Sophie Le’s -30-

Every time we finish an issue of the Kerronicle, it’s tradition to throw a potluck party to celebrate. At one of these potlucks during my junior year, a certain staff member—who shall not be named—forgot to bring utensils, leaving us with only a bunch of plastic knives with which to maneuver food. The party must go on, of course. So we got inventive. The knives became very narrow spoons, very broad chopsticks, single-tined forks. We managed.

Looking back on the four years I’ve worked on this paper, the knives incident is sort of the perfect metaphor for many things Kerronicle. Staff members come and go, but the staff as a whole has always known how to make the most of what they have. We know how to stretch a few dishes to feed the entire staff. We know how to cut, crop, scrimp and save, to fit 12 pages of content onto the 8 we can afford. We know, by now, how to turn kids fresh out of Journalism I into award-winning storytellers, how to turn a bunch of disparate, too-busy teens into a team and a family.

There’s only one thing, really, that we can’t do with economy: say goodbye.

If you want to know how it feels to write this, my final Kerronicle piece ever, you have to know what it’s like to work on Newspaper for four years.

You have to to hear the obscure, five-track albums sent to us for review by budding artists who (like us) are still finding their feet. You have to know, by smell, the difference between ink on newsprint and ink on glossy paper when the issues are new and fresh out of the box. You have to taste the hot chocolate and tea mixes we experimented with on stressful days, the soothing and the brisk, the sweet and the bitter.

You have to agonize over red strikethroughs, page proportions, the placement of photos and text on a page, just so. You have to feel the excitement building as you finish pages, get principal approval, move InDesign files to individual PDFs, PDFs to combined files, combined files to flash drive to printer’s office.

You have to know what it’s like to get that text, PAPER ARRIVED; to run down to the Journalism room, yelling the news to other staffers as you go; to page through the paper in all its glory, because it is your dreams and designs come to life and print.

It will be strange leaving this world of Room 302, with its armchairs, its fuzzy blankets and stuffed tigers and occasional class pet, its ambience of messy, homey living room. This was home base, a safe space, a place where Mrs. Negri snarks from behind her desk, staffers offer life advice but oooooh like kindergarteners when someone gets called to the office, and you are free to be a kid again.

To this year’s stellar Kerronicle staff: one of my greatest joys was watching everyone grow—as writers, designers, photographers, artists. You guys made my job extremely easy. All I really had to do was organize things, make page guides, and keep the wheels of our journalism mechanism greased, so that your talent and hard work could run its course. That was my privilege.

It wasn’t always a smooth ride. I worried constantly about deadlines, about funding, about commas and question marks getting stuck outside quotation marks. I worried about newspaper becoming clique-y, divided, or melodramatic; I worried about us not fulfilling our purpose as a school publication; I worried about us getting too caught up in design elements that we failed to tell compelling stories.

Ultimately, of course, most of my worries proved unfounded. You guys came up with dynamic designs for great stories and photos. You brought home lots of awards, including our first Bronze Star in five years and three out of the only four medals at Regionals UIL. We didn’t have to put a single issue of the paper online due to lack of funding. And I am so, so proud of everything you have achieved.

Do I have some regrets? Yes. But overall, I look back on these last four years on the Kerronicle without regret. I feel that we (as a staff) and I (as a staffer) did our best to turn knives to chopsticks, to make the most of the time we had together.

Now we’ve come to the parting of the ways. To Amy, Yen, Diana, and Kevin, who will remain to carry on the Kerronicle legacy: you guys have flown above and beyond everything we editors asked of you. More importantly, you reminded us jaded seniors of what journalism is all about: getting out, reaching people, telling their stories with depth and grace. We couldn’t leave the Kerronicle in better hands.

To my fellow Kerronicle seniors: while it’s sad, I can’t help but think that tomorrow holds something awesome for you wonderful, talented people. I can’t wait to see it happen in real time.