KYLE BAYUDAN: I never thought that journalism would be such a big part of my life during high school. Going into C122 on the first day of school freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. However, now that I’ve spent countless hours in that class, I can say that I don’t regret any of it one bit. From work nights to all the yelling during class, journalism truly is one big family that I’m for sure going to miss. Thank you to everyone in the class for making my last year one for the books even though the virus cut it short! Here’s one last message to everyone on my staff since I won’t be able to see you guys in person one last time:

Alyx, thank you for always finding a way to make the whole class laugh even when you don’t mean to. Even though you weren’t really on a staff, I appreciated all the background work you did for both yearbook and newspaper—a true player for both teams. 

Charli, I’ll never forget your sick dance moves during work nights, and by the way, thank you for coordinating the few we had this year, they were some of the best. Thank you for holding down the multimedia section this year too; I could never spend the time to edit and put together as many podcasts as you did.

Eriyale, I always enjoyed reading and editing your opinion stories because the topics you chose are ones that I would’ve written myself, but can’t put into words. I’m going to miss your calm, yet chaotic energy because I know for a fact that I won’t be able to find a friend like you next year.

Grinesa, thank you for holding down the news section this year and always being there when I needed you. You were the mom of the newspaper staff and even the class as a whole, always giving hugs to everyone and making sure people were sane.

McKenna, high-key going to miss being able to turn around and talk to you because some of the conversations we had were some of the weirdest and funniest I had with anyone on staff. Also, you’ll always be the CEO of empty Gucci bags and the CEO of feature stories in my heart.

Noel, I think you were one of the first friends I made in journalism, so I appreciate you a lot for that. Your review writing is unmatched and I know you’ve been wanting to work for Vice, so I really hope you get a position for them—you deserve it.

Ahmed, I always appreciated your hard work and drive to stay on task. Your columns have always been a strength of yours, so keep that up next year. 

Dean, thank you for being the best cartoonist. I always enjoyed looking at your drawings because they gave me something other than words to look at and edit. Your cartoons now are much better than they were at the beginning of the year and I liked watching that growth.

Gurleen, I still find it funny how I wrote a profile on you last year without knowing you were going to be on staff, that’s crazy. I like to think of you as a mini me (kind of) because of the amount of profiles and reviews you wrote your first year; keep writing them next year.

Jackson, I remember when you wrote your first review and it was already pretty good, considering it was your first one. Ever since then, your reviews have only got better so keep pushing them out and enter them in contests—it’s your strong suit.

Julia, you were rather quiet throughout the year, but your writing made up for that silence. You’re an all around writer and you manage to publish quality work in all of your stories. From one EIC to the next, manage your time wisely and you’ll be stress free. 

Juliana, thank you for always pushing to finish your stories. Your persistence grew throughout the year and I admire how you were able to write any story no matter how big or small the topic was. 

Kamiran, your willingness to pursue any story amazes me to this day. You wrote everything from news stories, different reviews to even drawing a cartoon and everything in between. Thank you for working hard throughout the whole year.

Naila, no matter the amount of edits you receive on a story, you’re always down to fix them without question. I’ll never forget your random stretch sessions or dances in the middle of class when you’re waiting for edits.

Zoie, mahalo for being hardworking and being able to communicate whenever something came up. Writing a review as your first story in journalism was no easy task, but you were able to do it and that set the pace for the rest of the year; keep up your hard work next year. Shoots den.

LaPorte, thank you for the past four years of journalism. You were able to teach me important life lessons that I’m for sure going to live by forever. I always looked forward to coming into your class at the end of the day because of the environment you created there. Without you, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today with leadership-like qualities and the ability to be able to write fluently. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

MCKENNA THAYER: In sophomore year, I chose journalism as my elective because there wasn’t anything else I was interested in. Little did I know that for the next three years, this class would become my favorite place on campus. Although it can be stressful at times, journalism has made me the person I am today. This class has pushed me to exceed expectations and meet my deadlines. My passion for writing and creating content has grown and thanks to my editors throughout the years, it has improved as well. Three years ago, if you told me I would’ve been the ‘features’ editor, I would’ve walked right out the door. However, I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’m glad I got to teach the underclassmen.

If someone were to ask me about my high school experience, a majority of my memories would be from journalism. After years of refusing to go on trips and miss school, I finally decided to travel to Washington D.C. for a conference. It was such a fun and eye-opening experience and I will always have the photos and videos to look back on. All the work nights we had gave us time to get our work done, but more importantly, play games, sing and feast on pizza and cake. The car washes were always fun too and showed us who was not a morning person. 

I want to thank all of my fellow seniors for helping me join the team, even though I started a year late. I also want to thank all of the underclassmen for their hard work and helping continue our legacy. Finally, thank you, Mr. Matthew LaPorte for everything. You helped me reach my true potential even when I doubted myself. You always pushed me to put out my best work, even when I wanted to give up. I will always remember your singing, sassy comments and endless support. Thank you for giving me a sense of home at school. I will always remember your class. 

Good luck to everyone, especially the underclassmen, and HAGS!

ERIYALE WILLIAMS: Howdy! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. It is crazy to think that my time writing for the Southwest Shadow has come to an end, it feels like just yesterday I walked into C122 for the first time. In the past four years, I have grown tremendously as a writer, student and just a person. Everyone in this classroom has become family and I am so sad to close this chapter of my life, but I am thankful to have met each and every one of you.

Out of all the years, this one has been the most chaotic and fun. I feel at peace leaving the Southwest Shadow in the hands of the underclassmen. I know they will only continue to create beautiful articles and bring those awards home. I have learned so much from each of you, and I hope this is not the end of our relationship personally. I am always just a call away and I am so excited to watch you all grow. 

And to LaPorte, I could never thank you enough for all you have done for me. Coming into your classroom felt like coming home—and I really mean it when I say you’re the best dad I never had. I will miss screaming across the room, laughing and traveling together. The best award I ever got was having you as my instructor and I know this isn’t the last goodbye.

GRINESA BAJRAMI: In eighth grade, filling out all the paperwork to start high school, I decided to take journalism as an elective. Looking back at it, it was the best decision.

After spending four years in that class and endless hours at work nights, some of my best high school memories were held on C-122 and beyond. From playing UNO under the table to riding ‘Grizzly River Run’ hundreds of times and having dance-offs in Chicago, the memories with the journalism staff were some of the greatest of my life. 

If you had told me freshman year that this class would be my life, that I’d become ‘news’ editor and that I’d head off to college majoring in journalism, I would have never believed it. However, here I am, four years later, with a passion for journalism. 

To the remaining journalism staff members, both yearbook and newspaper, I wish you the best of luck. I know this class is stressful and hard to manage, but I know you will all do amazing. As the mom friend of the journalism, if something bad happens and the stress becomes too much, you know who to call or text. 

To the seniors graduating with me, it’s been a real slice. I’m going to miss you guys so much and I hope you all do great things in life. Please keep in touch, you guys made high school the best! I love you all!

Finally, thank you so much Mr. LaPorte for always believing me and pushing me to be my best, even when I tried to ignore you and my work. You will forever be my favorite teacher and I’m going to miss seeing you everyday. I am the person I am today because I sat in your class for four years and learned so much from you. 

Good luck to everyone, I’ll miss you all. I wish I could say goodbye to everyone personally, but things happen. Much love to you all.

CHARLI GISI: Four years ago, I made one of the best decisions I have ever made; I joined journalism. And it definitely has been a bumpy ride, but I wouldn’t change those four years for anything. Over the years, Mr. LaPorte, my fellow staff and editors have helped me grow not only as a journalist but also as a person. 

Starting out freshman year, writing was never my speciality, and it still isn’t. Through trial and error, I realized I really enjoy expressing myself through digital media, which never really crossed my mind when first joining the class. Now, I have companies reaching out to me and complimenting me on my work through different media

The memories I have made in this class have been some of the best ones of my high school experience. From staying late for work nights, singing karaoke and watching scary movies together to having impromptu dances and screaming in class, no two days were alike in C122. And don’t even get me started on the trips we’ve taken together. What started with San Francisco and ended with an amazing trip to Washington D.C. those memories will never be forgotten.

To LaPorte, words can not express how thankful I am for you and this class. I know I can be a pain like all the time, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Getting to be in your class was like a second home. Getting to spend the past four years with you and the staff was amazing

I love you all and wish nothing but the best. Thank you.

ALYX BEETEN: In freshman year, I was put into journalism foundations expecting to be able to leave the class the next year. I didn’t realize how much I would truly enjoy the class until the end of the year came and we were asked if we wanted to come back. There is absolutely no way I would have been able to get through all four years of high school without this class. C122 has truly been my home for the last four years.

To all the other seniors, these last four years with you guys have been everything for me. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this class and all the memories we’ve created together, from San Francisco to Disney to Chicago and even the vegetable platter, you guys have been there with me through it all and I couldn’t have asked for a better journalism family. I hope we get to stay in touch. 

As for the remainder of the class, I will of course miss you all. I’m almost positive you guys will keep the class going and keep on annoying LaPorte for us. Thank you for all the hard work you guys did and enjoy the rest of your four years as much as possible.

Thank you to everyone, especially LaPorte. You truly do mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be where I am without you. Thank you for always being there to make everything happen for us and for putting up with everything we put you through for the last four years, it never went unnoticed.

Noel Sarte-Saad: I remember on the last day of eighth grade, my English teacher had told me how good of a writer I was, that I should continue and grow this talent of mine in high school by joining journalism. So, I took her advice and joined journalism freshman year, and since then, I was in the class all throughout my high school years.

Journalism has genuinely changed my life, not only as for my course of action after high school, but also how I perceive the world around me. At first, I thought it was strictly going to be news reporting, but Mr. LaPorte let us discover our personality within the class. I remember him letting us choose from a list of different writing styles in journalism. I actually started to write a news story at first, but found it quite boring and decided to switch to album reviews. My voice through a review was able to flow more, I got to say my opinion, using my own thoughts, while also giving an idea to readers of how the album sounds without actually listening to it.

I thank every single person I’ve met in this class, each and every one of you will always have a special place in my heart. To the senior staff, you are truly my closest friends and I couldn’t be more grateful to have such a tight-knit group in my life. To Mr. LaPorte, thank you for being such a strong and positive figure in my life, without you I wouldn’t have been able to find a passion and dream within journalism, I would’ve never pushed myself as hard in the class if it weren’t for you, thank you for everything.