Coming into the school year in August, I didn’t know how much time and energy that I would put into newspaper, into Ethic. I didn’t know how much it would mean to me nor did I know how much that it would shape who I am today. I say this as I am giving recruiting speeches to classrooms (If you are reading this and are eligible to be in the newspaper class next year, I strongly encourage you to do it.), but I really and truly believe it: newspaper is great.
Sure, not everything about it is the best and there are some bumps in the road that are bound to get in your way, but the experience of it all is above anything else. I got to be a part of a deeply creative and innovative part of my school and I’m proud of it. I’m proud of starting the year with one product and ending the year with an even better one. I’ll be proud of next year’s staff for doing the exact same thing.
But what’s the thing that really made newspaper so great? No, it wasn’t the freedom of being able to write what I want (Although, writing about the musicals I went to this year was phenomenal.) No, it wasn’t covering the major sporting events. (While I say that, every time that I see Seth’s video compilation of a game, I get a little wonderstruck.) No, it wasn’t introducing myself as ‘Maya Sanchez, Redlands East Valley Senior and Ethic’s Editor-in-Chief’. (Okay, I have to admit, it was a little bit of that.)
The best part was being a part of the community of not just my high school, but of Redlands as a whole. Before joining, the most interaction I got of the other high schools were the girls on my soccer team and the few times that our athletic teams played each other throughout the seasons. But beyond that, it was always REV centered. And while that isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, being able to see my high school experience as a Redlands experience and not just a REV experience has been for the better. I’ve gotten more involved in the happenings in my community, have met new people that I’m proud to call my friends, and most importantly I get to truly call myself a part of this Redlands Community.
I know our schools try to bring us all together under a common cause, and while I do not think in any way that they have failed, I think that Ethic has succeeded. By covering three schools in the Redlands Unified School District, Ethic has really embraced what it means to be inclusive and it’s that quality that has made newspaper outstanding for me.
I am beyond grateful to be able to serve as your Redlands East Valley Editor-In-Chief and I hope that next year will be just as prosperous as this year. Thank you reading and I hope you have enjoyed this year’s publications and that you will enjoy all the years that will follow.
Again, thank you. This year has really been a year to remember.
If someone were to tell the middle school me that high school senior me would write my innermost thoughts and publish them for the world to see, I’d think they were full of it. If someone told the middle school me that high school senior me would make friends with kids across the city, I’d brush it off. If someone told middle school me that high school senior me that I, with my sometimes crippling social anxiety, would be the Editor-in-Chief of a student run newspaper; I would have laughed in their face. But none of these situations are hypothetical.
Living in a city big enough that the school district has to dictate where you will go to school , thus dictating who you interact with, you can settle in your area of comfortability. The people you’ve known for 3 years are the ones you continue to see for another 4. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Of course there are opportunities to cross these invisible lines if you wished, but I didn’t really.
The summer before my senior year, I attended AAA summer school to get ahead before the school year began. There I met Ethic News’ very own founder: Mrs. Aranda. One thing led to another, and I soon found myself staring at kids across the city through a flat screen t.v. The experience was unsettling to say the least. I wondered if I had a hard enough time communicating with people face to face, how was I supposed to succeed in this way?
But in all honesty things kind of just fell into place. Soon enough we were sharing jokes through a camera, and texting each other about things unrelated to newspaper. Things were actually more weird on the rare occasion we got the chance to see each other in person (all of these of which I can count on one hand). After a few moments of awkwardness, we just picked up where we left off last. Soon, I was calling the students who went to our so called “rival school” my classmates and friends.
It’s so easy to hide behind invisible barriers and decide we’re too different to ever get along without actually attempting to bridge the gap. Victimizing ourselves instead of trying to be the solution to the factionalized world we live in is something we have to end- and it starts in our own backyard. There is more than enough room in Redlands for the diverse group of people we have. This is exactly what Ethic News accomplishes through its determination to cover all schools, and the community as a whole.
I have so much pride in what we Citrus Valley Blackhawks do, and I also have so much respect for REV and Orangewood for their efforts to become good students and community members. This is a respect I wouldn’t have gained without stepping out of my comfort zone and joining Ethic News.
It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve grown in a lot of ways along the journey. I hope next year’s team passes on the tradition of inclusivity through covering the great city we all call home.