged and I was appreciated for what I brought to the table. Being on staff taught me to strive for the best work that I can do, and that I am capable of a lot more than I ever thought I was. While I honestly believe I would sell my right kidney to just have been able to experience my senior year with the Dispatch in person, I’m grateful for the time that I had on staff and all the Saturdays spent stressing over pica spacing, making a story fit exactly into the text box, shuffling through 100’s of photos to find the perfect seven, and getting interviews at the last second.
It’s really funny to think now that my freshman year I almost didn’t join newspaper because I was dead set on just doing photography and I didn’t consider myself a writer at all. I put it on my choice sheet to try it out for a year because Reeves had almost begged me to give it a chance, and as usual he was right. The newspaper room shortly became my home away from home and I spent almost too much time in there. I found a family in the Dispatch staff, and it’s hard to be leaving but I know that all good things have to end, and that I’m a better person because of my time with the newspaper. I started out with being annoyed to write 300 word reviews and making the story space as small as possible for photo essays, and ended with finding my voice and writing 1200+ word indepths. A lot of growth happened for me within the purple walls of room F203, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Those musty green couches will forever be the best place to nap, laugh, cry, eat Kraft microwavable mac and cheese, and procrastinate writing stories.
To Reeves: Thank you for pushing me the past four years, I needed it. You were one of the first people that saw what I had to give and the potential that I had to do something worthwhile. I spent a majority of my life with a lot of passion and care to give but nowhere to genuinely put it towards, and I’m so grateful for your gentle and realistic guidance. I learned so much about myself and what I can do in your class. I know I gave you a fair share of headaches, and all I can say is thank you for putting up with me. I don’t think I would have ever made it through what high school had to throw at me without the support that I found in you and the staff. Thank you for knowing when I needed someone to give me a reality check and when I needed to be told that it would be all right. You put so much care into creating the best atmosphere that you could for all of us to reach our full potential, and it’s because of you and my time on staff that I have become the woman that I am today. There’s still so much that I know I need to learn but you helped me to build the right foundation.
To the Dispatch Staff: High school would not have been complete without y’all. I was serious about selling my right kidney just to have newspaper class with all of you. There is a certain unique bond that forms over stressing about indesign templates, transcribing interviews, and deadline week that I know I can’t get anywhere else. I met some of the smartest, funniest, and hardest working peers that I’ve ever met while on staff. Y’all seriously mean the absolute world to me and I am going to miss y’all so much. I know that Cade, Faith, the rest of the seniors and I are leaving the paper in good hands, and I’m so excited to see what y’all produce now that we’ve handed the baton on to you. Remember; use the issue colors, one pica spacing ALWAYS, fill in the white space, and most of all use your voice and push yourself to put out the best product that you can and that we all know you can do.
To my teachers: Thank you for supporting my work with the newspaper and allowing me to step out of class to interview and work on my page and accepting my late work during dead-line week. Seriously y’all are the best and I think it’s rare for a high schooler to graduate and love all the teachers they had in their high school career but I genuinely do. Thank you for being understanding and caring, it means the world and I want y’all to know that I (and the rest of the dispatch staff) appreciate everything that y’all do for us and the rest of your students. Seriously, you guys are the best.
To Mom and Dad: I know that y’all might not completely understand what I do on staff, or agree with the commentary pieces I put out, but thank you for supporting me nonetheless. I know that my hard-headed and opinionated nature has caused plenty of headaches for us, but I want y’all to know that I’m going into the world a resilient young woman with a holistic view of the world because of the lessons that you instilled in me. The view points and the challenges that you posed to me gave me the ability to critically think about the world around me, and grow to understand the other side of the equation. I know dealing with teenage girls is never easy, but thank you for standing by me and letting me find my own way through life. I stumbled hard and fell on my face a couple times (more than a couple if I’m being honest) and you taught me the strength in pulling myself up from the cracks while knowing that if I really needed it you would be there to help.
To Mimi and PeePaw: Thank you for your unwavering support in the Dispatch. The entire staff feels the care that you have for us and the product that we put out. I know that we have our fair share of differences but thank you for appreciating what I bring to the table and loving me for my quirks. I know that going into the world I have a good head screwed on my shoulders because of lessons that you’ve taught me about life and leading by example. I learned to be able to go with the flow and take things as they come because of our most-of the-time crazy family, and that lesson has prepared me for the curve balls to come.
To Grandma: Graduating high school is a bittersweet moment for me because I know that you would be so proud of the person that I’ve become, but I wish that you could be here so I could thank you for how much you’ve taught me and show you all of my art projects and newspaper pages that I’ve published. I was able to create what I did and became the person that I am because of the love of art and the world around me that you instilled in me from such a young age. In my grief from your loss I was able to discover my love for teaching and nurturing people as you nurtured me, and I hope to make you proud even though I know that you would tell me you already are.