HomeCampusA Sandpiper retrospective

A Sandpiper retrospective

By ATHENA FOSLER-BRAZIL, ELLAH FOSTER and KYLIE YEATMAN, co-editors-in-chief

Published May 27, 2020

Between the three of us, we boast a total of 11 collective years of working for the Sandpiper. We’ve spent countless afternoons in Room 23 reporting, writing, editing, re-editing, designing and redesigning the student newspaper, doing all of the unseen work to make the paper come out every month. The class has taken us out of our comfort zones, forced us to push ourselves as writers and editors, and created lasting memories that have colored much of our high school experience. 

It’s a bittersweet goodbye, this one. In our final (online) issue, we wanted to take our chance to reflect on our years on the Sandpiper…because we’re writers and we’re nostalgic and this is what we do.

Athena

The Sandpiper, and everything it entails, has been one of the most meaningful parts of my high school career. I’ve appreciated every aspect of what Newspaper has done for me, and I have a million reasons why any prospective student should sign up for the class. But here I am, at the almost-end, and what comes back to me in most vivid detail are not the articles, not the interviews or copy editing. I am struck instead by the laughing and tears and arguing and problem-solving. The teamwork and the years of memories.

Memories like when, my first week as co-editor junior year, former editor-in-chief Becca Goren came back to help us, and I was so relieved to see her that I legitimately started to cry. Or like when former staff writer Peter Ellison began scraping gum off the bottom of his desk in the middle of a budget meeting. Or when current senior Miles Prekoski spent all of sophomore year introducing me to good rap music and for a while I listened exclusively to Kid Cudi and Brockhampton. Or like how, on sunny days, some of us would go sit on the grass outside of Room 23, even if we had articles we should have been writing. 

I reminisce fondly on late afternoons spent working on layout with Kylie, Ellah and Mr. Palshaw–work nights that were often tense with stress, but always filled with laughter. I’m reminded of things like Mr. Palshaw’s Starbucks runs, and how if we said we were hungry he would offer us food out of his own lunch. I recall the not-so-long-ago debates over democratic primary candidates, and the heated arguments that escalated to cacophonous levels every time. 

These are the things I will take away from my time with the Sandpiper. To say I’ve loved everything would be a lie. But I’ve loved most of it, and I’ve taken value out of it all. Thank you, Newspaper and my Newspaper family, for the little things, like Carlos’ free pens and weird letters to the editor and aggravating budget meetings and endless family-sized packs of Oreos. 

I will miss it all. 

Kylie

I truly believe that everyone should experience the joy of seeing their name in print at least once, largely because I’ll never forget the first time I saw mine. Being 14 and liking the idea of writing for more than just my English teacher drove me to take the Newspaper class at Carmel High, and though I’d heard vague words about it from my siblings before, I had no idea what I’d be getting int or how much it’d change me for the better.

The mix of freshman and seniors, juniors and sophomores, anyone from any corner of the high school is the first thing you notice about the Sandpiper staff. At one point, our class consisted of a mismatched set of only 10 people and earned apt “Breakfast Club” comparisons. After all, writing is a universal language, and you never know who you’ll meet through a shared love of it, and I’m so grateful for who I did meet because of it. 

I think back on the days spent doing nothing, and the days spent trying to do everything right before the deadline; the days when Mr. Palshaw gave us a spontaneous tour of the school with personal anecdotes, when we’d argue over that day’s political discourse, or when we’d laugh over pangolins, sporadic doodles on the whiteboard or the insane length of a 24-person budget meeting. Room 23 will forever be a continuum of cherished memories.

As I look back on the more than 50 stories I’ve written for the Sandpiper, I can see how I’ve evolved as a writer, largely thanks to the guidance of Mr. Palshaw and my classmates. I can see how I’ve matured, how the power of good journalism has impacted my life, how I have the ability to impact others with my writing; I never expected to learn so much about myself from a single high school course, but the newspaper has evolved into so much more than that. 

I also learned that Adobe inDesign is a truly unmanageable program, especially when running on an old MacBook, and that staying at school until 8 p.m. with Ellah, Athena and Mr. Palshaw to put words on a page is one of life’s most simultaneously draining and rewarding experiences. I will never look at a newspaper the same way again.

I’m nervous to leave behind the Sandpiper as I move onto college next year, but I know it lies in good hands. I hope that in coming years there will still be snacks on block days and teachers walking in to ask “What class is this?” and copy editors removing Oxford commas and, most of all, I hope that our little class will continue its legacy into the future. 

Ellah

I spent my life before high school mesmerized by literature and spent my free time writing short stories, reciting poems and memorizing speeches. My family urged me to join Newspaper and, at the time, I didn’t really understand why. Now I know how lost I would’ve been without it.

I remember the first day of school, walking into Room 23 and being the only freshman. Everyone else looked so comfortable and secure with themselves. I sat in the very first desk I saw and didn’t talk much those first few months. Budget meetings were intimidating, but not as nerve-wracking as the one-on-one first draft meetings with Mr. Palshaw. But as time went on, his classroom turned into a comforting place I went to study, eat lunch or just have a good conversation.

I joined the class as a self-conscious 14-year-old who didn’t know my place on campus, let alone the world. Soon enough, I found myself writing stories and interviewing sources I’d never expected. Sometimes it was scary or awkward, but it all accumulated into one big lesson on how to navigate the professional world. In four years, Newspaper has guided me to discover my future career, confidence and skills as a writer. 

Though I’ve played on countless teams and worked with various groups, I’ve yet to find a community as strong as the staff at the Carmel Sandpiper. Every year, the spare returnees welcome in new students, but no matter the crowd we end up growing closer. There is just something inexplicable about the dynamic.

Echoing my fellow editors’ remarks, the articles are not the only thing I will take from writing for the Sandpiper. I’ll remember staying after class for the chaotic partitioning of the freshly printed papers and waiting on edge for Mr. Palshaw’s final critique of my work. It’ll be the running jokes and doodles on the whiteboard. 

I’m so thankful for the introduction I received into journalism. I find myself daydreaming about this class and what our last day may have looked liked had it gone as planned. Kylie, Athena and I talked about just how emotional and strange that day was going to be.

It’s overwhelmingly sad that we won’t gather as students in Room 23 again, but that doesn’t minimize my gratitude for the past four years. Soon, we’ll be moving into different stages of our lives. We’ll be in new offices and campuses, surrounded by new faces. But no matter the connections we make elsewhere, I’ll never forget the first class where I was treated as an adult and the last job where I was treated as a kid.

No comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.