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Editorial: Farewell from the Original Aviary Team

Three years ago, in our first issue ever, I wrote an article titled “Philosophy/Mission” for The Flock, our school newspaper now known as The Aviary. In that article, I wrote, “We hope to strengthen the community by creating an atmosphere of transparency and collaboration,” reflecting my early goals and ambitions for the newspaper. The person who wrote that article could never imagine all the ways the newspaper would come to shape her. And now, as I write my final article for this newspaper, I stand proud, knowing that even though we are far from perfect, we achieved everything I wrote in that article and so much more. The little club, started by a few nerdy sophomores in English class, grew into a publication that covers a wide variety of subjects within WISH and our larger community.

The Aviary has never been a solo effort—it has grown from the collaboration of passionate students supported by phenomenal mentors. I still remember our advisor, Ms. Cynthia Avalos, and her intently encouraging reaction when I first came to her with the idea of creating a student newspaper. Her spirit has been a core of the newspaper from the very first day. That intense encouragement never faltered through the many hour-long discussions and debates over every stressful twist and turn she had to sit through. She is the anchor that keeps us grounded during disputes and the cheerleader that keeps us motivated when our energy wanes. Ms. Avalos, thank you for everything you have done and your continued commitment to The Aviaryand its people.

To my co-founders, Editor-at-large Gabriel Koppula and Editor/Journalist Emma Peterson, I can’t underestimate how much your work, dedication, and partnership have meant to me. Gabriel, I know I stress you out by dumping loads of articles at the last minute into your lap, but you have saved this newspaper more times than I can count. Emma, your creativity is what makes the newspaper worth reading. From insanely difficult crossword puzzles to the most specific historical articles imaginable, your ability to push the bounds brings the light to The Aviary, and I couldn’t imagine those issues without it. Mostly of all though, I appreciate all the advice, experience, and friendship I have received from both of you as we have learned and grown from each other.

None of the issues we publish would look as good as they do without Nicholas Steinman: Editor-at-Large, Lead Formatter, Journalist, and so much more. Nicholas has covered some of the hardest community debates The Aviary has tackled. He has an immense love and commitment to this newspaper that has grown alongside the club over the years. We first came up with the idea on the floor of his bedroom, and since then, he has poured his heart and soul into this journey with me. He was the first one who believed we could do it, and he continued to believe even when I didn’t. He believes in every single journalist as an individual and their ability to grow. As I am writing this, he is currently staying up way later than he should to make sure every article can go into the newspaper. Thank you for your thoughtful stories, late nights, and careful editing, that reflect the dedication and energy you put into this paper.

Over the past three years, The Aviary has seen new upperclassmen beyond our founding crew. Nathan Valdivia, Dante Gutretch, and Aida Mebea all joined early this year, and each one of them has spent so many hours interviewing, writing, rewriting, researching, and rewriting again to publish phenomenal pieces. I know I can be very hard on you guys, but it is only because I see your incredible potential. It has been an honor to watch you grow and grow alongside you, and I thank you for your patience, passion, and tenacity.

The Aviary boasts a wide variety of content, and while our informative articles are important, part of our wider appeal comes from light-hearted tidbits. Thank you Janaya Kemp, our first-ever comic artist, who continues to publish funny and entertaining pieces for us, and Xander Youngless, who uses his dark sense of humor to create creative and interesting works of art. Thank you, Duncan Rampen, for running The Scallop, our satire section, and all the newspaper members who made the many crossword puzzles over the years.

Finally, I have to recognize the talented, passionate, and dedicated group of people who will make sure that next year’s Aviary lives on and reaches greater heights. Azariyah Ermias joined early this semester and has already put in so much work with his thoughtful interviews and articles. I am excited to announce that Danawite Dersse will be next year’s Editor in Chief, and Analise Tessema will be stepping in as an Editor. Although I haven’t known them for long, I am confident in their ability to continue the torch of journalism and student engagement. I know it will not always be easy, but I have seen the passion and perseverance that will get them through the challenges they will face. Make sure to lean on each other throughout your journey and I wish you the best of luck. If you are interested in joining the newspaper club next year or have any other questions, please contact danawited@wishcharter.org.

Thank you Ms. Mowll for originally approving and supporting The Aviary three years ago, and thank you to Dr. Draxton and the administration for their continued support. Thank you to the many who contributed sources, materials, and articles to the newspaper over the years who I did not mention above.

As we say goodbye to our seniors, allow me to share their closing statements:

“I hope that our newspaper has helped you stay informed in some way. Maybe you were just there for the crosswords, but we appreciate you nonetheless, dear readers. Thanks for coming along for the ride through some good times and some stressful times as we strived to create a great image of journalism that will last years to come at WISH.” – Gabriel Koppula

“This club has taught me the power of storytelling, teamwork, and the importance of staying informed. It’s been an honor learning how to share stories with such a talented group of individuals, thank you for all you’ve done for me Newspaper Club.” – Aida Mebea

“Working for The Aviary as a writer, editor, designer, and webmaster has been enriching in so many ways. Beyond even the written content, the process of putting out a newspaper is so fun, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. If you have an interest in any of these skills, I hope you get in contact with The Aviary soon. When you see this newspaper, as with so much on this campus, remember that it’s all a labor of love.” – Nicholas Steinman

As for my final statement I hope this newspaper has taught you something even if it is small. It has been such a fun and fulfilling experience that I am so glad to have gotten the opportunity to be a part of. I hope you continue to pay attention to this newspaper and journalism in general. Never stop learning, reading, writing, and creating because that is what makes life worth living.I will end this article the same way I ended that original “Philosophy/Mission” article: There would be no Newspaper without readers, so thank you.

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