SHAREEN BASYARI: I’ve spent more hours in C122 than any other place on campus. I walk in every other day and see a class of committed, goofy and thoughtful people who put so much hard work into the creation of the school newspaper and yearbook. Being part of this family has been a defining experience of my time here at SWCTA–and it’s hard to imagine myself away from it. Since I’m too chicken to say some things in person, I’ll say them here as short as I possibly can:

Kyle, thank you for being the best co-editor-in-chief I could ever ask for. We go together like PB&J, salt and pepper, a flame and a match. Without you, I wouldn’t have survived the past year as a publication leader. 

Eriyale, I knew you had a creative fire in you since our first days as columnists. I think you can go lengths with your writing. Also, your smile brightens my day every time I walk into class, and I’m going to miss seeing it. 

Alyx. Hey, goofball. Babysitting you in class taught me two things: 1. It is possible for procrastinate-prone people to be productive every once in a while and 2. Maybe I don’t want kids in the future. Thanks for the spontaneous butter runs and good laughs. Live your best life, and stop being hard on yourself.

Charli, I wouldn’t have passed AP Statistics without you. You helped me understand math, and I helped you with your writing. I guess we’re really good at being the strengths in each others’ weaknesses. I think I’ll miss you the most.

Cosette, I love talking to you. You’re a great writer; you’re just bad at keeping up with deadlines. Show off your voice more, because I like reading your articles. Thank you for keeping me company at Chicago, and thank you for always giving me something to think about.

Grinesa and Noel, you guys are so smart and make the best duo. Together, you truly make unbelievable work; your awards on collaborative work prove this much. Keep posting great things on the website, and keep each other in check. You’re both going to do great things together.

McKenna, you crack me up. You’re also a great writer; you pick up on edits quickly and learn from them, too. You’re always my favorite staff member to work with.

Vincent, I’m very happy for you. You were so quiet and kept-to-self when I first met you. Now, you seem so much brighter and happier. Keep it up, buddy.

Jazzy, I sometimes wish I could be as sassy as you. You really know how to stand up for yourself, and I admire that a lot because that’s definitely not how I was as a sophomore. Your slow-but-steady growth as a writer also makes me so proud.

Amanda, you’re so sweet and you make me feel so welcomed whenever we talk. Thank you for keeping up and producing great work, despite being a class period away. Good luck at D.O. next year–much love!

LaPorte, I’d like to thank you for everything you have done for me. From day one, you supported my writing and encouraged me to always improve, even when my ego told me I was already good enough. You also pushed me to become the leader I am today. I’d be so much more different if I didn’t sign up for your class. Thank you a million times over.

ARIELLE FERNANDEZ: I started Journalism as a freshman with long purple hair and wore Panic! At The Disco shirts every other day. I used to dread going to Journalism because it didn’t feel like something I was good at. Dramatic cut to junior year: I was told I was gonna be co-editor of the 2018-2019 yearbook, and there was nothing that made me happier. After that funk in freshman year, Journalism became my favorite class and home for an hour and 30 minutes every other day, and six hours every other Friday after school. I made a family within the C122 walls, and I can never thank the publication enough for giving me a place to grow and become the person I am today.

With that being said, thank you LaPorte–you have been one of the only people that has never given up on me even when I have given up on myself. You have done more than almost anyone I know just to see me do well. And I will never be able to repay you for being my best friend, adviser and a parent when I needed one. You will forever be close to my heart, and I’ll make sure to tell my little skater boy kids about you in the future. Lastly, my yearbook staff–you guys will do and have done amazing things. Keep going strong for next year, and don’t be afraid to take risks with the book. Be different. Alyx, Eriyale and Noel–you guys have given me a friend when it felt like there was no one else, and you each will do great things. I can’t thank you enough. Keep C122 loud. Love you guys!

JEWEL GRANADOS: Out of everything that I thought I would take out of high school, my four years in Journalism have given me more than I ever thought I would receive. 80 percent of my memories in C122 either involve laughing or crying, and while that is a strange combination, these memories are priceless and will be something I remember until the end of time. While this class is probably the closest thing I will experience to hell, I would not take a single second back even if I was given the chance. Journalism allowed me to find a passion I didn’t even know I had, and I was able to explore and learn more about it. Journalism gave me a place to breathe and a place to be able to create whatever I wanted whenever, and for that, I will always be grateful no matter where I end up years down from now. I want to thank Mr. LaPorte for encouraging me, and to the family who have spent hours putting in work to make the best book and newspaper site possible. We made it.

To Jessica and the future yearbookers: please continue my “I guess” legacy. It’s good luck.

To Kenneth and Zhen: hooligans.

KIARA IVAS: After hearing stories about people crying and stressing over Journalism at Southwest CTA, I thought joining would be a great idea. Being in a middle school publication was a walk in the park; there was no way high school would be any worse. Oh boy, I was so wrong. Being in C122 all 4 years of my high school career has definitely been a trip, but a fun one. I don’t regret choosing Journalism as my elective. I have learned more about myself and the world just being in this class.

Sammy, can you believe we’ve been working together since middle school? Seeing you grow up has been a blessing. You have done so much this year, I cannot thank you enough. Have fun at SUU!

Lauryn, you have helped in ways you don’t know. You are truly the person that kept yearbook from falling apart, and I commend you for that. I can tell the future has amazing things in store for you. Don’t get too cold in Reno!

Arielle, there are not enough words for the amount of love and appreciation I have for you. I wish I could be as strong as you–you have grown into an amazing person. Thank you for everything in yearbook and interior. Be safe in Seattle!

Jewel and Shelly, you guys are the queens of specialty pages and designing in general. I appreciate all the effort you put into spreads that needed help, on top of your own spreads. Stay special!

Kenneth and Zhen, the dynamic duo. You both are at your best when you guys work together, maybe except when Zhen yells “KENNETH!” Thank you for all the jokes when we were feeling stressed. Keep laughing!

Andrada, the girl in the corner. I am impressed that you used the older computer this whole year. Props to you for keeping up with tennis, school and yearbook. The grind never stops!

Vanessa, you’ll be the only senior in yearbook to write one of these next year, isn’t that crazy? I love hearing all your crazy stories and ranting about whatnot during 6th period. Stay away from Senioritis!

Alexia, I hope you have learned a lot during your time in journalism. I will always remember your laugh when I need to smile. Good luck junior year!

Jessica, I knew from the moment I found out you watch Sugar Pine 7, we would understand each other. Thank you for all the good laughs and everything you did for the book. Have fun next year!

Ally, Xzavier and Sandra, although you guys are in a different period, you’re still apart of the journalism family. You guys are going to do amazing work next year. Don’t give up!

Before I start crying a river, I want to say that I appreciate everyone in this Journalism family of ours. I’m going to miss all the laughs and yelling in C122. Thank you Mr. Matthew LaPorte for choosing student journalism and recognizing the importance of student voices.

LAURYN KERN: Senior year has been rough, I’ve endured storm after storm without recuperation. Yet, at the end of my days, I would always end up back in C122 in a better mood. Journalism is the creative outlet I never knew I needed until I joined my sophomore year. I have grown as a writer, a communicator, and as a person alongside my peers. During Friday night work nights, where we’d stay at this school for hours and hours on end, even breaking 12 hours on some special nights, there would be music blasting and everyone would crowd around the pizza when it arrived. That is the type of high school memory I will take with me for the rest of my life. The memories where we would all open the boxes full of freshly printed yearbooks, full of all we accomplished for the year; the excitement of going through the physical book for the first time.

I’m going to really miss this class and the corner I sat in developing spreads and writing caption after caption. I won’t miss the thousands of google hangout messages all consisting of the number one, but that’s just a minor detail. Thank you to Mr. Laporte for listening to my suggestions and dealing with my snarkiness. I can really get annoying after having me for four straight years as a student and you still managed to tolerate me. Thank you to the other editors, Russel, Kiara, Sammi, Arielle you guys are all complete rockstars because journalism is absolutely a full-time job and it’s a hard class to manage with school, yet each and every one of you worked unfathomably hard. I’m going to miss staring at these slow computers every other day, and I’ll miss all the banter. Good Luck to the future Howl and Southwest Shadow. Keep doing great things.

MACKENZIE O’MARA: Throughout my three years in journalism, I went from not knowing anything to getting better. Then I came full circle, and instead of not knowing what to do, I just didn’t want to do anything, and Laporte has worked with me and my drama the whole way. I have gone through many meltdowns and come to school with a side bun because of Journalism, but in the end it’s all worth it because you can say that you were part of The Howl staff and you got to experience the journalism class in full swing. No one will ever understand how Journalism runs unless you experience it first hand, but I can honestly say I will never forget the snarky remarks and strange but refreshing music within the walls of C122.

ANDRADA STANCIU: I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to join Journalism II at first, but I later realized that this is one of the best classes I’ve ever had. I have learned so many skills in this class that I never thought I would. From learning how to use Photoshop to becoming comfortable with talking to strangers, this class has benefited me both in school and life. 10/10 would recommend. Also, it’s been really fun looking intimidating while talking to freshman for quotes. You can see them quake–it’s hilarious. A piece of advice: Don’t let senioritis get the best of you. Much love to everyone and have a great summer! 

KENNETH TALUSAN: It’s unbelievable where I am today. Freshman me was so scared of everyone, and now a lot of people think of me as the biggest idiot they’ve ever met. Four years of Journalism changed me into someone I couldn’t even recognize, to someone I’m proud to be. I cannot even put into words how thankful for Journalism, for the whole staff–and most of all LaPorte, for shaping me into the person I am today. The staff–no, this family–is something I could only wish for in my dreams. Everyone is so wild and talented, especially two people who’ve been in journalism with me since the beginning. Jewel and Zhen, I can’t thank you enough for all the times I’ve wanted to yell at you, and all the times you two wanted to strangle me. Now that we’re graduating, I wish everyone the best, and I’m gonna miss y’all. :’)

SAMANTHA WILSON: I never could have thought that one class, one teacher and a room full of students could change my life as much as it did. Journalism has been a wild ride with both ups and downs, but the ups made the downs worth it. It has been an honor being apart of the Journalism Family, and this has been an experience that I will never forget. The Journalism Family is like no other. The countless hours we have spent in C122 together laughing, crying, goofing off and working, have made my high school experience. I am so thankful for everyone in the Journalism class, I will miss you all so much. This is one of the only things I’ll miss about high school.

Thank you to LaPorte for pushing me to do better and step outside of my comfort zone. You have taught me so much, and I will never forget your class.

That’s a wrap on my time in C122, I’ve “pressed 1” for the last time. Good luck to everyone, I will miss you all.

ZHEN YU: Coming into Journalism Foundations at the beginning of freshman year, I had no idea what I was getting into. Literally. I didn’t ask for the class; I was placed in it because I had an extra elective spot. At the beginning of my first Journalism Foundations class, I was asked to write down whether or not I wanted to stay on a slip of paper that was being passed around, and I have no regret for deciding to stay.

I was told by previous Journalism students that Journalism is like a family. I never really understood what that meant until the summer after my first year in Journalism II. I figured out that it means that we’re all in this together. As a family, we all help each other and all that jazz, but the most important aspect of this family is that we all make each other laugh.

There aren’t enough words to describe how grateful I am for Journalism II. This one and a half hour period of every “A day” has helped me develop more meaningful relationships than I could have done by myself. Thank you to Jewel and Kenneth for making my time in Journalism something I will never regret. I’ll forever cherish all those times we’ve laughed until our stomachs wanted to turn and go inside out.

I want to thank Mr. Matthew LaPorte for making this one heck of a ride, and I want to thank both the Howl and the Southwest Shadow for being such a good family outside of my family to me.