MAGGIE SHEPARD: Throughout my time here in journalism, I have learned how to actually write! I’ve been able to interview different people and gain a better understanding of how to be observant. During my time as part of the Southwest Shadow, I have mainly written reviews but I was able to find my love for analyzing food and music. There have definitely been ups and downs but the people that I’ve been surrounded by have helped me through all of it and made my time in C121 great. I also want to thank Mr. LaPorte for being a great mentor and helping me become a better writer. I wish the best to the future staff in all of their journalism endeavors. 🙂

VINH TRAN: With all things considered, these past four years have been made harder with journalism. Week after week, following a deadline, it could make anyone crazy. However, this class wasn’t without its’ reward. I’ve gained skills that I could apply to the real world: time management, writing skills and the knowledge of the ins and outs of a camera to name a few. If I could name and list every staff member that have taught me an important life lesson, I’d be here all day. So to keep it short, thank you to everyone in C121.

RUSSEL VALDEZ: I chose journalism as my elective freshman year because my brother had informed me that it was an “easy A.” Me, being a naive 9th grader, didn’t take into consideration that he went to a completely different school than me, thinking that it would be the same at SW. This class opened me up to a world I never knew about. I was so set on wanting to pursue a healthcare career as a freshman, but now as a senior, journalism is something I want to continue after high school. From being a 9th grader, believing that I wasn’t good at anything, to being a 12th grader who found two aspirations I fell in love with. This class allowed me to somewhat find myself and what I want to do.

Thank you to the Class of 2016 for being my first Journalism family, I’ll always be grateful to them for guiding and mentoring me. Thank you to Mr. Matthew LaPorte for sticking with me all these four years. Thank you for seeing the potential in me and pushing me to always do my best. Thank you to the staff I had these past two years of being Editor-in-Chief. Being able to lead and work with a team full of passion makes me confident that you guys will lead this class to nothing but success. Thanks to this class, I finally learned how to read.  

KIANA TIBULE: I would have never imagined myself ending up where I am right now 4 years ago, considering that I avoided complete eye contact and any verbal interaction with Mr. LaPorte freshman year. It’s been 3 years since I’ve been in journalism. Being part of this journalism class has presented me an immense amount of opportunities from being able to expand my skills creatively, new friendships, getting awards I didn’t even know I signed up for, and traveling the west coast. High school is definitely a time where self-doubt and trying to find what really interests you is emphasized – I never really knew what I was good at or I never had an interest/hobby that stood my ground, but now I can confidently say that journalism was something I was AT LEAST good at. I thank Mr. LaPorte for his guidance and all the dedication and work he put in for both the newspaper and yearbook staff – as well as the care and reassurance he put into us individually. Kiara and Arielle, you guys will do great as the next editors–do the best you can do and put your greatest ideas out forward.  I wish everyone the best and I’ll miss you all.

CASSIE VALDEZ: My dream going into high school was being a star Minecraft YouTuber, so I took Video Production. But then, I forgot my Minecraft account information and I realized I hate being in front of a camera, so I joined journalism my sophomore year where I could hide behind my words. Without a doubt, it’s the best decision I’ve made all through high school. Sure, it meant a lot of sleepless nights and frustrated fits, but the rewards are worth the struggle. Nothing can replace the people I’ve met, the perspectives I’ve learned and the work I’ve accomplished. So thank you, Mr. LaPorte for annoying me with messages to do my articles and constantly reminding me of how much I’m capable of.

To my favorite underclassmen, don’t let the pressures of deadlines and LaPorte get to you. I know it gets tough, but you’re all amazing writers–way better than you guys give yourselves credit for. Remember: write without remorse, ask without fear and no Oxford commas. Shareen and Kyle, you guys have so much potential to be some of the best co-EICs the Southwest Shadow ever did see; I know for a fact you will take the site farther than I could. Eriyale and Cosette, no offense but you guys are literally the sweetest people, and your writing always blew me away. Noel and Alyx, I’m counting on you guys to keep the newsroom lively and check the staff’s fashion since Vinh is retiring. Grinesa and Charli, it’s never a dull moment with you guys; your sense of humor and ability to just connect with people is something I admire.

ISABELLE DEL ROSARIO: We came a long way from side bangs and bootcut jeans. As a freshman, I hated this school. As a senior, I still do. Some things never change.

Four years is a lot to digest. It came with a lot of hard-to-swallow realizations like knowing that some people weren’t meant to stay in your life after high school and everything you’ve done up to this point won’t matter in a couple of days. What helped me stomach the restless nights and endless struggles that this school put me through were the people that were always around for me and could fulfill the definition of best friends forever.

Thank you Russel. Thank you Cassie. Thank you Kiana. Thank you Darmi. Thank you Vinh.

Idk about the rest of you. H.A.G.S. We out.

JACKIE ROMO: Four years ago I chose this class as my elective because nothing else seemed interesting enough. Who would’ve thought that this class would affect me so much as a person and as a writer? Through this class I was able to make some of the greatest friendships that I’ve ever had; I had the time of my life bonding with my staff during workdays and all the trips we took. I was able to make some of the greatest memories through this class, which I’ll never forget. This class has inspired me to do my best and meet my deadlines. My love for writing has flourished and thanks to my great Editors-in-Chief, it has gotten better. I’m so thankful for deciding to take this class four years ago, it was the best decision that I’ve made throughout the course of high school. Journalism has been one of the most challenging classes I’ve ever had the privilege of taking. In this class however, I also found what my true passion is and how much I love being a part of that class and the group. I look around this class and all I see is people who truly love what they do and everything that they can accomplish with their dedication. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to continue writing and grew beside me in this class.

JULIA COX: I am truly grateful to have been able to be in journalism for the past three years. From the amazing trips we went on to the stressful deadlines, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my experience. This class has made me a more sociable person which is a great thing due to the fact that I used to be a very shy person. I met one of my greatest friends in this class and she is a blessing in my life. I have always had a passion for writing and this journalism class allowed me to continue to improve my writing skills. I will never forget the amazing memories that I have made in this class. Thank you LaPorte and the journalism staff for making my high school experience something that I will never forget.

JUSTINE HO: Entering Southwest, my first goal was to actually be in Student Council. I ended up not getting in and during Welcome Back Day, I had to make a choice of what other elective to take other than Spanish. I decided Journalism because in middle school, I have always wanted to be in Yearbook. I thought it was going to be really simple since I thought it was just going to be taking pictures, placing them, and just make it look pretty. Well, I was definitely wrong. I walked in the class and the first phrase LaPorte said as an introduction was, “If you have bad work ethic, then this class isn’t for you,” scaring me poopless. Now four years later, I’ve probably had more breakdowns than I could ever count, won many awards for photos that were stressful to take, and broke it down when a favorite bop (“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” by Mulan) in class came on. I enjoyed singing and yelling with LaPorte whenever we were stressed and deadlines were near. In fact, I was grateful for them. It really made me feel like even through all of the stress, Journalism still had their good days.

Thank you, Mr. Matthew LaPorte for EVERYTHING. If we had a whole different adviser it wouldn’t have been the same. You challenged me and saw me for my true potential when most of the time, I didn’t. I didn’t see the potential you saw in me and I doubted myself probably most of my four years and I ended up giving up. Even through my opinions, you still thought I had the potential. Without the sassy remarks, continuous lectures, and endless support, I probably wouldn’t have even be here alive today. From being there for my grandma’s death to my hecka stress, truly thank you.

SOFIA ISLAM: If someone were to ask me about my high school Journalism experience, I would not be able to formulate all the memories that occurred in C122. This class has been a blessing in disguise, and it could not be complete without a room filled with gifted writers, photographers and designers. The endless work that was put in the Southwest Shadow and The Howl is unexplainable. As a journalism class we did the inevitable, and I will always be proud of the accomplishments made and the many more to come.

To my newspaper staff: Thank you for all for being you. I know that all of you have so much potential in writing and in your dreams. Continue using your voice in writing and for what you believe in. The Southwest Shadow would be incomplete without each and every one of you. Alyx, Charli, Cosette, Eriyale, Grinesa, Kyle, Noel, and Shareen–I will miss you all and your unforgettable laughs. College classes will not be the same without you guys. I wish you the best, and continue being you. I know that the future looks bright for each one of you. 

Journalism, thank you for showing me that my voice is strong with words. Without this class, I think that my voice would have been silent. Thank you Mr.LaPorte for making my high school experience unforgettable. I will never forget your words or advice. Also, thank you to the seniors who made the last year of high school journalism worth a story.