Senior editors say goodbye as they leave The Nest
May 28, 2020
Four editors say goodbye to Wingspan as leave high school and head off on new paths. Editor-in-chiefs Kasey Harvey and Lucas Barr, along with Managing Editors Yael Even and Maddie Aronson oversaw one of the most successful high school publications in the nation, leading the way for the newspaper to receive awards like the 2020 NSPA Online Pacemaker, 2020 ILPC Online Gold Star, and the 2020 CSPA Digital Gold Crown. On their final day of school and only two days before graduation, they write their final goodbyes.
This is a weird feeling. Every year I’ve watched the seniors give their final goodbye. Trying to hold back tears, I read their farewells and prayed that the time would go by slower. I didn’t want to leave, I was unfinished.
But now, it is my turn. This will be my last column, last post, last article. It’s a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, I am beyond ready to start the next chapter of my life. However, it’s hard to fathom that Wingspan won’t be a part of that next chapter.
Because of this program, I have grown into the person I am today. While that sounds like a cliche, I walked out of C102 a very different person than who walked into that very room during 2B of my freshman year.
I signed up for Journalism in eighth grade because I liked to write. I wanted to enhance my skills and then move on. But from that very first day, I knew that I had found my home. Whether it was the laughing, constant sarcasm, or freedom, I’m not sure. But I was hooked.
It’s taught me how to talk to people. From the shy girl that couldn’t approach the coaching staff for interviews, to one that isn’t afraid to talk to anybody, I would say I’ve grown.
But more importantly, I leave this program with relationships that will last a lifetime. I spent every spare minute in the Wingspan room. I loved it. There was always a friend to talk to, a new prank to pull, or a story to tell.
The memories I’ve made will forever put a smile on my face. Whether it was visiting Alcatraz in San Francisco to Mr. Higgins chucking Oreos across the room while I attempted to catch them, I am forever grateful for the last four years.
And I want to thank my adviser, Mr. Higgins. He forced me out of my comfort zone so now I have confidence in myself and my abilities. He pushed me to ask for media passes to professional games and concerts and I will forever have those memories. He taught me to ask questions and to dig deeper, therefore I can start conversations from nothing. He taught us in ways that made us want to do better and to be self-sufficient.
But moreover, he wanted to know each of his students personally and to form real relationships. He became my safe place in high school and was always ready to listen to stories about my latest adventure or rants. By creating a very open and fun-filled environment, Mr. Higgins was one of the best parts of my high school career. Therefore I thank him for not only being a dedicated teacher but also a friend.
So I say one of the most painful goodbyes.
Goodbye Wingspan. Goodbye C102. And goodbye Mr. Higgins. I will forever cherish the memories and the opportunity to be a part of this family.
Long before I knew that I would never return to class, I felt a strong sense of finality in the week before spring break. I volunteered with my friends in orchestra, watched a trial on the last day of my legal internship, and connected with a lot of people that made my high school experience special. Most profound, however, was the time I spent that week writing about a former teacher’s journey fighting blood cancer before she left for treatment. Being one of the most important stories I’d write, I gave her a chance to read it after school before driving home for the last time.
Since then, missing out on prom, banquets, countless other events, and not seeing many teachers and friends for the last time has been extremely disappointing. Even though this might not be the ending I hoped for, none of this diminishes the impact that the groups I was involved in had on my life. Over the years I’ve been able to write over 200 articles, reports, and editorials, but there’s no way that I could quantify how much Wingspan has shaped the person I am today.
Four years ago I signed up for the class knowing that I liked writing, but I lacked confidence and drive like many other freshmen. From the beginning, Mr. Higgins gave us students a great deal of autonomy in what we wrote, and let us incorporate our interests. Although not every article I wrote might have been turned in by Friday night (I found ways around it for a while), I was hooked from the beginning.
Every week I wrote something different, and learned about the community around me. As I tackled various topics, I was also able to explore issues that mattered to me. Especially through editorials and articles on the Texas Legislature, Wingspan allowed me to find my voice as I prepare to leave for college.
Junior year, Mr. Higgins took a chance on me by naming me editor-in-chief along with Kasey. From posting and writing, to scheduling and helping reporters, I was able to learn more about working with others, leading, and communicating than any AP class could ever teach me.
Above everything else, no single part of the program had a larger impact on me than my advisor Mr. Higgins. Despite all of us being consistently frustrated by his expectations, it is because of them that Wingspan is one of the best high school publications in the country. Mr. Higgins sees the potential of everyone in the program, and always embraces their individuality that makes our content special. Mr. Higgins has believed in me and pushed me to work harder in times when I didn’t believe in myself, and I’m much stronger because of it. He has given more to the program than I can ever comprehend, and he inspires me on a daily basis to give 110% in everything I do.
Working alongside dozens of passionate writers in the program has given me hope for the future, and I know that Mr. Higgins will inspire dozens more writers to come. I leave Wingspan with an immense respect for journalists and a strong belief in the power of sharing stories and knowledge in combating ignorance. I recommend Wingspan to anyone interested in learning more about themselves or the world, and I am forever grateful for what the program has done for me.
It all began my sophomore year. I sat in the back corner of the room shivering from journalism teacher Brian Higgins’ poor choice in room temperature. Eventually, I brought a jacket.
Although the classroom was always freezing, Wingspan brought great warmth to C102 and the surrounding hallways. I only really joined Journalism I for an elective credit, but after a few months in the class I realized how much purpose it gave me. Even though I dreaded interviewing people I knew of, but who didn’t know me, it eventually helped build my confidence. I learned how to take constructive criticism, realized my love for being on camera and most of all how to think like a writer. On days where I was anxious, I would hang on the famous tan couch. That’s when Wingspan became more than a class, it became my little home on campus.
The special thing about Wingspan is the people in it. I made friends from all corners of the school. And Mr. Higgins of course. Even though he claimed I wasn’t the best story teller, he gave me a sense of direction, and helped me realize that my dreams can slowly become a reality. I love Wingspan, and if you’re reading this, please join or stay in the class! I wouldn’t trade the memories I’ve made for the world.
Graduation is around the corner, and the class of 2020 is very lucky to even have one. Through COVID-19 I learned one thing, appreciate every moment like it’s the last! Oh how I wish I can have one more day in C102 sitting on the couch eating berry gummies.
Maybe in a few years you will actually get that special issue story you have been waiting for, Higgins.
Thank you Wingspan. Thank you friends. Thank you couch sitters. This has been Yael Even for Wingspan TV. Goodbye Redhawk nation.