Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Chariot
Senior at Troy High School in Troy, Michigan
The cult in the classroom next door obviously had something the newspaper didn’t. A lot of things actually- dedicated members, a well-established program, a final product that interested the student body. The yearbook staffers, recognizable to laypeople by their hulking black Canons and omnipresence at school events, were so enthusiastic about their work that they annually blared embarrassingly loud music through mini-fridge-sized speakers during distribution week in May.
When I joined the school newspaper as a sophomore, “Writing for Publication: Newspaper” had only recently been re-instituted as a class after its award-winning predecessor, the Northend, had been disbanded half a decade ago. The Troy Independent was too antiquated to function properly; the broadsheet format didn’t interest readers, and the topics were tame. At first, I didn’t realize it- I was too preoccupied with making a place for myself as one of only two underclassmen on staff. But seeing issues tossed aside and ignored, I began to recognize the shortcomings.
That spring I joined the editorial board. We were informed we would be working with a new adviser, Jayna Rumble, who actually had a background in journalism. Two other editors and I decided to use the opportunity to overhaul the program. Our trio, which we called the triumvirate, spent a week redesigning and rebranding at the 2015 MIPA Summer Workshop. We christened our creation the Chariot, a riff on the prevailing ancient Greek motif- we go to Troy High, our mascot is a colt, our rival is Athens and our yearbook is the Gladiator. We wanted the paper to have a place in the community, starting with its name.
Over the course of creating a new publication, I’ve had to fill more roles than I ever thought a single person could. I ran brainstorming sessions and assigned stories. I planned layouts, sold thousands of dollars of ads and handled the finances. I taught myself to code and redesigned our website. I cleared the social media accounts and started posting high-quality photography that addressed the who, what, when, where and why of events, setting a new and higher standard for digital content.
Even as I’ve gained new skills and expanded my journalistic repertoire, writing has been the niche on which I continually find myself relying. In reporting, interviewing, editing and teaching, my affinity for language and the written word enhances my endeavors as a journalist and a student.
In 2017, I was named Michigan’s High School Journalist of the Year and was selected as a Detroit News/CATCH Outstanding High School Graduate for 2017.