Joining Newspaper was the best decision I made in high school


Photo Courtesy of Susan Fuhrer

Apply for Newspaper or Yearbook with the link in the article. All applications are due Jan. 15.

Leland Pan, Online Editor-in-Chief

I never intended to be a sports reporter for the Stampede during my sophomore year.

While filling out my course selection form, I was confident in taking four years of Orchestra with a world language. I was comfortable with my high school plan until the start of the second semester of my freshman year. I felt lost in the sea of talented musicians. I was not writing my narrative, but someone else’s.

Courtesy of the yearbook editors-in-chief at the time, I decided to submit my application for the Newspaper. Weeks later, I was building a double helix model in third-period biology class, and I received my congratulatory letter from Hogwarts. I mean, the Stampede.
I stepped into room H208 my sophomore year with my head spinning from one direction to another. Mr. Page had his afternoon dose of coffee while the magazine editor-in-chief stood on her pedestal, telling everyone to get their “ish” done. Expecting to write for the spotlight section, I would write for sports. I, out of all people, was to write about sports when I had no clue how many quarters there are in a football game. I remember telling myself, “this was not what I signed up for.”

Even though I landed in a position I did not want in the first place, I would never exchange those memories for anything else.

The sports editor took me under their wing. From the football field to the United Center, I learned how to write a story in 20 minutes and take action photos. I remember walking through darkened hallways of the United Center at 1 a.m. for the player interviews. I remember taking risky action photos during volleyball games. Most importantly, I remember the compassion and patience I felt from my sports editor.

Newspaper made me realize the opportunity I have to be well-rounded with digital media. It was especially true when I covered the Iowa caucus in February. Standing amid chaos, the social media editor-in-chief and I were zig-zagging across the gym for interviews, photos, and videos. At one point, I wondered if I was dreaming.

The class made me refine my mindset towards compassion, optimism, and integrity. There are times where I stay up late for a deadline, receive criticism, doubt my abilities, and take responsibility for my team’s actions. Despite those experiences, they built my character.
I realized there is always an opportunity to quit Newspaper. It is not an honors class, I do not end the semester with a 100% grade, and I work late nights when I could be sleeping an extra two hours. However, Newspaper gives me a blessing I would not find in my other classes. From the witty side conversations to the after school crying sessions, Newspaper is not only a class but a family.

If you are in a similar position when I was a freshman, join Newspaper. If you are interested in writing or media design, join Newspaper. If you are a junior wanting to try something new for senior year, join Newspaper. If you are interested in discovering a new topic, join Newspaper. You will never know what you will experience. I never wanted to be a sports reporter, but I surprised myself. What are you going to surprise yourself within Newspaper?

To apply for Newspaper or Yearbook, click here. All applications are due Jan. 15.