Like most Echo assignments, I procrastinated writing this until the very last second, partly because I have no idea how to start it and partly because I don’t want to go. How do I properly say, “Goodbye” to the program that gave my high school career purpose, that gave me and so many students a voice?
Before I joined the Echo this year, I took journalism as a junior. During my time in journalism, I marveled at the couple of Echo kids who infiltrated my fifth period class.
Echo sponsor Donald Johnson would briefly go over their to-do list at the beginning of the hour, reading off a list of things that seemed to be in a foreign language, but sounded dutiful nonetheless. I would listen and think to myself, dang, they know what they’re doing. Though I still don’t entirely know what I’m doing, I do now understand the language he was speaking.
Never in my 12 years of being a student have I felt more included, accepted, seen and respected. Now, that’s a lot to say after just a year of being on staff and a year of being a “contributing writer,” I know, but something about the environment – or maybe it’s the spinny chairs and clanky, big keyboards – of Johnson’s classroom, or the Echo newsroom, makes me feel relaxed and free to share my thoughts. It is an open space in every sense of the word- besides literal.
Before I go, I would like to give a special shout out to some teachers that taught me more than just academics.
To Jon Petter and Betty Roberts: You guys coached me through two of my most challenging and rewarding AP classes. I admire your work ethic and dedication, and I will continue to value the study habits and knowledge I gained in your classrooms.
To Eric Dunn, by some chance you happened to be teaching geometry my sophomore year, and I will forever be grateful for the warm, friendly environment your classroom held as I navigated what was personally my most difficult year of high school. Your class was as much of a reprieve as it was a learning experience- I did end up dropping honors algebra two the next year, but thank you for believing I had the ability to take that class.
To Heather Koelling, Melissa Rainey, Marty Walters, Mebbie Landsness, Amy Keane and Amy Rowland: I admire the way in which you interact with students and make us feel less like robotic learning machines and more, well, human. You all are wonderful teachers and amazing women. You are just a few of the teachers that keep this school running, but your effort does not go unnoticed. Keep doing what you’re doing, and know that countless students look up to you.
Finally, to Donald Johnson and all of the Echo staffers I’ve met along the way: Thank you for everything you’ve taught me- from navigating InDesign, to which words we capitalize (the Echo does, in fact, capitalize “Varsity”) and everything in between. I am endlessly grateful for your patience with me as I learned the importance of punctuality, and I will never forget the laughs I had while being a part of the Echo. This is an exceptional, special program, and I am honored to have been involved in it.
Oh, and check out my blog, “Palmquotes” on Wix, I just might keep posting.
Keep writing, keep reading, and stay inspired.
This will be Addie Palmquist’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.
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