Senior Staff Says Goodbye

The seniors on the LHS newspaper staff says their final farewell.

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Photo Courtesy of Paige Twenter

Paige Twenter – Loyola University

Everything will work out, even if you can’t see it yet.

April 7. 300+ people. 15 minutes. The topic is faith. Have something good to say. This was the extent of the directions for the sermon I gave last month in front of my entire church. I approached this how I approach most things – worried and hesitant on the inside, calm and confident on the outside. One week before the rough draft was due, I wrote down everything I wanted to say and recorded it. It. Was. Terrible. The sermon went through a lot of revisions, and I texted (hounded) my youth group leader almost every day with questions and random thoughts, but eventually, it all came together. On April 7, I stood confidently, inside and out, in front of my church congregation. It was one of the best experiences of my life because of how much time and energy (and maybe some tears) I put into it. This is how the newspaper works, as well. At times, it can seem like a huge mess with schedule problems, and tight deadlines and finding time to have some fun. In the end, though, everybody works diligently to put it all together, and I’m always proud of the final product because it’s a collection of everyone’s hard work, continuous growth and commitment to the team. These past four years on staff have been an amazing experience, and I’m so lucky to have been a part of it. It’s taught me how to be more flexible, how to truly write, how to work with others, and above all, it’s given me a home within school. Cheesy, right? When I entered the newspaper room the first day of freshman year, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought to myself, ‘this will be easy. I’ll just write a story once a month and keep to myself.’ What first started out as a random class I was taking turned into a passion (and slight obsession), not only because of the work we were doing as a staff, but also because of the great friends I made along the way. Newspaper staff – it has been such a wonderful ride with you. Although I’m sad to be leaving, I know you all are going to do great things.

 

Photo Courtesy of Joey O’Kelly

Joey O’Kelly – University of Iowa

My jar of hate is empty, Is yours?

What’s poppin’, Class of 2019? Congrats on making it to the finish line. I don’t think any of us loved every minute of it, but there were plenty of positive memories. Like freshman year, when we spammed the Liberty Public Schools’ Twitter account to convince them to cancel school so we could all go to the Royals’ World Series parade. Or junior year, when I ran into a glass wall in the mirror maze at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, just to impress a girl. Or senior year, when we racked up a total of nine snow days. All of these events have a common theme: love. Love for our team, love for the people around us and love for not having to make up snow days. Honestly, though, I haven’t always had this sentiment of love. When I was eight years old, there was one thing I wanted more than anything in the world: Super Mario Bros for my Nintendo DS. I was a dishwasher in the O’Kelly family kitchen. I worked hard and did dishes as I could, but there was an issue. I had a problem with the word “hate.” My parents caught on. I’m lucky to have the most loving parents in the world, but they weren’t too happy with me saying “hate” so much. So, like the British to the American Colonies in the 1700s, my parents imposed a tax on me. For every time I said the word “hate,” I had to throw 50 cents into a jar. As annoying and frustrating as it was, it taught me something. It took me 30 minutes to do dishes, but 20 of those were just me complaining about doing dishes. Once I couldn’t complain anymore, it took me 10 minutes. Once I stopped hating, things got a lot easier. It’s a sentiment I carried with me to high school. In high school, I was a part of groups like Diversity Council, our student newspaper, The Bell and PhotoJay, all of which gave me the opportunity to spread this loving sentiment around. I encountered so many different people, and I feel as though I learned something from each of them. I gained a new perspective about the many different lifestyles that exist in Liberty, and the diversity that surrounds us, even if we don’t always realize it. No matter what you do after high school, I encourage you to take this loving sentiment with you. Thank you, Liberty High School, for the past four years of love. I hope the next years are filled with all the love in the world, and that your jar of hate is empty.

 

Photo Courtesy of Chrystian Noble

Chrystian Noble – Culinary Institute of America

Learn to work to live instead of living to work.

When I entered high school as a freshman, my ultimate goals were to survive and graduate. I had no intention of being in any leadership roles. Little did I know that my comfortable seat on the sideline was going to be taken away from me. Before I knew it, I became the Photo Managing Editor for newspaper, the Social Chairman of the Symphonic Orchestra and an honorary Digital Media Manager, none of which were planned. There is nothing wrong with breezing through the years and keeping to yourself, but it is certainly a lost opportunity. Unfortunately, I did not fully understand that until senior year, the final year. Since sophomore year, I have been juggling two jobs. I worked six days a week and spent the weekends with an eight hour shift directly followed by a ten hour shift. I left no time for myself. I ended up spending three years living to work when I should have been working to live. Regardless of the chaos that has been these past four years, I would not change the way I went about them, omitting the obvious things like maybe I should have studied more and worked less. Newspaper has taught me so much about time management and what it means to be a part of something bigger than yourself. For that, I am infinitely grateful to the people that have come and gone along the way. In the end, I have learned that there is really no reason to sit idly on the sidelines, unless it is raised on your heels staring through a camera lens waiting for the next perfect shot of the football field. In the past year, I have sent off dozens of college applications, written many scholarship essays and have now successfully enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, Texas. Rather than working all of the time, I have spent more time with my family and focusing on getting a degree in hospitality management. So if all else fails, I may as well grab life with both hands and go for it. What is there to lose other than time?

 

Photo Courtesy of Delaney Tarpley

Delaney Tarpley – University of Missouri Columbia

What do you want to be?

“What do you want to be?” This is the question everyone asks as soon as you learn how to talk. In preschool, my answer was princess, which concerned my parents. In kindergarten, it was doctor, which comforted my parents. In second grade, my answer was teacher, officially solidifying my position as teacher’s pet that year. In middle school, my answer was actress, but then I realized I didn’t want to be hearing “no” in casting offices my entire life. It was my dad who first suggested I go into journalism in eighth grade. The next day, the high school newspaper staff came to visit us in middle school to try to get us to apply. I figured, “Why not?” and turned in my application the next day. I had no idea what would come from this. Newspaper was where I found my place at LHS and discovered my final answer to the question I had been asked all my life. I found people who enjoyed learning and having conversations, people who were storytellers, people who loved writing and the power of words – people who were like me. More than that, I found memories, my future career and lifelong friends. I am thrilled to say I will be majoring in journalism at the oldest (and best) journalism school in the world: the University of Missouri. As much as I love newspaper and print journalism, I am currently planning on going into Broadcast Journalism to satisfy that little girl who said she wanted to be on TV one day. More than a journalist, though, what else do I want to be? Who do I want to be? After all, is the question ever fully answered? Well, I want to be kind, thoughtful, giving, aware of my responsibilities as a journalist, unafraid to take chances or be vulnerable, but most of all, someone who makes other people feel good. To all of my best friends in room 512, and all of the students and staff I’ve come into contact with at LHS, I hope I have been that person for you over the years, and I hope it is the person I continue to be. That’s what I want to be.

 

Photo Courtesy of Grace Buehler

Grace Buehler – University of Missouri Columbia

Take Me Home, Country Roads.

It’s hard to believe it was three years ago that I first walked into room 512. Most of the time, walking into a classroom with a cheer uniform, I got the “oh dear” look, like I was the typical high school cheerleader. Room 512 was a different story. Newspaper was the first time that I walked into a class and didn’t feel automatically judged. This was the beginning of an unexpected journey full of laughter, occasional tears, games of Mafia, class parties, Secret Santas, unforgettable memories and forever friends. This year has been filled with a lot of lasts, most of them exciting, like the last first day, last school dances, last home football game and the last day of high school. This is an exciting time, don’t get me wrong, but there are some things I don’t want to end. High school is full of changes, some of which are easy and some of which are difficult. In my high school career, there was one thing that never changed: my newspaper family. Yes, people have graduated and moved on with their lives, but it is the memories shared with the people in Room 512 that will always be close to my heart. Memories like G’BOprah on Fridays, reading the Wall of Shame quotes, the endless inside jokes and my personal favorite, blaring “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as everyone sings along. As my days as an LHS student come to an end, there are many changes I am ready for, but not walking into Newspaper every day is not one of them. As I write my last column sharing my final goodbye with The Bell, I would like to thank a few special induvials who have helped me get to where I am today. For starters, my mom (who most of you know as Julie), has taught me to follow my passions, love fiercely, have courage, be kind and to laugh as much as possible. To Lori Oyler, for welcoming me with open arms and showing me so much generosity and kindness over the past three years. Last, but certainly not least, to my newspaper family, past and present, for making me feel like I belonged and wasn’t the classic high school cheerleader. Room 512 has been one crazy roller coaster ride, and as it comes to an end, I look back and think how lucky I am to be a part of something so special. It has been more than I ever could have imagined.

 

Photo Courtesy of Haley Stephenson

Haley Stephenson – Maple Woods Community College

I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Column.

Throughout my four years being on The Bell staff, I’ve always loved the senior’s columns the best. Reading about my classmate’s innermost thoughts and feelings have always made me feel closer to them. Now that it is my time to write a column, however, I realize that I have very little to say. What would sum up my high school experience? Is there a lesson or story that stands out? Not particularly. My past few years of high school have been completely and utterly average. I had a few wardrobe malfunctions, made more than a few mistakes and only sometimes learned from them. I went to school dances and football games, lost some friends but ended up with people that are absolutely meant to be in my life. I failed algebra twice, lost a $100 textbook and got my first job. The general truth that seniors learn is that high school is grossly overhyped. Despite my excessive amount of Saturday detentions, I’ve never once made four friends who helped me see the value of accepting each other’s differences. Even though I skipped approximately once a week this year, I never planned the perfect skip day whilst crashing my best friend’s dad’s Ferrari. My sixteenth birthday was spent at home, not getting kissed by Jake Ryan. Basically, John Hughes is a lie. I’ve also realized that he’s racist and sexist, but I digress. The predisposed expectations that were instilled in us from the time we were kids made us believe that average is synonymous with boring. I don’t think my life is boring, I just think that, for better or for worse, nothing truly crazy has happened to me yet. Maybe in the future, I’ll get struck by lightning and survive or marry Michael B Jordan, or do something that is worthy of a column. For now, I am fine with blending in with the other 444 graduating seniors as I walk across the stage. A massive thank you to my mom and dad, Anthony, Rachel, my siblings, Maggie Quinn, Danny Johnston and many others for bringing exception into my normal life. I am also forever grateful for the amazing Trilaina McCallum, David McDorman, Jordan Moree, Zach Werner, Amanda Derryberry and Lori Oyler for making graduation possible for me.

 

Photo Courtesy of Victoria McCoy

Victoria McCoy – Maple Woods Community College

Between hospital visits, a busy schedule and other obstacles, what can go wrong?

Throughout high school, I’ve been told senior year would be my easiest year. Whether it was my mom, my older friends or other adults, the message is the same. I’m guessing many of them did not consider how student life is now. Since I plan on majoring in English, this involved taking AP Literature and Composition and Newspaper my senior year. I felt like that was the right choice for me, but I also wanted to take College Algebra so I had some math. This wasn’t the best decision. I decided to do costumes for theatre as well. I was always planning and trying to decide which event should take precedence over the others. Later on, I went to the ER for doing a pushup in PE. Then the dreaded mile came along. I was running the mile and I knew I was going to pass out. I felt the same as I did after the pushup; I couldn’t breathe at all, and I had a sharp chest pain. So I went to the ER again. They told me it was nothing life threatening and I went to a cardiologist. We found out I had asthma and the pushups triggered my asthma. This doesn’t even take into account my sudden feelings for girls or the drama that came with my breakup. I am someone who constantly thinks about work when I put it off and I hate it, but I’ve had no other choice this year. However, I had a couple of teachers that helped me get through the rough spots. I decided early on that I would TA for my freshman English teacher, Briday Ware. Anytime that I was having a hard time I knew that I could go to her for moral support. I also looked to my AP Literature teachers for motivation. Heather Moder helped me with positivity and I grew a bond with Morgan Forbac since she was easy to talk to. After everything that happened this year, I am looking forward to continuing on in my life. When I went through some rough patches, I knew I had friends and teachers who would be there for me. I feel like I am ready to step out on my own, in a new house with my best friend, and brave the world ahead of me.

 

Photo Courtesy of Danny Johnston

Danny Johnston – Columbia College of Art

My Journalism Journey.

For a major part of my life I had issues answering the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Thanks to some of the great people I’ve met in my past, I can now say with full confidence that I will pursue a career in the field of journalism. My life could have gone in a very different direction than journalism given the fact that during the start of my freshman year of Beginning Broadcasting, I tried to drop the class. In the first few weeks of the semester, we were stuck in the classroom learning about amendments, and I was not a fan to say the least. I assumed the rest of the school year would be the same, I even had Broadcasting teacher Amanda Derryberry sign the release form. Thanks to my procrastination, I turned my form in late and my drop request got denied. That was one of the best slip-ups I’ve ever made, because now I get to do what I love every day. I went from trying to drop beginning broadcasting to becoming a journalism intern for the LPS Director of Communications, Dallas Ackerman, alongside two of my close friends in KLHS, Emma Cronin and Jackson Ogden. It was Derryberry that really solidified my choice to pursue a future in broadcasting journalism, she was my only real life example of someone who was truly in love with journalism and she proved that broadcasting is not just black and white, teaching me the creative elements that go into the craft. My love for journalism will only get stronger as I continue to further my craft at the school of arts at Columbia University in Chicago, Illinois. The reason I love journalism so much is because it has the potential to saves lives. Journalism gives a voice to the voiceless. There is no doubt that in today’s society there are millions of people whose struggles are going unnoticed due to the fact that we live in a world that turns a blind eye to those who don’t meet certain social standards, whether because of gender, race, or religion. I hope that one day, my voice will be used to tell the story of someone who’s struggling in silence.

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