“It’s always great to be a Lancer.” I’ve heard that phrase more times than I can even remember. I heard it freshman year from Dr. Krawitz. I heard it every Saturday morning closing out the recorded message left on the answering machine with the weekly announcements. I’ve heard a lot of similar phrases while at East. “Lancer Magic.” “Look out for each other.” “The Lancer Family.”
At this point, you might be assuming I am going to put down another five hundred heartfelt words about how much I love my “Lancer Family” and describe how there is no other school like Shawnee Mission East. I’m not. The truth is I did not find this all-encompassing family in the East student body. Those who are unaware of the other ninety percent of the student body have coined this phrase. The Lancer Family seems to ignore the clique-based social environment and discrimination that has become commonplace.
After two years at East, I was well aware of this illusion of family and felt as though my time in high school was lacking. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I really discovered the Harbinger and applied for the position of Webmaster. This newspaper turned my time at East around. I had never been interested in journalism, and I still do not consider myself a journalist. In fact, this is the only time my words have been printed in this publication. Instead, I’ve spent the last two years as the Webmaster.
People always ask me, “What do you do on the Harbinger?” Usually, my response is a smile, a pat on the back, and a simple, “Don’t worry about it.” I found that that was much easier than trying to explain web design or how computer languages work on our website to someone who’s never even heard the word CSS.
But even repeating my job description or describing how I fix problems on the website is not the whole truth. In order to definitively answer this question, I had to step back and look at my time on the Harbinger these past two years.
First, I did the mundane Webmaster duties. I’ve broadcasted sporting events, attempted to commentate a lacrosse game, tried my hand at photographing school events, and became quite skilled at using the Adobe Suite to produce memes. And sure, I’ve carried out the other responsibilities each staff member holds in order to make this publication a success.
While these skills will be valuable for any future endeavors, the real value I see from my time on the Harbinger is the people I have become so close to. Every day I walked into class with the biggest grin on my face because I knew that for the next hour I would be surrounded with people that genuinely made me happy. This paper is nothing without the incredible people that keep it pulsing, and I wouldn’t trade the world for these past two years. For those of you still needing me to spell it out, what I did on the Harbinger was find a family.
So to all those who’ve been asked this same question and to those who are asking themselves, “What am I doing here?”, step back, reflect. If you can sum up your experience with whatever you are involved in and are happy with it, keep on doing it. If you can’t, and I’m certain there are many who cannot, do not sit idly by. Go out and join a club or student council, a sports team or maybe a bagpipe band. Do not change just because you haven’t found your family. Follow your passions and stay true to your convictions. Keep looking for your Harbinger.