I sent this email to Ms. Worley, the journalism teacher at the time, in November of 2015. As an eager incoming freshman, I’d always wanted to be a part of the school newspaper. Getting to strut around the school with a handheld microphone in my hand, uncovering shocking headlines, was just so, undoubtedly, cool.
Unfortunately, this fantasy was shut down in the response that I got nine hours later, in which I learned that the Eye was actually the product of a year-long class called Journalism: Newspaper, only for students in grades 10-12. Months, even a year or two, passed. I went on to pursue other hobbies, like music and science. By the time course selections for junior year opened up, it felt too late to delve into new activities.
But there was an empty class slot. I remembered the email I’d sent nearly two years ago. And just like that, I enrolled in Journalism: Newspaper for junior year.
The rest is history, stored in about 10 videos and 8 articles that can be found right here on the Eye.
But just as quickly as being a part of the Eye started, it’s almost over.
Here’s an understatement: being a part of the Eye has changed me. It’s pushed me to interview random strangers, put more personality, narrative, and spunk into my writing, and be in front of the camera instead of behind it.
Don’t just take it from me, but from other senior staff members as well.
The Eye is not just an outlet for us to get our writing read and videos watched. It gives us the resources and opportunities to cover school and world events. It allows us to see what it’s like being a part of a journalist staff, or even running a publication.
Arguably the most important is that by being a part of the Eye, I’ve been inducted into the Media Lab cult —I mean, community—a combination of journalism and film students who frequently occupy this room. Especially during senior year, I could often be found laying on the couches there or publishing articles during flex or after school. Every time Shack sees me lounging around in his room again, he always comments offhandedly that he’s getting sick of me, but I know he’s joking.
Shack (also known as Mr. Lawrence Wayne Shackelford, but I can’t say that without twisting my tongue) was the new journalism and film teacher after Ms. Worley left three years ago. He’s been stuck with me for two years ever since I walked into Journalism: Newspaper on the first day of junior year. We’ve traveled to the treacherous heights of Nepal together, 3,440 feet above sea level. Even more terrifying, however, is the fact that he somehow ended up being my Catalyst teacher (I’m joking! Catalyst and DSLO rubrics aren’t terrifying at all…). With all the “thanks, Shack”s I’ve yelled while leaving class and random times I’ve come in begging for a last minute camera, I really can say that you have taught me more than I could ever learn in a traditional sit down “study and test” course. Going on into the future, I’ll know how to lead a classroom full of teenagers who seem to all have senioritis despite not all being seniors, and all of that credit should go to you.
Speaking of all those teenagers—I mean, SAS Eye staff—it’s not easy being you, either. Coming into the 2018-2019 school year, I was anxious to see what new talent would wander into the Media Lab, and it’s not a stretch at all to say that I wasn’t disappointed. In publishing article after video, so many new ideas have come into play: food mukbangs, through and through opinion rants, stunning graphic headers, and an impressive amount of exposure for the LGBT+ community.
The Eye is being passed down to some extremely capable hands; I know it. But if you’re still unsure, here’s some advice us seniors have for you.
Last but not least, I need to thank all of you, regardless of if you’re Shack or an SAS Eye reporter, or if you stumbled onto this page from an odd Google search. Those of you who click on the Eye allow our publication to run and our student voice to ring. Without you, this website would have been shut down a long time ago, our journalism program unable to amplify the work of aspiring journalists and filmmakers.
My advice, no matter who you are behind the computer screen: Keep learning. Keep producing. And keep talking.
After all, in the words of John Lennon, “living is easy with eyes closed”. But what’s the fun in having it easy?