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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

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Letter to the Editor
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Anaheim: The beginning and the end

There’s something about an airplane flight at night that makes you feel so alone, no matter how many passengers are on board. And there’s something about that loneliness that compels you to reflect on yourself. It’s one of those times when you have a few hours to think, just think — times that are so rare in our fast-paced lives.

I had such an opportunity during my flight to Chicago, after some Feather staffers and I attended a journalism convention in Anaheim.

Before I arrived at the convention, I knew this would be my last time traveling with The Feather. But I didn’t realize what this meant until I was 32,000 feet above Nevada.

Now, with the Anaheim convention completed, I can say that my career as a high school journalist has come to an end. I have always viewed the JEA/NSPA convention as the conclusion of The Feather‘s “season,” and so this fourth and final event marks the conclusion of my four-year commitment to the newspaper. But this was not quite the end I had imagined.

As a freshman, I attended the 2008 JEA/NSPA conference, also in Anaheim, with the rest of the editors and staff. We spent those nostalgia-inducing days running around Disneyland, attending informative and sometimes not-so-informative sessions, and eating amazing meals together. Most memorably, of course, we won our second Online Pacemaker.

Although I was a staff writer at the time, I held high aspirations for when I would be a senior and, I hoped, editor-in-chief of The Feather. I attended seminars focused on editing and leadership, taking advantage of the great opportunity to prepare myself for the future I had imagined. That first Anaheim convention catalyzed my planning for a successful senior year on The Feather.

Fast forward three years and there I am again. I’m editor-in-chief. I’m running around Disneyland with the staff. I’m attending sessions. I’m eating amazing meals with the group. But there is one fairly significant difference.

The Feather is not an Online Pacemaker winner, nor even a finalist.

This last part was perhaps the most important aspect of the future I envisioned. As a freshman, I remember vividly the moment in the Marquis Ballroom of the Anaheim Marriot when The Feather‘s front page flashed on the screen and webmaster Andrew Rurik, editor-in-chief Mary Kneefel and senior editor Jennifer Sherfield got up to accept The Feather‘s second Online Pacemaker. I wanted more than anything to be able to relive this moment during my senior year, to accept what would have been the newspaper’s fourth Pacemaker.

As is often the case, not everything went according to plan — the plan I had crafted as a freshman. There was no climactic flash on the ballroom’s screen, there were no pictures with plaques. The second Anaheim convention was not entirely like the first.

But the two events did share an important quality: a focus on the future. Just as I had done as a freshman, I’m sure several staffers in our group this year were imagining bright futures. I’m sure they were picturing themselves in the ballroom, in that moment when all sound fades away and time slows to a crawl. That moment that comes only rarely and only for a few, the memory of which far outlasts the plaque which commemorates it.

I wonder if the future I envisioned as a freshman might yet be the future of someone else. Perhaps someone in The Feather‘s delegation this year will have a triumphant senior experience that mirrors the one of my freshman imagination. And maybe that someone will reflect on such an experience during an airplane flight at night.

It’s an interesting coincidence that my convention-going career started and ended in the same place. One might think that the first Anaheim convention was a victory, while the second was a failure. However, I view both events as equally memorable and exciting, but for different reasons: 2008 for motivating me to pursue a successful and meaningful career in scholastic journalism, and 2011 for concluding an amazing and enriching experience.

My flight has ended and I’m in Chicago now. Anaheim, with all its memories and regrets, pasts and imagined futures, is miles behind me. It’s time to get off. It’s time to find out what really lies ahead.

For more reflections, read the March 14 column, Letter from the editor: It’s been a privilege.

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  • K

    Karin HierholzerSep 7, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I think it’s important that our students learn to obey the authorities God has set over them. Thank you for your leadership!