The Student News Site of Traverse City West Senior High

Letter From the Editor

May 25, 2023

I didn’t know what I had signed myself up for when I chose the school newspaper as one of my electives freshman year. I remember walking in and being scared to talk to the person next to me let alone interview someone four years older than me. I didn’t like the idea of someone relying so heavily on me to meet deadline and being one of two freshmen in the class didn’t help. So, for my first year on the Occidentalist staff, I stuck to being a reporter. Despite this, not only did I sign up for the class the following year, I also learned how to page design over the summer and I got my best friend, Wave Spence, to take the class as well.

While the majority of my sophomore year blurred together after having to switch between virtual and in-person classes, I remember starting to feel like I really enjoyed and belonged in the class. By this time, in addition to reporting, I was page designing and part of the editorial board. Even though we only produced a handful of editions my sophomore year, I decided I wanted to be a part of the staff every year of high school.

It wasn’t until the first month of junior year that I realized I wanted to be the editor-in-chief. I tried my hardest to understand every aspect of the paper and how to problem-solve, but by the end of the year, I still felt so unprepared to lead the class on my own the following year.

The summer before my senior year, I worried about how I would manage to produce a monthly paper and semi-regularly posting website stories, while also keeping a social life, staying on top of my other classes, playing sports, having a job and spending time with family. Long story short, I managed just fine. But that’s not to say I did it on my own. In fact, I could not have accomplished everything I have without the help of the staff and our advisor, Mrs.Tenbusch. 

Learning how to lead the Occidentalist staff to produce a digital and physical paper may have been one of the hardest things I’ve done. But with the guidance of Mrs.Tenbusch and the help of everyone on the staff–especially the editorial board and page designers–we were able to produce a Spartan award-winning paper–the first in four years!!

I will leave high school forever grateful for the newspaper. Without it, I can’t imagine where I would be. I don’t think I can put into words everything I have learned from the class, but I just know it has been the class that has prepared me most for whatever my future holds. I have made great friends and will miss late nights in the lab before deadline and walking in the halls after class, talking about what happened in newspaper that day. I look forward to seeing what the staff does with the paper over the next few years, and I trust that it is in good hands. 

So, thank you to Mrs.Tenbusch for the last four years and everything that you have done for the paper; we couldn’t have done a fraction of everything we did without you. Also, I want to say thank you so the Occidentalist staff for sticking with me and creating an amazing seven editions this year. And, of course, a special thank you to Delaney Cram, our assistant editor and the most creative writer I know, Ava Nelson for always making me laugh whether it’s walking into class or literally minutes before we send to print and for staying after school with me every day to finish the paper when you didn’t need to, Wave Spence (my best friend who I am so, so glad took the class–there’s no way I could have stayed sane without you), and Kate Barnum and Bella Walters, the best duo ever, I will never forget how much you both made me laugh this year!

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