Closing Remarks

The rubric for the Journalist of the Year portfolio is nothing short of intimidating. With 11 categories for evaluation, I was certain that taking on this project would be an effort. Doing it well would be next to impossible. But as I pulled together samples of my work and began laying it out, I was surprised to find that the process of reflecting didn’t feel like a chore. Actually, it was the perfect way to end my senior year.

Being able to look back on all of the time and energy I put into my work on The Shield gave me perspective to see the impact I had on my school community — something I might not have realized otherwise.

What I find most impactful about creating this site is that it not only showcases the work I’ve done while on The Shield, but it also acts as a time capsule into a historic four years. During just my time in high school, I lived through a global pandemic, an insurrection of the nation’s capital, the break out of war in Ukraine and the third most deadly school shooting in the U.S. But I didn’t just read about these events in news articles or hear about them on social media — I reported on them. 

While I couldn’t change the reality I was living through, I used my position to bring light to these situations. Whether that meant providing accurate and up-to-date information about breaking news or by sharing stories of student success that helped distract from the darkness.

In four years where nothing went as planned, from fluctuating school district policies to teacher and substitute shortages, school life often felt up in the air. Being able to produce objective and meaningful news for my community reminded me of the power of journalism to inform, support and inspire. 

As I look to the future, I hope to continue my impact throughout college and beyond. I plan to major in journalism and minor in Spanish to prepare me for pursuing a career in journalism. And as I graduate and enter into the real world, my main goal is to continue telling stories that will make a difference in people’s lives. Some of those stories might be informative, enlightening the public on the truth. Some might be feature articles, highlighting the great triumphs of all different kinds of people. 

I can do that anywhere, which is why my dream is to work in journalism at any scale. Whether that be a national news outlet or a small-town paper. I believe everyone has a story to tell. It’s my job as a journalist to take note of that, in this ever-evolving world with technology that allows us to slow down and listen to others, to hear what they have to say and share their stories.