A Fond Farewell
June 5, 2020
A Happy Ending
To say that I did not have high expectations for how my senior year would play out would be a complete lie. Senior year was supposed to be the best year of my life to date– I would enjoy my last tennis matches, Friday sports games, dances and, of course, my last year of being in the Pilot, in which I had landed the role of Co-Editor-in-Chief. Everything was lined up to be perfect.
I joined the Portola Pilot mainly to fill my schedule and because many of my close friends had enjoyed their experience freshman year. Since that moment sophomore year, journalism has been something that has resonated with me. I never experienced a dynamic like the one in room 310, where everyone relies on each other to succeed. Even during the most stressful moments I was able to find comfort in knowing that my team would stand by me no matter what. From laser tag to class parties, I will miss laughing and chatting with every staff member.
While I lost the opportunity to experience my last moments with the class of 2020, I did not lose the Pilot; it was a way for me to have a sense of normalcy during my experience in distance learning. Although it was extremely tough, this year’s staff is composed of some of the finest writers and creators that I have ever known, and they have continued to impress me throughout these tough times. To be able to complete two issues without being able to see each other face-to-face is a true reflection of each staff member’s character and drive. I want to extend my gratitude to them for giving their time and love towards this craft.
I want to make it known that none of the successes I experienced both in and outside of journalism would be possible without my Co-Editor-in-Chief, Simrat. He has been the greatest partner, and I cannot thank him enough for editing my drafts late at night, holding down the fort when I was playing in CIF and cheering me up when finishing our issues felt impossible. I know that we will continue to be great friends despite parting ways this fall.
Thank you to my friends, family and teachers for being supportive of me throughout high school and for reading the Pilot every time I forwarded them mass emails of links to my favorite stories. Most importantly, thank you to Ms. Rapp for being the greatest adviser I could ask for. Although our class is mostly student-run, she works extremely hard behind the scenes to take us to the next level. She is one of the most dedicated mentors I have ever had, from traveling with us to workshops, competitions and conventions to putting her full attention to every word that goes into our paper. I cannot thank her enough for that.
To the 2020-21 staff: I wish you all the best of luck moving forward. It will be tough without the graduating seniors, but every one of you has the skills needed to succeed. I cannot wait to read all of the amazing content online next year and for years to come.
As an outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Portola Pilot staff member and senior, I hope that I have left my mark on Portola High and that I will be remembered by many, for I know that I will never forget how my high school years have changed me. Thank you all for such an incredible experience.
One Last Time
In many ways senior year has not played out the way I had hoped or ever envisioned for myself. After struggling and working through three years of high school, I was excited to go to more football and basketball games, spend more time with my friends and enjoy the final dances and banquets. At the same time, I was anxious realizing that this would be my last year at Portola, the last year in the Pilot.
While I was able to enjoy some aspects of my senior experience, it feels surreal to realize that myself along with the rest of Class of 2020 will never get our graduation. Leaving school for what would be the last time on March 13 didn’t seem like an ending, but more like a temporary pause while the world figured itself out. Yet, as the reality began to sink in, I found myself looking towards the Pilot and its staff as an anchor.
Throughout my entire high school experience, the Pilot has provided me with an outlet to truly express myself, and for that I will forever be thankful. I joined the Pilot on a whim two weeks into my sophomore year after I heard Annie, Julia, Farhad and Junhee talking about it non-stop in marching band. That turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as I found a passion for journalism and newspaper that has shaped my writing skills and my viewpoint on the world.
While I’m thankful for every member of the Pilot, I truly can’t imagine what my senior year would’ve been like without my Co-Editor-in-Chief, Helena Hu. She has been first and foremost a wonderful friend, and it was amazing to grow even closer to someone I’ve known for almost 10 years. Her energy, enthusiasm and passion for the Pilot has remained constant throughout the year, and I’m glad that she’s been able to become a friend I can confide in outside of the production.
The beauty of the Pilot comes with the people and the friendships that I’ve been able to form that go beyond the newspaper. The Pilot has become a second family that I will miss, and none of that would have been possible without the tutelage of Ms. Rapp. She has been an amazing adviser, pushing a production with only four years of experience to new heights every year and continuing to inspire us to work harder. I can’t imagine what my high school experience would have been without her, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities she has given me to prove myself not only as a writer, but as a leader.
To Kate, Akshay and the rest of the 2020-21 Pilot staff, I’m excited to see where you take the production next. With all the seniors leaving, you have an opportunity to carve your own legacy and place within the Pilot, and I am excited to continue to read the amazing stories you put out.
As I sign off from my final article with the Portola Pilot, I hope I have been able to fulfill and push the boundaries of what it meant to be a staff member and Editor-in-Chief within the production. The Pilot has been one of the most important things in my Portola experience, and I hope it, alongside my other endeavors, has allowed me to leave a lasting impact on the school and its culture. Thank you for everything.