An Open Letter to My Chronicle Staff

To all my 2016-2017 Chronnies:

Two years ago, in my final days as a Chronicle newbie, I felt sad to see the 2014-2015 seniors leave me for unfamiliar and exotic destinations. These were the seniors that had raised me, in more than just the journalistic sense, and saying goodbye made me teary, even though it was not my turn to be sentimental. 

Now, it is my turn to don the cap and gown, try not to laugh when the valedictorian insists fallaciously that she should have spend high school doing something more than studying, and pretend not to tear up at the speech just the same. Yet, as much a champion of high school drama the graduation process is, this year I find myself with surprisingly little to say.

What can close-caption a year like this? It was different, to be sure, but I think less due to sudden senior status and more because our dynamic shifted. Whether anyone had intended it or not, subconsciously everyone on staff shifted their interactions with me. I was no longer a sounding board for ideas so much as an unavoidable conversation about deadlines. If you think I was annoying sending out that 87th Group Me message directly mentioning you about why your draft was not done, trust me: I annoyed myself too.

Learning to produce a Chronicle was new to me, and I know in the beginning, I messed it up. A lot. Over and over again. But rather than ramble about how much I have learned this year, I would much rather thank each of you for learning with me. Though we consider India the “mom” of our group, I genuinely care about each one of you. Sometimes, you do feel like my 24 children, if only because your work continuously makes me proud. My shoutouts and status as “everyone’s hypeman” (thanks, Ryan) just reflect I am always rooting for you, and I will continue to do so from Charlottesville.

So, thank you to…

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29 steps to make a Chronicle

  1. Pretend to be diligent while coming up with story ideas.
  2. Nod your head at Dale Conner’s inevitable ridiculous suggestion.
  3. Go back to your computer to “brainstorm by yourself,” or look at memes when your editor is not looking.
  4. Pitch a story about social media to the editors.
  5. Hold back tears when you get rejected.
  6. Pitch a decent story idea at the last minute.
  7. Interview, interview, interview.
  8. Tell your editor that your completely available source cannot talk to you until three days after the deadline so that you can stay up binge-watching “13 Reasons Why.”
  9. Transcribe quotes and submit the transcripts as your first draft.
  10. Act confused when your editor is livid.
  11. If step 9 does not work, pull the “I didn’t share it with you?” confusion bit.
  12. 30 minutes before the deadline, write a killer draft.
  13. Watch as the editors rework the entire map to fit your now brilliant story into the edition.
  14. Threaten Meghan Pottle with peanut butter while the editors layout pages.
  15. Play poker while the editors layout pages.
  16. Work on math homework while the editors layout pages.
  17. Eat cookies while the editors layout pages.
  18. Do anything but brainstorm story ideas while the editors layout pages.
  19. On the day of send out, start an improv comedy show that involves a screaming match. 
  20. Ignore the editors when they yell at you to be quiet.
  21. Act super relieved when the editors finally send out.
  22. Twiddle your thumbs until the paper arrives.
  23. Fight over DJ privileges while Ashton bags the paper.
  24. Sleep past 7:15 a.m. on every other distribution day.
  25. If you do show up to distribution day, bring stale donuts or trashy cereal.
  26. Forget to distribute papers to every third classroom. 
  27. Silence your Group Me, so you do not have to hear about how you missed every third classroom. 
  28. Show up to fifth bell to eat pizza, again. 
  29. Repeat 9 times until the end of the year when your editor finally stops roasting you because hey, you are pretty cool after all.

The 3 stages of being on the Chronicle staff

1. Sophomore year: Constant fear of your own shadow and any all interviews. The editors are friendly but also terrifying.

2. Junior year: Stress mode. I have to stay up until what time to post your football story online? You want what now for Mason in the Middle? My story is due WHEN?

3. Senior year: Been-round-the-block cool. Harasses underclassmen about why their drafts are not done and becomes the leader you once feared.

Marijuana legalization goes up in smoke after resounding loss in November 3 election

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Pot smokers hoping to legally smoke a joint in Ohio will have to wait after Issue 3 burned to ashes on election day.

Issue 3 stood to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana, but it granted only 10 sites the right to cultivate and sell it. An early October poll by Quinnipiac University indicated 53 percent of Ohio voters were pro-legalization, but support plummeted on November 3: 36 percent voted “Yes” while 64 percent voted “No.”

To legalize, voters also needed to reject Issue 2–a provision that forbade monopoly, and therefore Issue 3, under the Ohio constitution. The measure passed with 52 percent in favor and 48 percent against.

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La belleza de las idiomas

Muchas personas me han dicho que las idiomas son las cosas más difíciles para aprender y no dudo que es la verdad. Todas las idiomas tienen reglas diferentes y por está razón, se necesita memorizar dos formas de gramática–de español y de inglés. Sin embargo, me encantan las idiomas por la mismo. Los estudiantes en mi clase pueden aprender a hablar y escuchar en actividades que todo el mundo hace en vez de muchas hojas de ejercicios. Por ejemplo, yo cambié el idioma de mi teléfono a español unos meses pasados para practicarlo y durante el fin de semana, vi la película se llama Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal.


Entiendo toda pero qué cómica. Los actores son los mismos y yo sé su diálogo porque la veía mucho cuando era niña, y por eso, es muy chistoso que “Daniel Radcliffe” hable español. La clase de español este año es una oportunidad invaluable también. Un día, nosotros leímos la poesía por Pablo Neruda en el español original. Era fantástico. Su poesía no tiene el mismo sonido en traducciones.

Un perro ha muerto

…Y yo, materialista que no cree
en el celeste cielo prometido
para ningún humano,
para este perro o para todo perro
creo en el cielo, sí, creo en un cielo
donde yo no entraré, pero él me espera
ondulando su cola de abanico
para que yo al llegar tenga amistades…

No estoy diciendo que nosotros seremos bilingües porque estamos en una clase. Es más difícil que eso. Mi maestra de español de 2A me dijo que nosotros no podrían hablar con fluidez sin vivir en un país hispanohablante por muchos años. Sin esta experiencia, solo seremos traductores buenos. Yo la creo. Yo leeré este escrito al fin del año y estaré avergonzada porque tiene muchos errores y es muy básico. Pero es una parte necesaria para mejorar mi habilidad de usar español. Voy a divertirme mientras lo aprendo.

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… Continue reading

Chronicle dominates Ohio Scholastic Media Association 2015 Contest

Listed below are the awards I received from the Ohio Scholastic Media Association 2015 Contest:
General Feature — Honorable Mention
Jessica Sommerville
News Feature — Honorable Mention
Jessica Sommerville
Commentary — Excellent
Jessica Sommerville
Online Opinion — Excellent
Jessica Sommerville
The Chronicle dominates: 
-Overall Online News Site — First Place
-Overall Newspapers — First Place
For a full list of all Chronicle recipients, click here.

23 Signs You’re a Chronicle Staff Member


Erin Brush

1. You take every opportunity to add “chron” to normal words (Ex: Chronding, Chronsgiving, Chronsmas, etc.)

2. You groan every time Eric Miller puts on this song during lunch.

3. E. Mac’s deafening laughter just doesn’t get to you anymore.


4. You get this face every time you make a negative comment about Canada. Or gingers.


5. …And this face when you interrupt Marvar during his story idea.


6. You’re more afraid of Gabrielle Stichweh than anyone ever. Especially when telling her your graphic ideas. Or discussing anything regarding women’s rights.


7. You have no idea what Zane Miller is doing half the time.


8. You still think it’s funny to call Sonia “Zero”. And probably will until the end of the year.


9. You make it a point to only sing to Duncan on the Mackenzie twins’ birthday.


10. You get alarmed if Ashton isn’t wearing anything with a…

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