Fresno Christian High School
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The Feather

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The Feather

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Letter to the Editor
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Senior Reflection: Ethan Hamm


I have changed quite a bit over the span of these last four years. I still feel like the wacky, manic, 14-year old that I was when I began high school here at Fresno Christian and yet now I cringe at that same freshman that would do anything for attention.

I remember the last week of sophomore year, sitting in the shade outside of the gym, eating my lunch, and talking to my friends about the year we had. About halfway through lunch, three of my closest friends walked out of the high school building, papers in hand. As they approached I asked them where they were during lunch. They explained they were at the Feather meeting, and I immediately felt left out. They were going to be the new video team.

[/media-credit] Senior Ethan Hamm

Something in me felt desperation to join now that my friends were going to be apart of something that I had always secretly wanted to be apart of. I just couldn’t bring myself to get up and go talk to the advisors.

About a month in summer vacation, I could still hear the voice in my head saying that I should email the adviser for video, Mrs. Friesen, and see if by any chance I could fill an available spot. I did so and throughout the summer went back and forth, attempting to successfully sell myself.

The junior year began and I was the under-qualified new staffer for The Feather’s video journalism team. I had never done anything that pushed me as hard as these next two years would.

I was lucky enough to be apart of two journalism classes in my junior year with masters of journalism: Greg Stobbe and Kori Friesen, teaching me. I started as a lazy, insecure, self-centered 16-year-old and I thank God that he put these two advisers in my life. They turned me into someone who respected authority, who understood the value of a team, and pushed myself further than I thought possible.

I made videos that I thought were amazing, and after reluctantly showing Friesen or Stobbe, I would quickly learn that it was not the masterpiece I thought it was. I would dismantle this project and restitch it over and over until it was worth something to the viewers.

It became clear to me that no matter how many people watched my videos, it better be worth their time. I was pushed to do more than what was expected of me because it wasn’t for me, it was for my team; it was for something greater than myself.

In my first year on The Feather, I didn’t have a functioning laptop. I would edit videos on my seven-year-old phone. I don’t know how I survived a year with my extremely sketchy system, or how I survived the weekly meetings with Friesen, explaining that she was running low on patience.

I was given more chances than I was worth. No one had ever repeatedly seen me screw up as much as my advisers did and still given me another shot, and then another…and another.

I’ll never forget the most traumatic moment of my high school career. Friesen in a quick interaction asked me to host a lunch rally of sorts promoting The Feather. I said yes without hesitation, either because of the fact that it happened so fast or of my healthy fear of saying no to Friesen.

I did an absolutely awful job and was trembling the whole time, but it forced me way out my comfort zone and helped me understand that I would be OK, even if I made a fool of myself in front of a couple hundred of my peers.

By far my favorite part of these past two years on The Feather was hosting the weekly video announcements, FC Underground with my fellow video team member and friend, Wesley Hinton, ’20. This was the format that I could be free; I could be wacky, and I could have fun. This was the best way to wrap up my high school journey.

Stobbe gave me the energy to take action. He would lay out the effects of my actions and the opportunity that success provided. He was honest with me and didn’t hold back, because he wanted me to succeed. He cares about his students and would show up to work even in the middle of personal hell because he wanted to better someone else’s life. He is truly a master of his craft and good man.

James (formerly Friesen) gave me opportunity after opportunity to show that I was worth something, that I had something to offer. She would constantly use her time to help someone who wasn’t helping her, who wasn’t deserving of her help. She would find something in me and bring it out and push me to use my gifts. She is the master of tough love. I am truly grateful to have worked for her. She shaped me in many ways and has helped me become somebody better than who I was before I met her.

I will always appreciate the lessons learned from these past two years. I was given two wonderful advisers that don’t get enough appreciation for what they do and what they have provided for so many students. I thank God for putting me in the right place at the right time and for blessing me with the pain of failing.

I thank my advisers for moving me forward after failure and I thank my friends for having my back when I fell. I will forever miss my school and my Feather family.

The video below is Ethan Hamm‘s senior reflection:

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  • K

    Kori JamesMay 16, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Ethan! Buddy… your transparency is refreshing and the deep self-reflection you shared makes all those lessons seem like gold! You are WORTH it, don’t ever forget that! Your style, your creativity, your passion for the craft is unique and special. Through everything you have learned and as you say failed in… I am so glad you stuck with the team and me. Can’t wait to say someday when I see your name on the big screen… I taught him that! LOL Love you bud!