I sincerely regret to inform you that this is the end. The final, the last, the ultimate piece I will write for the Shawnee Mission East Harbinger. We’ve been through a plethora of issues together––almost 48 in the last three years––and it has finally come time to sign off. You’ve been there every step of the way, and for that I would like to do my very best to formally thank you before heading off to take on the rest of my life.
You see, reader, you’ve been there from the beginning. When I was wandering around the dusty unfinished halls of a remodeled Shawnee Mission East speaking to sweaty and jovial construction workers, you were right there beside me. When chills ran down my spine upon an initial listen to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” you were the first one I was able to vividly describe it to. You even listened intently as I struggled to find the words to piece together a profile on the incredible braveness and determination of the beloved Elizabeth McGranahan. And with every story, column, or review, you watched me grow as a writer, as a student, and as a person.
Writing for you every other week didn’t come naturally: it was a process. Initially, I distanced myself from harder stories. My diction and flow were all over the place, and I was an amateur in every sense of the word. Rather than the conciseness of describing something in a word or two, I’d go for ten. Instead of getting to the heart of a story, I would attempt to include every detail I had, never being selective about what was worthy of the article and what wasn’t. Still, you beared with me through every story. These things would work themselves out in time as I began to realize why some of my favorite writers were great––and I wasn’t. An incredible article doesn’t happen, it’s meticulously crafted until every single piece perfectly serves to tell the story at hand. Through you, reader, I learned this. Your quick compliments in passing, your suggestions for new stories, and even your criticism taught me to write the articles you wanted to hear in a way that you could appreciate.
It’s important to know that none of this would have been possible without the people I am surrounded with in class and on this staff every single day. No story is the product of a writer alone. The Harbinger, like any other established organization at our school, is a team. Without these dedicated peers and friends, I don’t know that I could confidently say before you that I am better than when I first stepped into this role. I owe so much to these people, and am fortunate to have had every one of them on my side, story after story.
Finally reader, I would like you to know that by simply taking the time to even read my words printed on this page, you have done me more of a service than I could have ever done for you. Being part of the Harbinger and consistently writing for the last three years have shown me that this is something I’d like to make a career out of. Turning words into ideas, and making meaning out of mere sentences is something I never would’ve thought could be so captivating. It has been an honor to have had this opportunity, and of all the things I’ve done in high school, I’m positive this has been the most beneficial.
So thank you, reader. Thank you for allowing me to share these stories and ideas with you for a few years. Through you, I have found where I want to go in life, and the means by which to get there.
Class of 2011