Farewell Insights from the co-Editors-in-Chief

Co-Editors-in-Chief, seniors Diana Gomez, Sarai Wagner and Stephanie Xiloj. Photo courtesy of Linda Filo.

Dear Readers,

We wanted to share a reflection of our experience in Journalism and at Eastside these past few years. We hope you enjoy our conversation.

Your co-Editors-in-Chief,

Diana, Sarai and Stephanie


Why did you join Journalism?

 Sarai: I went into Journalism my freshman year knowing that I wanted to investigate, report, and write about topics related to the arts. Music, film, and visual arts have captivated my interest from an early age and I knew I wanted to pursue those topics when I write. Not only has being a part of Journalism made that a reality for me, but it has also opened me up to new perspectives that come with that kind of writing.

Stephanie: I knew I wanted to improve my writing and interpersonal skills. I thought there was no better class to take than one that would push me to step out of my comfort zone and talk to strangers.

Diana: I was always a shy person growing up. I never got out of my comfort zone for anything. I would rarely even raise my hand in classes. My freshman year, I still got those comments on narratives and parent conferences telling me that I should participate more. So when some Journalism students came into my C&A class sophomore year, I decided to sign up.


Why did you enjoy Journalism?

Sarai: I’ve had the opportunity to write about my passion, but I’ve also been able to look at the arts from a localized perspective. From writing about music shows at school to covering drama productions, I have been able to connect with the Eastside community through writing about the art right here on campus. If I wasn’t a part of Journalism, my life would be drastically different – and one way it would be is that I would not have been able to connect with some of the creative people on campus.


How has journalism helped you and others connect to our communities?

Stephanie: As a school newspaper, our content mainly revolves around the Eastside community, however, we do include some global content. Take our In-Depth on the war in Ukraine and Russia for example. Being able to write about global and political issues reflects on the importance of free press. All our reporters are thankful that our rights as journalists are protected and that we have a medium where everyone has a voice. Journalism pushes us, as reporters, to engage with others and get to know people’s perspectives and values. Additionally, listening to what our students want to see in the newspaper and what they think about our content engages them with all communities.


What opportunities did you take advantage of?

Diana: Because of journalism, I got to travel across the country twice, to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. My first convention served as my introduction to the world of journalism. I met many people who seemed different but really, we all had a common interest. I loved exploring the two cities and seeing them through the eyes of both a writer and a photographer. Seeing new parts of the country planted a small travel bug within me and I hope to someday travel around the world and not be afraid to go up to those I don’t know because of my time in Journalism.


What has journalism taught you?

Sarai: It taught me the importance of the arts in schools. Art has often brought our campus together – we talk about the dances, we look forward to semi-annual plays, we see the art in the cafeteria every single day waiting in line for lunch. Our campus would not be the same without it. I have been honored to look in depth at the creativity of Eastside students over the past four years.


How have you grown?

Diana: Journalism gave me the chance to not only learn about my community, but more about myself. I’ve been able to grow within the small Journalism community through increased responsibilities. All the work I’ve done also helped me grow through a social aspect. Instead of keeping to myself, I felt more able to go up to people I don’t know and hear what they have to say. I’ve become a more open-minded and outgoing person than I was when I first came to Eastside seven years ago.


What does Eastside mean to you?

Stephanie: Eastside is my second home, literally. I’ve lived on campus since Summer Bridge and have created relationships with so many people here. The staff members have all been role models for me, they’re people that helped me grow into the person I am today. I’m so grateful to Eastside for its opportunities, for its rigorous curriculum and for its support. I loved our close-knit community so much that I will be attending a small liberal arts college.


Final remarks?

Diana: At the end of the day, Eastside was a place where I got to be myself, and learn who that was. Journalism was definitely where I could explore my community and learn what I enjoyed and I’m forever thankful that I made the decision to join my sophomore year. I got to meet so many incredible people and see beautiful cities on Journalism trips.

Stephanie: To the underclassmen, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of all opportunities and to never forget about advocating for yourself. Lastly, thank you to everyone who made these past years memorable. I will remember all the wonderful memories I made in the Journalism room, in the dorms, and everywhere else.

Sarai: As I say goodbye to The Panther and I say goodbye to my position as the editor of the Entertainment page, I urge everyone to continue supporting the arts on campus and connecting with each other through them – it truly does make our campus a more vibrant place. I’m excited to connect with more creatives when I go to college and (hopefully) write for another student publication about art.

Until next time, Panthers!