Describe the work you have done in this class and the ways that you contributed to Quill Media’s mission this year. This semester, I did the work of a leader and an editor. Starting from the beginning of the semester, I was working to help put together our print issue, which we finally printed successfully in February. I wrote two pieces for this issue and coauthored one (read these below!) In addition, I was deeply involved with editing and proofreading the other stories. I tasked some reporters with gathering more information and helped others edit the work they had produced. I did my best to ensure that all the content we published was polished and refined.
Schedule conflicts between grade levels- mostly involving the juniors' three-week LINK absence- prevented us from collaborating in time to get another issue out in the spring. Near the end of the year, I directed my talents towards helping with the yearbook instead. I helped write and edit captions, doing whatever I could to ensure the yearbook was the best product possible.
Discuss what you have learned about the topic of journalism in a democratic society AND/OR the role of the student journalist in a high school news organization.
Obviously, this class showed me what it was actually like to be a reporter. Less obviously, this class gave me a new lens through which to view the world. I don't really think about it a lot, but I've developed a habit of thinking more carefully about the information I encounter. I often react to information, then think about my own reaction to it, then reflect on how others might react as well. I am much more conscious of the power behind word choice and placement of evidence.
More and more, I'm beginning to seriously consider journalism as a career to pursue in the future. All over the news today, I see the disastrous consequences of corruption in the media, and I'm reminded of how much the world needs journalists who operate ethically. Journalism feels like an excellent way to put my talents to use for a greater good- I feel compelled to observe and share important stories with the world. This seems like a realistic way that I could work to make our world a better place.
If you are returning to the Quill next year, reflect on the next steps or goals you have moving forward in your work as a student journalist. If you are not returning or you are off to college, reflect on some ways that the learning you have done in this class has impacted you as a writer, a consumer of news, and/or a human being living in the world.
This class, from the start, showed me what it meant to write for a real purpose. I had been a wordsmith for many years before I joined, but putting my skills into practice like I did at the Quill was something entirely different for me. I found a new way to use my writing skills, and I grew confident in a new area. When I went out into the world for my internship, I was elated to be doing such real work in my community. As I stated above, I can see a future for myself in the field.
Growing as a leader in my senior year was also a profound experience. Though I was far from perfect, and there are many things I wish I had done differently, I felt that I was able to provide meaningful feedback and, in some cases, inspiration to my peers. This class led me to engage with my community in a completely different way. I have always been proud to be an Osprey, but reporting on the school really reinforced my deep appreciation for its spirit.
This is my final reflection as an Animas student, so forgive me if I digress a bit. I am incredibly grateful for the community that I have been a part of for all these years. I am not the same person that I was four years ago, and I know I'm a better one because of this class, and this school. Animas nurtured my philosophical, reflective side and gave me a chance to explore other sides of myself I never thought could exist. I will miss this place and its people deeply, as for a long time it truly was my home.
This is my final Animas reflection, but I know it's not my final reflection, as it is in my very nature to reflect, and to ponder. I'm nervous about the unknown, but I'm not actually worried about the future. I am proud of who I have become and excited for who I will be. There aren't enough words to express my gratitude for the life-changing journey that I have had here, so I will just end with this: Thank you. I have grown so much.
Semester 2: Work Sample
Semester 1: Review
Each winter, bears hibernate for up to eight months, heartbeats slowed, needing no food. Those months are slow but necessary, as they rest through the cold. Perhaps they'd rather be going through their bearish motions, but for those cold, dark winter days, that isn't going to happen. Za Barrett, editor in chief for the Animas Quill, can relate. In their own ways, she insists, humans can hibernate as well. "I was worried for a while at the shift I saw in my peers," she remembered. "There wasn't half as much motivation, as much life, as I used to see around. I worried that the inquisitive spirit had died, in some way, and I worried that I was responsible." Later, she would come to conclude that "change inevitably brings periods of doubt, and it's always darkest before the dawn, I suppose." It had been a difficult winter, but nothing had died just yet. Slowly, the Quill is healing from the damage done by low morale and COVID confusion, and inspiration is awakening once again. Za first stepped up as editor-in-chief the year after what would go down in our school's history as a tumultuous period. Even after Animas shed all COVID mandates, a sense of confusion and restlessness still lingered in the air. A few teachers left abruptly, and students were disconnected and disoriented. Like many others, Za hoped this would improve when the school returned from summer break in September. But even after summer, the Quill had a hard time picking up the pace again. Za felt she wasn't sure how to be the leader that the Quill needed. "I felt like I was struggling to find my voice," she recalled. "And I also felt like nobody wanted to listen." Even in the sluggishness of the semester, however, she worked to make sure the work produced was high-quality, and she did her best to support other students. "I always tried to be there for people who needed me, just giving edits and advice. I helped fill in gaps where we needed more information." Though they published no print issue in the first semester, Quillspreys published content in News from the Nest and posted informational videos on their Instagram page, keeping students in the know about important happenings. "I was reminded of how much journalism revolves around its audience," commented Za. "We're having to shift between mediums, because the way people get the news today is different. Slowly, we're improving our social media platform and making sure all our content is also online." Through these experiences, Za learned the importance of courage and focus. "Last semester, I noticed that my own attention was often divided between lots of things, and I felt I hadn't done my best work. I was also more hesitant than I should have been. I still need to remind myself a lot how important it is to maintain focus, and take those leaps to keep moving forward." Although last semester was a rough start, Za feels more optimistic about the future. "The new building, I think, is changing a lot of people's mindsets, and also the way that things are run. The class is more organized- we have a crew working on the yearbook, and on the social media aspect, and also a group that's just devoted to the writing and print aspect." But also, she says, as students pursue more specialized interests, "they are beginning, once again, to value the work they're doing. I see the yearbook crew meet, and they seem dedicated and excited about making it work. We're planning to release a print issue in a couple of weeks, and people are coming together to get it ready." While Za acknowledges she'll never be a perfect leader, she knows better what to do moving forward. "As the leader, my job right now is to help inspire our Quillspreys to do great work. We have the talent, the creativity- it's time for us to put it to use." This may be a difficult task, but she feels it can be done. After all, she says, "I still have faith in that creative, innovative, Osprey spirit!"
Semester 1: Work Sample
Because of my extra editorial duties this semester, I didn't write as many stories as I have previously. However, I still managed to produce a couple gems!