I don’t get to be sentimental

Dedicated to the 2014-2015 seniors of Mason High School’s The Chronicle

It is not my turn to don a Hawaiian button-up shirt and lei while I bike to school with my class–as per the Mason tradition–nor is it my turn to sob in to cardboard boxes while I package memorabilia for life on an alien planet.

But it is my turn–our turn–to wish our seniors life. I wish them coffee-stained textbook nights that turn in to mornings, thrice-folded plane tickets tucked in passports, the perfect Katy-Perry-pink high heels or oversized neon kicks for a friend’s surprise 21st birthday party.

…Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.

~Neil Gaiman

I wish them this environment that they’ll leave behind–I wish them family. The Chronicle gave me the opportunity to befriend people that I never would have known existed–the drama wizard, the prom queen, the sports enthusiast. I have been thankful since my application interview in which I sat terrified, praying that my love for writing was enough to see me through the process. It was ten minutes that I have never regretted, and though the seniors that built this staff will drift apart from us and each other, I will thank them–all of them–for giving me a chance.

Thank you to…

Erin Brush — The Cross Country StarJohns Hopkins University

I recognized you in my interview from Cross Country, but that made you no less terrifying. I had no idea if you knew who I was–sloth-paced as I am–and it did not help that it looked like you could knock out my brains with a single kick. But you recognized me, from a team of hundreds of girls, and smiled like I could do this, like you would help me through it. There was no better person for a Cross Country captain or a Chronicle Managing Editor: you bring out the best in everyone around you, not to mention balance an impossible course load to boot. Good luck in Baltimore; I know you will excel there, too.

Emily Culberson–The Chronicle’s Blood SupplyMiami University

You enable the Chronicle to live. Without you, we’d never produce a single issue. It’s as Mr. Conner says, you have “a thankless job,” but I never saw you without a smile on your face or a phone in your hand. You did it anyway because you are an impeccable businesswoman. From all of us, thank you. You will crush whatever Miami throws your way.

Rashika Jaipuriar–The Compassionate ProdigySyracuse University

You inspire me. Your opinion piece on Cincinnati.com not only awed me with your superb command of language but also your thought-provoking opinion. I think that piece alludes to who you are: you’d never think of excluding anyone because you love the work you do and only wish to pass that love on to others. I can’t wait to read your name as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and think, I knew her. She taught me. Syracuse is only the start of your life long career–I’m rooting for you.

Zane Miller–The Dedicated StatisticianBowling Green State University

When E. Brush posted 23 Signs You’re a Chronicle Staff Member and included, “You have no idea what Zane Miller is doing half of the time,” I can’t say I didn’t relate. We always saw you typing away at a computer, but none of us ever doubted for a second that you were doing anything other than working. Your dedication to sports and your “Who Will Win?” blog only grows: we can always count on you to cover sports for thecspn.com, and you even keep me updated on games I didn’t know were happening. With that level of dedication, there is no way you can do anything else in college other than succeed.

Kelly Noriega–Beauty with a BrainThe Ohio State University

You’re a prom queen. If Mean Girls had it right, you would be pink-obsessed and air-headed–but you are neither. Instead you are a stellar tennis player, quick with a compliment rather than an insult, and a brilliant on-screen and in-print reporter. You are our prom queen for all of these reasons and because you are friends with everyone you meet. That’s why your fellow seniors named you Most Likely to Show Up At Someone’s House for an Interview–you’re not afraid of anyone because you have a gift for befriending entirely different crowds, and soon you’ll rule OSU.

Sheila Raghavendran–Lady Gaga’s Soul SisterIndiana University

You are insane in the best way. Your laugh is a tad maniacal, worthy of the Little Monster title, and your flyaway hair bounces to its beat. And yet you are the most approachable and dedicated Editor in Chief that we could have hoped for. Even as a skittish newbie, I never doubted that I could come to you with any idea I had. You might giggle and turn it down, but you were never afraid to think bigger, to be better, and to hold us to a higher standard. I appreciate everything you taught me–from journalistic style to how to loosen up and laugh at quirky YouTube videos. From the time I met you during Mason in the Middle, I admired your pizazz and confidence. You were who I hoped to become, and 10 years from now, we may no longer speak, but I will still be able to look back on this year under your leadership and identify it as a turning point in my life. Go dominate IU–it’s lucky to have you.

Sonia Rayka–Bottled SunshinePenn State

My heart thrummed in my chest whenever I stepped in to C103 at the beginning of the year. I was wracked with nerves–I’d never done an interview at this level, and now I had to appear confident to authorities and peers alike. You made me feel safe in that world. You helped me double-check my interview questions, talk through ideas, and discover what it means to be a journalist. And you did it all while glowing with sunshine. You were kind to everyone, spilled compliments, and just brightened our day. Even as we mocked you for wearing a shirt with a fat green 0, you never stopped smiling. There are 0 people that are as sincere as you–I’m thrilled I was able to get to know you before you head to Pennsylvania.

Gabrielle Stichweh–Sociopathic IntellectUniversity of Cincinnati (DAAP)

You terrified me even more than Erin. Probably because I struggled with visual ideas, and you favor a single facial expression. But I admired you for the same reason I feared you: you had backbone. You never hesitated to say no or to stand up for what you believe in, whether it was a layout for our cover or women’s rights. You challenged us, and you made us better for that. You will be the perfect DAAP student and excel even beyond UC.

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Thank you all for creating an environment in which we can come out of our shells. You let us pursue our ideas as much as we desired but were always there to catch us if we needed it. As you embark on your next adventure, I hope you know that no one is trying to fill your shoes. We just want to make you proud.



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