A Faculty Advisor Looks Back… and Forward

A Faculty Advisor Looks Back... and Forward

Rachel Decker, Faculty Advisor

A few months ago, after Issue 8 or 9 dropped, one of my colleagues said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “This paper is great.  People go the “Hey You”s first, then flip through the articles; they’re hooked.  This is a really good thing here.”

This moment, along with so many others this year, have been some of my proudest as a teacher.  Watching a group of 20+ dedicated, motivated, autonomous and creative students dream up and execute 14 impressive issues of well-written, insightful, professional content is more than I could have imagined so long ago in September. 

So long ago in September, I made a plan with Mr. Hillman to produce just a few issues as a test run.  I hoped that the newspaper would be successful and well received; I hoped that I could put together a small staff; I hoped to bring the paper back to print.  I could not have imagined that we would have a staff of 20, that we would produce such a high volume of content, that we would create such a high quality of product, such an impressive one.

Throughout such a magnanimous effort, there have been so many who have been instrumental and supportive along the way.  Although I have tried to keep the Wildcat Tribune for the students, I thought this last issue might be my chance to express my gratitude.  

I have several people to thank, and not nearly have enough space to do it justice, but here’s my shot at it:

The Academic Boosters: I am so incredibly grateful for your pledged support to fund our efforts, and cannot imagine where we would be without it, both this year and in the years to come. 

Susan Grant: All year you have printed our issues in crazy colors, dealt with last minute decisions and e-mails and always came through for us.  And always perfectly on deadline!  

Principal Hillman: When I first began to bug you about my crazy ideas, you listened with an open ear and an open mind, truly allowing this to flourish.  Your confidence and encouragement were our catalyst.  Thank you for your constant willingness to listen to my latest requests, my annoying questions and even more annoying drop-ins to ask for yet again something else.

Ms. Pike & Mrs. Grijalva: You gave my newspaper students a home twice a week when I couldn’t.  Thank you so much for scheduling the conference room for an entire year, for helping guide lost newsbies, never once complaining about it and most of all, encouraging and supporting their efforts.  

Faculty, especially my kind English department, Mrs. Coulson, Ms. Sakkis, Mr. Silverman and Mrs. Amini: Thanks for posting issues, sending in “Wall of Shame”s, enduring perpetual Access passes and for all of your kind e-mails and conversations.  

Mr. Ingram: Thank you for your continued support of hardworking student journalists and the big shoes you created for me to fill.  Your passionate e-mails to SNO to restore our site saved us! You are forever an honorary Tribune advisor.  

And finally, of course, the wonderful Tribunestaff: Every week, your initiative, dedication, self-sufficiency and talent blow me away.  You truly run and execute this newspaper, and there is no greater satisfaction as a teacher than watching students express their voice in powerful and respected mediums they have designed and built.  

Writers, I loved reading your stories all year, from everything to investigative reporting of the campus blackout to Nicki Minaj’s feminism.  I can’t wait to see what you have in store next year!

Editors: What a lovely bunch you are.  Ye Bin, I love your enthusiasm for design. MichaelS, every week your articles made me laugh and consider different perspectives on a topic—your creative mind amazes me.  Michael T, I know you will always have an idea for something.  Ife, thanks for all the laughs, especially the day I made you pretend to be in the dark for a photo.  Irene, your smile can light up a room and your copy editing is on point. Veronica, is there anything you can’t do?  Your kind appreciations always made me smile.  And, Alicia, you are already such a design superstar, and such a superstar human. 

And of course, this year would not have happened without the Editor-in-Chief, our captain, the remarkable and talented Mimi.  I have so loved all of our break brainstorms, constant e-mails, snack hiding and issue planning.  You are truly one of the most impressive students I have taught, and your leadership, dedication, and resilience could run a Fortune 500 company, and will surely steer this paper next year too.

If next year is anything like this, I truly cannot wait for all that this endeavor will bring.  

Thanks for reading our work all year.  We’ll see you next October.