Editor’s Farewell

I wrote my first Vanguard article in the winter of freshman year. It was a 400-word piece about Sophie Wang ’17 spending three-and-a-half hours at Taylor Swift’s apartment in Tribeca, New York. I sent it in a day early feeling confident about the draft only to receive it back hours later with a huge number of edits. We need more background here! That’s the wrong honorific! Can you fact-check this? my editors wrote in the margins. 

That first article took some work, to say the least, but I liked the overall process of interviewing sources, writing a story, and asking follow-up questions, so I asked for another article.

Over the next year, I wrote some great and some not-so-great pieces—the article I wrote about Girls’ Varsity Soccer traveling to Europe in 2015 was filled with factual errors about their itinerary…turns out they didn’t do half of the activities I described! But slowly, my journalistic voice improved, so when the time came for the board to choose new editors, I was lucky enough to be named.

I learned a lot in my junior role as on-campus editor, like how to write good ledes, create headlines, and edit novice writers’ work. I also became a better writer from continuing to take on more meaningful articles, like the obituary for Former Latin and History Teacher Bob Edbrooke and coverage of the assembly held after the 2016 presidential election.

I enjoyed the job so much that I applied to be the next volume’s editor-in-chief, a role that—deep down—I’d dreamed about since I began writing for the paper. It seemed like the perfect way to develop my writing skills further and help others feel the same excitement for the paper that I did.

The past year as editor-in-chief has been unforgettable. We’ve covered significant topics like political protests, our new head of school, and Holocaust Remembrance Day. We’ve interviewed exciting sources like Rep. Joe Kennedy III ’99 or Suzie Reider ’83, a former Chief Marketing Officer of YouTube. We’ve even met ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir while touring the set in New York. At the end of Volume 45, some of us also met Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s former campaign manager, at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

We’ve also had fun non-journalism moments like enjoying a dinner at The Beehive in Boston, watching Black Mirror at an editor’s house with popcorn, and seeing Kinky Boots on Broadway! 

In reflecting on all that we’ve done in the last year, I’ve realized, as I’m sure all former editors-in-chief have, just how much The Vanguard has given me: an insider perspective on the school, a stronger sense of what hard work and achievement feel like, and, above all, a group of close friends.

At the same time, I know that The Vanguard isn’t great because it can do all that. The Vanguard is great because it delivers important ideas to its readers. When you read The Vanguard, you learn about the prevalence of intolerant comments and the new trend of Juuling at the school. You learn about a congressman’s thoughts on gun control and a Google employee’s thoughts on the end of net neutrality. You learn that Mia Bawendi ’20 placed ninth in the world for speed climbing, that Aurash Vatan ’19 debated in Australia, that Rebecca Mironko ’19 created a social justice art show, that Athena Chu ’18 won national recognition for her film and poetry. The paper is great because it shares these significant and interesting stories with the community.

As editor-in-chief, I’ve tried to uphold that quality in the paper. I think past editors-in-chief would agree that this role is a selfless one. We don’t spend 18 hours per week on the paper just to list it on our common app or flaunt it to our friends and teachers. We don’t even do it because of all the Vanguard gives us. We do it for the readers. We want the paper to continue affecting them and our school conversations.

I’ll miss that duty, and I know it will be hard to let go. But I’m proud of what we’ve done this volume, and I’m lucky to have had a close group of friends by my side: Rachel, my trusty second opinion; Delila, the wordsmith behind our editorials; Jiho, our contrarian columns head; Alia, our spectacular SurveyMonkey specialist; Yliuz, our current topics mastermind; Zoe, the photogenic photographer; and, of course, Lucy, the InDesign savant who always has a smile on her face—even when it’s 8 p.m. on paste-up, and hidden fonts like Krungthep are preventing us from bringing the paper to the printer. 

I hope that our upcoming senior board—Benjamin, Laila, Talia, Sam R., Lauren, Anya, Leyla, and Sam M.—develop friendships like we’ve had, and I implore them to uphold the quality of the paper. It demands a lot; that’s for sure. But I know these guys are up for the task and ready to bring along Maia, Claire, Julian, Nicholas, and Charlotte as the new junior editors.

I’m sad to leave this position, but I’m happy to become a reader again. I can’t wait to open the paper next month with no idea what will be in it.

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