When I first joined Gryphon Media Company (or, as it was called then, Gryphon Publishing Company) in sixth grade, it was against my will. Well, not really, but I did not like writing at the time and it was one of my last choices for Options that semester. However, I decided to try it out and joined the founding staff of this newspaper, the brainchild of my predecessor Jane Avery, instead of The Barefoot Times’ old frenemy The Daily Gryphon.
Throughout sixth and seventh grade, I quickly started to gain journalism skills—from interviewing (or trying to interview) Sal Lagunas, Director of Operations, who is notoriously hard to find for an interview, to writing articles (even if Ian Chang, then faculty sponsor of Gryphon Publishing Company, heavily edited what I wrote to fit journalistic standards and practices) summing up debate tournaments and security changes on campus. I also became The Barefoot Times’ digital editor and copyeditor, taking a critical look at punctuation and typos before we went to print while also spearheading Gryphon Publishing’s website efforts (which failed).
When Jane Avery sadly graduated from the eighth grade in 2015, she left The Barefoot Times in my hands. (At her graduation, she made me promise to “take care of her baby”—I hope I’ve lived up to that promise, Jane!) I was a little nervous to now be in charge of a school newspaper, but happily took over to produce more content and continue to produce a newspaper for the betterment of the school community.
Later that year, when I decided to not apply to any other high schools and continue my education at Sequoyah instead, Ian and I started scheming to figure out how the newspaper could continue at the high school and become bigger and better, while still working with the dedicated staff at the K–8. Ian, I think we successfully did that (with the help of Lola Martin, former K–8 Bureau Editor; Emily Singer, former K–8 faculty sponsor; and so many others). Gryphon Media’s current faculty sponsors—Lindsey Graham, Calina Ciobanu, and Julian Petri—have also been instrumental in helping The Barefoot Times grow, especially with approving and editing content that a previous faculty sponsor (who will go unnamed) would have continuously been months behind on. I deeply appreciate them all being thrown into supporting a newspaper with little to no experience in journalism and learning as they went. The Barefoot Times would not be where it is today without all of the faculty members and students who have worked on it over the years (yes, even you, Јâɱẹŝ).
As I missed meeting in the Out Back during Stewardship and Options when I graduated from the K–8, I’m going to miss meeting with the high school staff in Room 25 next year. Throughout my gap year, I’m going to miss having an outlet to explore relevant news (like the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest last year) and, to be honest, complain about things I don’t agree with (ahem, Sequoyah gradebooks). In college, I don’t know if I’ll join the staff of The GW Hatchet (George Washington University’s newspaper), but if I do, I know that it will never live up to any of my seven years on the staff of The Barefoot Times, even those first few months when I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there.
If there’s anything I’ve learned, though, as Editor-in-Chief these past five years, it’s what it takes to lead The Barefoot Times and make it better. I can’t be more excited to see where this newspaper will go under Andrea Bizarro (The Barefoot Times’ new Editor-in-Chief) and Remali de Silva’s (next year’s Managing Editor) leadership next year. I’m already proud of the work they’ve done as engaged staff members and editors of The Barefoot Times and know that they will continue to produce content that informs, challenges, and entertains Sequoyah and the wider community. I can’t wait to see where The Barefoot Times and the rest of Gryphon Media Company (I’m looking at you, Alex, and how you lead KAWW) goes. There’s a real opportunity to become not only a trusted news source for Sequoyah, but also for the Pasadena community as a whole. I’ll be rooting for you all from the sidelines on social media, in my email inbox, and, if The Barefoot Times ever goes analog again, in my actual mailbox. Just promise to “take care of my baby,” as Jane made me promise five years ago.