It was not quite four years ago that my first school report appeared in the pages of The Wanderer on June 25, 2009. My term as the school news correspondent began in the summer before my sophomore year at Old Rochester Regional High School. Now, though, as I prepare to graduate on June 9, it is fitting that I conclude my column and relinquish it to the underclassman that will undoubtedly continue the tradition of bringing school news to the Tri-Town populace with accuracy and alacrity.
Writing the school report has been the most challenging, enjoyable and worthwhile experience of my high school career. Each year was different from the others, both in focus and in stumbling blocks. During my first two years of writing the school report, I had to combat slow news weeks and plan ahead for the school vacations. This past year has been the exact opposite. I have had to choose between several stories for a given week. Balancing the two extremes has been a thrilling puzzle to solve.
Faithful followers of my school reports may have noticed that the first year was characterized by efforts to familiarize students and parents with the traditions of ORR. One of my goals was to give incoming freshmen an idea of what life at ORR is like; to that end, I often interviewed teachers and focused on different extra-curricular activities. I admit that the school reports also exhibited a trend of senior idolatry.
The second year of school reports was more organized than the first, as I could use my experience to plan ahead for certain school events and operate within a roomy schedule. I reduced the number of interviews with teachers as more of the student body learned about my job and offered me news tips. Since I was a junior during this second year, the school reports were increasingly college-oriented as I strove to inform my fellow students about the guidance and main office announcements that would help them achieve their post-secondary goals.
My third year, of course, was my senior year. Naturally, the focus of my articles became very defined: I had hoped to remind my classmates about our senior obligations and to inform Tri-Town citizens about the achievements that our class has made.
The school report is a column that grows with the writer; I hope it continues to grow as my successor takes up the mantle.
I am grateful to many people whose input was critical to the success of this column. Of course, I must thank my co-workers at The Wanderer for welcoming me, as well as the editorial staff for turning me into a legitimate reporter. I am indebted to Kate Ribeiro, who kindly agreed to the interview that became the writing sample for my application. The school report would not have been of any quality without the assistance of the students, teachers, and faculty members who either agreed to interviews or offered me news tips. I must especially thank Principal Michael Devoll, whose responses to my frequent emails were always timely and informative, even regarding the smallest and most insignificant matter. I am grateful to both my mother and my sister, who offered me advice when I was second-guessing myself.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has read my school reports, especially those who have read them religiously. I know that I have done my job well when I am told by readers that they look for my school report each week to find out what has most recently happened at ORR. hese comments are the highest form of praise, and I appreciate the sentiment. I am glad that I have served as a reliable Tri-Town resource.
I might be passing the torch for the school report, but I am not leaving The Wanderer. I am now a staff reporter and have begun some of those duties (you might have noticed my meeting coverage this past month.) In the fall, I will be attending Bridgewater State University in order to study English, Secondary Education, and Philosophy. My intent is to obtain licensure as a high school English teacher, although I suspect I will always freelance.
By Anne Smith