Goodbye letters from the editors-in-chief

Thalia Valdes

I am a strong believer that we are all interconnected in some way or another, and in turn, our actions and words produce a rippling effect. One person can influence others, and the people impacted have the ability to do the same. Journalism is like a robe that envelops all of life. It is about connections, about the foreign and painfully familiar. It is translating the inner workings of our minds and capturing the essence of it, the importance it holds, and hopefully reaching others in the process.When I was in ninth grade, I did not intend to apply to The Beacon. It was Lavetta Ulman who approached me s and handed me an application, encouraging me to apply. The truth is, at the time, I was not confident that my voice mattered, or that my opinions could be of value. The 30 second interaction between Ulman and I is something that has greatly affected who I am today, and I look back on my time at The Beacon with conflicting feelings, finding joy in knowing I have been able to grow and contribute throughout my time on staff, but knowing this chapter in my life is coming to an end.

The Beacon’s name nearly carries a double meaning, for it has served as my beacon when I have been lost. This is especially true because of people such as Karen Sutton, someone who encouraged me to express myself and helped me grow as a person. I greatly appreciate her unwavering support and guidance, something I hope I have made clear, even more so considering I bother her with texts, emails, and calls every now and then.Staff members such as Rachel De Paz have been like family to me. Having the chance to lead The Beacon alongside her has been a privilege and I will miss her obsession with bells and cereal.Being a part of The Beacon has dictated much of my high school career, it is where I found my voice. It has been an honor to lead such an amazing group, I know that the new members and leaders will accomplish much, even more so under the guidance of Mayling Ganuza.A big thank you to the many teachers who have pushed me to grow. Stella Crespo, your jean jackets definitely make you look hip and I would struggle opening your door for hours just to say hi. Carlos Couzo, your ability to grow a beard over a weekend is impressive and I will always appreciate your life-saving advice. Jeff Raymond, for avoiding being called Jeffrey and for always making lesson plans fun with your cool dance moves. Jennifer Fernandez, for laughing at me, not with me. CAP advisors, for listening to my rants about FAFSA.MAST Academy, thank you for the tan lines and the memories with lifelong friends such as Oscar, Camila, Sophia, Diana, and Laura. Most importantly, thank you for molding me into who I am today.

Rachel De Paz

Being put into Mrs. Sutton’s newspaper class was a clerical error, but it’s one I owe much of my personal growth to. The day I got off the waitlist for MAST in June of my freshman year, I rushed to campus to plan out my classes. Among all of my elective choices, I knew that I wanted to be a part of The Beacon because of my admiration for journalists and their line of work and quickly filled out an application to join staff. That application must have gotten lost, though, because when I sat down on that first day of class, Mrs. Sutton looked at me puzzled before telling me the elusive application was never received.I am beyond grateful that I was placed into newspaper, for it was because of my experiences with this staff that I became the person I am today. From spaghetti dinners to sporadic pizza parties to lowkey christmas music singalongs, there’s never been a dull moment on staff and a bountiful of experiences that have allowed me to grow into the person I am today.To my co-editor-in-chief Thalia Valdes, thank you for being the more reasonable one in this partnership; I don’t know how I would’ve handled this position without you. You taught me how to stand up for myself and not care about what others may think. Tiana Headley, your reporting on the complex place where diversity stands at our school sparked intense discourse and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to work with you both in The Beacon and with our Art History Program. I will always remember the weekend we spent as pseudo-detectives with a cause!And last, but not least, thank you to my best friend Parissa Rohani for sticking with me through thick and thin. My high school years will be epitomized by us talking in my Prius for hours through rain or shine and our strange exchange of mainstream memes. I wish the best of luck to our new editors-in-chief Kaylee Rodriguez and Gina Crespo; I know that you will do amazing things with this paper and I am so excited to see what direction you will take this paper. These past three years, The Beacon has been my safe place where I could laugh, cry, stress, and be myself without judgement. Being a part of this staff taught me that mistakes happen for a reason, and I am so grateful to have been offered the opportunity to publish alongside other passionate students.