With this year being filled with a steady flow of uncertainty and constant questioning, one thing became apparent to me and that was the importance of authentic journalism being prioritized.
While I was growing up, my family reiterated that importance that became crystallized through the recent presidency and the debates that came along with it regarding “fake news.” Because of that, my vision of becoming a journalist came at a young age. There was a period of uncertainty with what I wanted to do with my life, which set me back from taking journalism early on.
However the debates (borderline arguments) with my dad, him playing devil’s advocate at the dinner table about politics and the latest controversial topic, became unsatisfactory. That feeling of wanting to highlight the truth I felt and to highlight it for others who might otherwise be ignored by those who aren’t just playing devil’s advocate, pushed me to revisit my original plan of being a journalist. Joining Echo became my stepping stone to begin that bigger plan.
To the art department, you are so hardworking and equally underrated. I hope things get better and the resources needed for the program to succeed become available. This notion that an art career won’t get you anywhere needs to end and instead art paths should be encouraged by the administration and Webster overall.
Thank you to Jocelyn Reiss for all you’ve done and always believing in and supporting my visions. I hope your indie and groovy way of life continues, thank you for sharing your zine making, screenprinting and anarchist tips and tricks with me… I will make sure to take them along with me to art school in the city.
Thank you Dane Williams for being that kind and familiar face during the transition from middle school to high school. Drumline and band camp memories will be the significant thing that stays with me post graduation. You unmatched and selfless kindness you always demonstrate to each and every one of your students and just anyone in general does not go unnoticed, thank you for always looking out and checking up. I’ll miss Drums Giving and the prep for the pep rally and all you did for us during that entire week.
To my English teachers: in another life I would’ve picked English as a career. The extremely hard work you put in everyday and during the after hours does not get enough recognition. Similar to the arts, I hope people take English seriously and value the importance it brings. The work you all do during the school year is incredible, especially during All Write week. You’ve kept afloat my love for a subject I have always loved and will continue to.
To Kristen Moore and Adam Conway specifically, thank you for being the biggest supporters of my writing and for understanding and validating my wonders and thoughts even when my verbal descriptions and responses were badly worded. You challenged and encouraged me to wonder about things I would’ve overlooked and missed while also giving me the support and motivation to continue to love English.
To Jessica Haskins, thank you for allowing me to have a glimpse into the world of people who love math. I’ve never had a teacher explain things so well, and I’m so glad I had you as a teacher. Thank you for listening to me bicker about the smallest inconveniences, you rock. Never stop with the math puns everybody enjoys them even if they pretend not to.
Thank you the most to Donald Johnson for reiterating the importance of the truth. You rarely put limits on us (only to keep us from getting in legal trouble) and support us to speak our truth and our minds which is, to be honest, a breath of fresh air. I truly believe that the way to preserve authentic journalism is for the newest generation to continue the trend, to recognize why it is important and your teachings show the newest generation why it is important. Thank you for always complimenting my photography in its many forms. I wish I’d joined staff sooner so I could’ve fed my ego for a longer time.
Finally, to the senior class, good luck we’ve been together since the beginning of our educational journey and that era of our lives is coming to a close. Bittersweet but I am sure we will all go on to do great things. To everyone (seniors and underclassmen), listen to some better music and remember to read the news!
This will be Kelly Woodyard’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her senior year.
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