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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Senior Reflection: Sanjay Stephen


Hellos are a lot more fabulous than goodbyes, but here I am, thinking of any way to bedazzle this farewell. How does one even say goodbye to a time in their lives they never thought would come to an end? How do I?

Baby Sanjay Stephen poses alongside his older cousin.

I’ve been through 13 years of school total. Two of those years are a time I chose not to look back on: middle school. Then followed by four years of high school, all of which I passed by solely turning in my late assignments. Yet, during all those years, I have never repeated the same outfit more than once. A higher accomplishment than graduating if you ask me. 

Regardless, here I am. About to graduate and move on to infiltrate the world we live in. A world filled with inflation, temptation, and discrimination. All things I  know I will be faced with, but I hope to overcome.

After leaving for my junior year of high school, I made the executive decision to return back to Fresno Christian. The day I returned to campus, to re-enroll for my senior year, I was stopped in my tracks by Kori James. She was my old U.S history teacher and the current Feather advisor.

We discussed what I was looking for as I returned to FCS, and I honestly told her that I was just trying to make it through the year with my head down. That didn’t last very long…

She told me that if I wanted to belong to something, a “family,” The Feather was something I should consider. I got in my car, probably rolled my eyes simply because I’m dramatic, and left. For days after, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t forget those words she said, “You will be part of a family.” 

Seniors Sanjay Stephen, Christopher Mericle, and Kemya Hopkins alongside freshman Giada Gilmore-Young at Town Hall, representing The Feather. (Kori James)

Summer ended, and I found myself enrolled in the first period Feather class. I walked in, sat in the furthest seat in the back, and watched as James said the words “This is not an easy class, so if that’s what you thought, you should reconsider now.”  

I was scared of her, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about dropping out right then. I pushed every lazy thought in my head aside and decided I was gonna commit to this team… my soon to be family. 

A few months later, I found The Feather being my favorite class. I woke up every morning (usually late), to start my day with a class filled with my favorite people. I don’t think I have laughed in a class more than I have in this one. Within this team we laughed, cried, shared moments and memories together, helped each other, and no matter what always had each other’s backs. 

One of my favorite things about this family is how we came together regardless of our differences. The Feather is so diverse amongst its students that range in their ages, ethnicity, political standpoints, religious backgrounds, and so much more. We love each other through the things that make each of us different and unique.  The Feather is a safe place, and I never once felt un-welcomed or unloved. 

This class has taught me so much. We were taught to speak our minds, but more importantly, to listen. Through this class, I learned how to involve myself in subject areas I had no bearing in, and or disagreed with. I was taught to see both sides of everything before making a stand. Students were taught how to conduct collective arguments, where everyone listened and gave their input. This class prepared me for everyday interactions, work loads, time management, and many more things that I trust will be useful for the future.

I want to thank Kori James for this opportunity she granted me the moment she approached me at my car. Without her I wouldn’t have had all these opportunities and experiences I gained though this class. James always believed in me, and that meant more to me than anything else.

I would also like to thank our writing coach, Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young, for always giving a voice to those who have been silenced and pushed aside. Gilmore-Young always gave all students, especially students of color a voice. She served as an advocate for us all, and I can’t express how much having that support meant to me.

Sanjay Stephen teaching alongside writing coach Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young at Columbia Journalism Conference in New York. (Benson Elbert )

Lastly, I want to thank my brother Vijay Stephen who paved the road before me. Vijay, back when he was in high school, was the editor-in-chief of The Feather. Vijay always believed in me, and showed me what it meant to live a life “true to myself.” As we grew up, he taught me how to find beauty within the little things of life. Vijay is such a fundamental platform to the person I am today, and I am forever grateful for how he taught me to see beauty in everything. 

I will be attending Grand Canyon University in the fall to study Psychology. I’m not too sure Arizona is ready for me, but I’m sure they will adapt. I’m not an optimistic person by any means, but I have a feeling that the future holds something worth wild. 

Well FCS, it’s been a real one. Thank you for the fabulous memories, many tardy passes, and countless times I’ve been sent to the office to be dress coded. I was told that you guys will never receive anyone even remotely close to the extravagant person I am… I guess we’ll find out.


Sanjay Stephen 💋

“Be seen, be heard, be unapologetically you. Nobody has the power to silence your voice.” – Sanjay Stephen 

To read more senior reflections go to Senior Reflection: Kenya Hopkins or Senior Reflection: Chloe McDonald

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About the Contributors
Sanjay Stephen
Sanjay Stephen, Journalist
First year Feather journalist, Sanjay Stephen is a hard worker who expresses himself through creativity and art. He pushes himself to try new things, like running hurdles for the Track & Field team and exploring the roots of other cultures. His hobby is coordinating events for his friends and community. Stephen's passion is the area of Arts and Entertainment, where he hopes to expand The Feather coverage. 
Benson Elbert
Benson Elbert, Photojournalist
Benson Elbert, ‘26 is an aspiring first year photojournalist for The Feather. Elbert aspires to improve his writing and photography skills with help from the team. He has worked in his family's breakfast restaurant, Batter Up Pancakes,  since he was a kid. Elbert has also led the campus through the leadership class since his freshman year, hoping to continue to lead till senior year. After high school he aspires to be a computer programmer and design videogames.
Kori James
Kori James, Adviser

Adviser, educator, photographer and all around adventure lover, Kori James is always up to something.  Partnering with adviser Greg Stobbe in 2014, James helped to advance the award-winning online newspaper with a new design and digital media curriculum. James specializes in training up young professionals utilizing her experiences as a pro photographer. In her free time you can find her spending time with her family usually cooking up something amazing.

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