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The Last One – A Reflection from our Editor-In-Chief

By: Dylan Kaufman

This article is probably one of the hardest articles I’ve ever had to write. Articles are usually so simple: find a story that interests you, investigate, report. Before you know it, you’re done. This one, however, is different. This time, I’m writing my own story. There is no investigation; there is no report. All I have to do is share how I feel about graduating, about going into college, and about all the changes that are about to occur in my life. For someone who has written stories about other people for the past few years, this is a very different kind of beast. Before we get to all that, though, I guess I should start with why I’m even here in the first place.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with superheroes. There was something about them that made me excited and joyful. For days at a time, I would create my own hero. I would give him a name, a backstory, some superpowers, a cheesy costume, and boom. My superhero was born. For the heroes I really connected with, I would make them a comic book. I must have created around one hundred heroes in my youth. It wasn’t until my seventh grade English class, though, that I discovered why I was drawn to superheroes so much. It wasn’t their superhuman strength or their costumes or anything of the sort. It was their stories. The entire sequence of them saving the city from bad guys, or even of their alter egos encountering everyday problems, exhilarated me. It exhilarated me so much that I was driven to create my own stories so I could feel like that again. It was then that I realized that while I did like superheroes, I liked storytelling even more.

A few years after that, I came to East. As a scared fifteen year old kid with a terrible case of acne, I felt pretty awkward in almost every situation. For the first few weeks, I just felt like I didn’t belong there. When club sign ups began my freshman year, my mom immediately wanted me to join the newspaper. She knew I liked to write and tell stories and thought the newspaper would be perfect for me. It’s funny how well your mom really knows you. When I wrote my first article, I noticed how engaged I was in my writing. I realized that the same sense of elation that came to me as a kid making comic books also came to me as a student writing articles. I decided that I would give the newspaper a chance.

It isn’t until now, as a senior, that I can see how much being a member of the newspaper has helped me through the years. It taught me how to express my thoughts in a coherent manner and how to relate to people in order for them to understand what I’m trying to say. It also taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid of asking questions and that the best way to find similarities with people is to talk to them. If you asked any of my friends what I’m like around strangers, none of them would say I seem shy or awkward. I’m always asking questions and telling stories – two things that were instilled in me while I worked on the Thunderbird.

It has been an absolute honor to be the Editor-In-Chief of the Thunderbird. I’d like to thank every editor and the entire staff for helping to make our paper the best it can be. Your hard work and dedication has been essential to our success. I’m also happy to be passing the torch to Emily Sobel, whose passion and perseverance will surely lead next year’s staff to another great year. Good luck to you all, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.

I’d also like to recognize a few of the teachers that helped me get to where I am now. Thank you to Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Dalton for being two of the greatest advisors I could ask for. Since I was  just a regular staff member, you both have been so approachable and supportive of me and have tried to lead me to the right decisions. You both taught me valuable skills in writing, leadership, and life, and for that, I will always be grateful. Thank you to Mrs. Kramer, who taught me that sometimes you need to be a little out of the box in order to inspire people to follow you. I will always remember your bravery and strength when times get tough. Lastly, thank you to Mrs. Cunningham. Your kindness and sympathy have taught me to be kind to others even when it may be hard to do so, and it is something that I will always value.

Change is a scary thing. Honestly, I’m scared to graduate. I’m scared to go college. But that doesn’t mean I have to let my fear for the future overcome my excitement to meet new people and have new experiences. For our readers still in high school, I’ll leave you with this advice: don’t let fear control you. If there’s one thing stronger than fear, it’s regret.