First last day, first month with the V40 staff, first issue (without the supervision of Gina and Emily) as your editors-in-chief. We have been adjusting to a whole lot of firsts during the months of August and September. But, despite the chaos, we are excited to fall back into the groove that working for the Eagle Edition provides us with. Beyond that, we are excited to discover what another year on staff will teach us, as each year has brought us both a unique set of experiences that molded us into your current editors.
Freshman year we both began our experience on staff with journalism one. We were both in separate classes, but had similar experiences with creativity-stumps during the pandemic, receiving intensely marked up first drafts and having a pain-staking fear of the big, scary upperclassmen in charge of the paper.
Because of Covid-19, we were told to go home halfway through the year which left our J1 class (and all of us for that matter) lost. We felt lost on when we would be coming back and how to prepare for the possibility that we would be home all year, lost on how to conduct good interviews without them being in-person and lost on whether or not our writing, with less in-person revising, would be good enough for our first issue as staff members. Self-doubt among the J1 students during this time was pervasive.
Nevertheless, just as this has been voiced by countless other students our age, we were able to trudge through it. It was difficult and the learning curve we were met with when we returned in-person sophomore year was steep; but again, we got through it and came out on the other side with more patience and confidence in ourselves than if we hadn’t been met with an unprecedented pandemic.
Sophomore year we both were able to find our beats. Grace found a love for creating beautiful graphics and page designs. More than anything, she loved writing reviews and covering anything life and culture related. Maddy found an interest in op-eds, politics and writing and designing her own standing column. We both watched as our classmates found the beats they were passionate about as well. Callie began sports writing, Katherine and Alex also began writing about politics and Elisabeth, while not having a specific beat, found a way to translate her passion into her writing, regardless of the topic. Sophomore year we found a beauty in the passion the newspaper provided us each with.
Junior year polarization in our community seemed pervasive. Our paper, as every other paper in the area during this time, showcased as wide of a range of opinions as we could. But, despite the range and fairness we tried to provide, that did not mean we were not met with backlash from dissenting voices. Still, we found this to be one of our most fruitful experiences while being on staff. While from the outside this may have seemed like a chaotic time to be a part of the paper, we watched as our staff members defended each other regardless of affiliation. We heard staff members say things along the lines of: “I don’t agree, but they deserve to have their opinion expressed just like I did in a column I wrote.” We watched as empathy bolstered among our group. We watched as the common desire to produce something of importance grew to be bigger than our respective political affiliations. This was a time of immense self-growth for our staff members.
Now we arrive at our senior year and we could not feel any more grateful to be having this platform for our voices. Joining J1 freshman year, we gravely underestimated the privilege it would be to be writing for the Eagle Edition. Our paper has covered the issue of censorship many times. This issue’s staff stance revolves around a school in Nebraska that has disbanded its student-operated paper. Words are important. Student voices hold an immense amount of power and their words expressed through school publications serve as a small piece of a much larger student body collective. Being a staff member means being representative of a much larger whole. We know what being editors of this paper, or any paper for that matter, means to the voices of a community. We hope that this year our paper serves to call attention to the voices that need to be heard, and we hope that we are able to continue to grow this year not only as editors and student journalists, but also as people.