Senior editors say goodbye: Erika Pernis


Erika Pernis, Editor-In-Chief

It’s hard to put into words everything Wingspan has meant for me over the past three years. 

I went into high school not having a lot of passion – I didn’t play an instrument, and I wasn’t really into sports. But looking back, I’m so thankful 8th grade Erika decided to sign up for photojournalism and got put into Mr. Higgins’s class.

In that class, my friend Jordan and I were talking about our experiences as yearbook editors, and Mr. Higgins overheard and spent a couple of weeks trying to convince us to give writing for Wingspan a shot. And I’m so glad I did.

My time in Wingspan has taught me so much. I learned how to be a better communicator, be confident in talking to people, and better myself as a writer. I learned the importance of being informed about what’s happening in my community, and how fulfilling it is to inform others about theirs. 

Other than transitions and quote formatting, the lessons I learned in Wingspan were so much more than just journalism. Being in Mr. Higgins’s class taught me some of my most valuable lessons – to trust and be confident in myself, and how to be a good citizen, student, friend, and person.

I’m saying goodbye to high school in just a few days and leaving the home I grew up in in just a few months for college. Next fall, I’m going to continue my studies in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. I want to continue to be a voice in my community and make a difference through my writing. I love the thrill of uncovering and writing a story, learning about new things and people, and I just think it’s so fulfilling knowing that my writing could reach someone, and mean something to them.

I know this won’t all come easy – this transition is scary. But it’s the lessons I’ve learned in Wingspan that make this huge life transition not as scary. Because as much as I’d love to hold onto Wingspan for the rest of my life, I’ll never truly need to say goodbye to it. I might not remember every article I’ve written, but the memories I made in Wingspan will always be a part of who I am, no matter how much time passes.

Whenever I eat microwave mac and cheese or Wingstop french fries or watch Ratatouille, I’ll think of Wingspan, and I’ll smile. 

Now, time for a few special thank yous. Thank you to my editor-in-chief last year, Trisha Dasgupta, who taught me what it meant to be a good editor and leader. And thank you to my wonderful fellow editor-in-chiefs this year, Athena Tseng, Harley Classe, and Caroline Grace Caruso, managing editors Rin Ryu and Maya Silberman, WTV executive producers Karina Grokhovskaya and Varun Saravanan, and the incredible staff of writers over the past few years. Thank you all for working so hard every day and making this the program I’ve come to love so much.

And of course, thank you to Mr. Higgins for seeing my potential to be a good journalist. Thank you for giving me so much freedom when it came to the art of storytelling, but at the same time, being there for me whenever I needed anything.

Thank you for everything room C102 and Wingspan!