Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
  • Reporters
    • Brandon Bennett
    • Cameron Bolton
    • Julia Buffo
    • Morgan Divittorio
    • Kiera Donnamario
    • Zach Hundrieser
    • Alexia Kingzette
    • Paul Kritikos
    • McKenna Powers
    • Niko Radicanin
    • Dennis Ryan

Seniors say goodbye

May 20, 2016

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The end of every school year means it is time for reflection and pause.  Eleven dedicated Clarion reporters would like to take some time to think about what it all has meant and to send some shout out’s and thank you’s to the RB world.  Please use the navigation menu in the upper right to review our 2016-17 staff goodbyes.

Senior Goodbye: Brandon Bennett

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All my four years of high school I thought to myself, How am I going to get through all of this? I always wondered, Am I doing something wrong or am I doing something not good enough? All the help I got from my parents, other folks around the area, and the teachers and other staff members at RB really helped me out a lot. There were some things that weren’t the right thing to do most of the time. However, I have always had the need to come back smarter or as a better person than I was. I would always think, What can I do to make myself an even better student at RB? When I got to my senior year of high school, I really realized I beat myself up on some stuff that I shouldn’t have worried about.

If there was one thing I could change about high school it is my attitude. I seemed to be that teenage child if things weren’t going my way. I would automatically give it all up. Only my mother knew where I was coming from during certain things and she made it the best for me while I was still on my feet. She also made sure I never hit rock bottom. Playing football and basketball really gave me a fun experience. Me and all my friends had good times here at RB as well. I would like to thank all the teachers and other staff members that have helped me throughout my years at RB.

Senior Goodbye: Cameron Bolton

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High school. It goes by quickly. Underclassmen, if you’ve already heard that 500 times, be prepared to hear it 500 more. Personally, I had an inkling it was true throughout my high school career, but I didn’t fully understand it until now. Which has led to some reflection.

My four years at RB have lead to a lot of ups and downs, in addition to opportunities I either seized or missed. Moving forward I have decided, and recommend, not dwelling on the opportunities that I missed, but rather on the ones I seized upon. Among them is being a reporter for Clarion.

I joined my sophomore year, was unable to fit it into my schedule junior year, and rejoined senior year. In that time I have written reviews, opinions, features, news, satire, taken media for stories, and even started a series of articles called From Book to Film.

I joined Clarion because I love to write. I have never stopped loving writing. I also understand that writing may not be for anyone. So another piece of advice I want to give is find the thing that makes you happy and keep doing it. The only reason you should stop doing it is if it stops making you happy.

To conclude, I would like to thank a few people. First and foremost, I would like to thank my mom, for always being ready and willing to edit my work. My dad, for his support and actually coming up with the idea for my Valentine’s Day article. My fellow sponsors and reporters at Clarion for their support.  And anyone who was willing to be interviewed by me for my stories. That was always a huge help.

See you later RB.

Senior Goodbye: Julia Buffo

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My journey through RB was not an easy one and my time at Clarion was short. While I was only on Clarion for the last semester of my senior year, it was not a class I chose just to fill a spot in my schedule. Since my freshmen year when I had Mr. Mancoff for English he had been encouraging me to join the Clarion because he had seen my writing in class. Well, up until now I hadn’t had any space in my schedule for Clarion. I barely had space this year. My sophomore year I took band, Spanish and macro/micro economics as many students do, which meant I had almost no wiggle room in my schedule.

I am going to include the next part of my story because it is very important to me and I feel other students who may or may not read this can benefit from me writing this. At the end of the summer leading up to my sophomore year, August 25, 2014, my pet rabbit died. Now, for most students, they can get through it and get back to normal. That was not the case for me. I was very attached to him, I had adopted him only three years prior after he was left on the doorstep of a shelter in a cardboard box.

After his death, I just felt like something was missing. I didn’t feel like myself, but school had always been somewhere I felt I belonged. Well, at the end of my sophomore year, about a week before my AP test, I got suspended from school for a day. Let’s just say mistakes were made. The problem was, after being suspended I no longer felt like school was somewhere I belonged. I shut down and tried to separate myself from my friends and family. Once my junior year came along, things were immediately off to a bad start. I still felt the shame of being suspended. I just tried to make it through the day so I could go home and be away from everyone.

I knew I needed help, I just didn’t know how to get it. I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone at school because I felt alienated after being suspended. I didn’t feel comfortable talking with my family because I felt separated from them. It took me a year and a half to get help with everything that had been piling up. Then, at the beginning of my senior year, I was back on top. I felt like my normal self again and was able to get everything back in place. While I still didn’t have my beloved rabbit back, on a cold January night in 2015 I found a little five week old rabbit out by the train tracks near my house while my brother and I were walking to our father’s house. She looked just like my old rabbit and that was really the turning point in my recovery. She was an unexpected gift from whatever jerk left her outside in January. I guess the moral of this story is this: if you feel you need help you can find it. Sometimes it comes from unexpected places, but it’s always there. Your friends are your greatest resource and you should always value them.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new things and take classes you never thought you’d take. Join a club, try out for a sport. Things aren’t always going to be your favorite, you can’t love everything, and when that happens you always have the option to leave. But if you don’t try something you’re curious about, you may miss out on something you will really love.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

Senior Goodbye: Morgan Divitorrio

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I remember my first day of freshman year like it was yesterday. Coming from a small Catholic school where my graduating class had a grand total of 18 kids, walking into the halls of RB was both exciting and extremely nerve racking. It was terrifying going from being a top-dog 8th grader who ruled middle school to a bottom-of-the-totem-pole freshman who didn’t know anyone. Now, four very short years later, I’m in the same position as I was when I was back then. In the fall, I will be a freshman at Saint Louis University. Once again I find myself going from the top right back down to the bottom. But this time there’s a difference in the change.

In my four years at RB I’ve grown immensely. I probably wouldn’t even recognize my freshman-year self. Thanks to the staff and students at RB I have confidence, I’ve learned how to work hard to get what I want, and, as much as my case of senioritis begs to differ, everyday I’m greatly appreciative of the education RB has given me. Unlike my freshman year at RB, next year at SLU I’m not nervous about not making friends, getting lost, or failing my classes. RB has not only taught me academically, but socially and emotionally, too.  RB has helped mold me into what I am today and I’m proud to bring what I have learned here to SLU.

This “goodbye” wouldn’t be complete without a small paragraph about my friends. These past four years really wouldn’t have been the same without them. I consider my friends a part of my family. While I could sit here typing for hours about all the people I love, I’m gonna stick with my key players here. Silvana Alvarez- you’ve taught me how important leadership is. You inspire me everyday with your love and passion for RB, and no matter how much I make fun of you for it, I love how it’s such a part of you. You’re my closest girlfriend and I want to thank you for always picking me up when I’ve fallen. Collin Dreilich- you’ve taught me how important laughter is. You speak your mind and somehow are able to find the humor in everything. When I’m having an off day I always look to you. Nick Malone- you’ve taught me what it means to be loyal. You fiercely defend those you love no matter what the cost. I can come to you with anything and you’ll never judge me. You’ve taught me to protect those I love.  Cris Lopez- you’ve taught me the importance of having fun. Now I know this one may not seem as sentimental as the others, but it’s so much more. You’ve taught me that you need to make the best out of everything, even when it’s hard. Life has hard times, but with you, it’s easy. You helped me turn a house into a jungle… Without you guys I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I want to thank you for sticking by me through the years and even though you’re all staying in Chicago next year, I’m still a text message away and if you ever want to get out of the city, I know of a jungle only two hours away.

Lastly, I need to say goodbye to Clarion. As a class I only took sophomore year because Mr. Mancoff told me to, it’s become one of my favorite reasons to come to school. I don’t see Clarion as just another class, I see it as one big semi-dysfunctional family. I love my fellow editors like they’re my brothers and sisters and I know they’re all gonna go on to live such successful lives. I want to give a huge thank you to our new sponsor this year, Marc Helgeson. You came in and turned us into real editors this year. We had responsibility like we’ve never had before and we made some of our best hard copies to date this year. Even though I constantly pick fights with you, purposely say things to make you uncomfortable, and consistently undermine your ideas, I’m really glad you became the sponsor this year. Hopefully I didn’t emotionally scar you enough to make you want to quit, because all my shenanigans were out of love and for the sake of comedy.

High school has treated me well, but not too well. While these four years have been fun, I’m more than ready to start the next chapter of my life. I’ve made lifelong friends, memories, and I’ll take what I’ve learned, both academic and about life in general, with me to St. Louis. I couldn’t have asked for a better high school experience and better group of people to go through this journey with.

Senior Goodbye: Kiera Donnamario

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“Hold on tight, this ride is a wild one.”

Let’s throwback to Freshman Kiera: wrapping up her scene phase (yikes), still adjusting to high school, and passionate. I had zero idea about anything at RB as a freshman (#transferstudentproblems), so when I learned we had a newspaper, I was so excited. My career goal at the time? I wanted to be a writer for Alternative Press Magazine. I signed up for Clarion with every intention of writing reviews about albums from bands nobody but me had ever heard of. This was all I talked about freshman year (or at least all I thought about).

Fast-forward to the first day of sophomore year. I walked into Clarion knowing one person. Half of the people in the room I’d never seen before. The sponsor at the time, someone who today I still hold close in my heart, asked us to fill out a survey about what section of the paper each person wanted to write for during first semester. The choices were features, lifestyles, opinion, sports, arts and entertainment, and news. My choice was obvious, but it happened to be the most popular section. So was my second choice, and my third choice, and even my fourth choice. It was not looking so hot for the home team.

Where did I end up? News. Looking back on it, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but at the time I was devastated. How could you put someone who had aspirations of being a music journalist in the news section?! I tried making the best of it but it was just not working… at first.

Slowly I eased into it and I think the moment I realized it wasn’t the end of the world was when my first ever story was on the front cover of the first hardcopy that year. I even made some friends along the way: a group of guys who made Clarion my favorite class of the day. When the time to sign up for next year came I was so upset when I couldn’t fit a full year in my schedule (stupid French class). Editor applications rolled around and I applied to become the PR Editor (best decision of my life). I kept my friends, the ones who stayed in the class, close. And I’m not going to lie, one of those guys has been my boyfriend for the last two years (thanks Clarion, I owe you).

Junior year rolled around and I think that semester was the best semester of that year. I made our class shirts, did a bake sale… all the fun stuff. My only issue was there just wasn’t the connection I thought there would be amongst editors. Can’t win them all, can you? The semester came and went and I got stuck in gym and the rest of the year went on.

For senior year I’d be reprising my role as the PR Editor but under a new sponsor, something I wasn’t okay with at all. I hate change, so this was definitely frowned upon for me. A huge no. I understood why, but I didn’t like it. All summer I anxiously anticipated this new sponsor and finally August hit and thus, senior year.

This year has, by far, been the best year of Clarion I’ve had in my three years on staff.

Not only did I not hate our new sponsor, I grew close with all the editors, especially a particular girl who I never thought I’d talk to in my life because we seemed so different. Now, without her, I’d be lost.

The staff was small but the hearts were huge. The dedication, unreal. Some of the best high school memories I have are the nights of staying at school until 8 p.m. working on the hardcopy layout, dancing to bad music (thanks McKenna) and eating way too much pizza.

Clarion was crucial. It’s seriously one of the best things I’ve been a part of. There’s so many words I wish I could keep typing without sounding ridiculously redundant. So to keep this as short and sweet as I can, shout out to Clarion for making high school that much more memorable.

Senior Goodbye: Zach Hundrieser

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There are many things I regret not doing. Whether it was joining the golf team or being involved in the art programs, I feel like I was scared of doing those things. I was scared because I didn’t have the skills to perfect those activities. With Clarion however, I felt like the master of my domain. I was confident in my writing, and had no problem saying whatever I wanted when I wanted.

I was very fortunate to have Mr. Helgeson and Mr. Mancoff as sponsors for this class. I will always appreciate them for encouraging me to be the ridiculous, improper, over-the-top wordsmith that I continue to be to this day.

I have to thank the people who took time out of their day to read what I had to say. Without you, I wouldn’t have figured out my voice not only as a person but as a writer, too.

Also, a big shout out to Kerbert and Paul. You guys gave me ideas when no one else would, talked to me when I had nothing really going on, entertained me, and were there for me as a friend. I’m glad we met, and if you dudes decide to read this then just know that I sincerely hope we have contact after high school, which is something I can’t say for a lot of people.

All I really have left to say is that although I’m not as cool as maybe Jesus or Bruce Lee, I am pretty cool. Cooler than your Dad, and cooler than his Dad. I leave you with the following words to remember this beautiful face by, and hopefully these words and my articles will be imprinted into your brain, like a brand for cattle: Zach is cool.

Senior Goodbye: Alexia Kingzette

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When I walked into Clarion my freshman year, late from wandering the ‘oh so large halls of RB,’ I was one of two freshman in a class of nearly thirty juniors and seniors. I was scared and didn’t know what to expect but today I am so glad that I managed to find the Clarion classroom on that very first day. Clarion taught me how to tell a story and how valuable this skill is. People attempt to do it all the time but it is difficult to tell a good story, a real story.

Telling a story is one of the most important skills someone can have. It’s challenging because of the delicate equilibrium of content and tone it requires. It needs to be honest in order to be credible. Captivating, so that people listen. Yet this balance of truth and interest is always a challenge because the more captivating you make it, often the less truthful it becomes. The art of telling a story is one that is often forgotten, but Clarion never forgot. In Clarion, I learned how to tell RB’s story.

The story of Riverside Brookfield High School: of the football team as well as the chess club, the dancers as well as the wrestlers, the students along with the administrators. Our voice was only accurate when everyone was accounted for and that was Clarion’s goal. I’m happy to say for a few years I helped Clarion to continue achieving that goal of telling an accurate story. I’m so thankful that I had so many fine educators, including Mr.Mancoff and Mr.Helgeson to teach me how to write, think, and be capable of depicting a quality story.

Four years and four haircuts since that very first awkward day wandering through RB and I am about to graduate. I have  became one of those very intimidating upperclassman. ( If you consider 5’4’’ intimidating). As high school and Clarion are about to be parts of my past, it’s hard to believe I was once a shy, lost girl. I’m sure I will find many more places to get lost in, places far bigger and far more intimidating than RB was. Though my voice won’t be apart of Clarion’s anymore I will continue to work on telling stories. Most importantly, telling the one I know best, my own.

Senior Goodbye: Paul Kritikos

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So here I am, typing this out on the day before my entire high school career is over. I’m sure that if I accidentally fall asleep in this chair for long enough, I could wake up and no longer be a high-schooler. It’s a really uncanny thought.

I remember freshman year when Mr. Mancoff pitched the idea of joining the Clarion to me, and I really wanted to do the comics for it. It would be my window to new horizons, exposing my work to the school and hopefully getting some credit for it. When I joined Clarion the following year, I had no idea how incredible of an experience it would become. I started from the bottom as a staff reporter in the opinion section. Ironically enough, I think I’ve written a total of like five stories ever in my time in the Clarion. Once I became a media editor, everything changed. Clarion transformed from just a work environment into a family. Everything we do, we do unlike any other club or sport out there. Each and every one of us comes together to build this amazing paper, as one. We have some weird aura or something, I swear.

Words can’t describe how amazing the people I work with are. All of them have made an impact on who I am, and I can honestly say I’ve made some of the best friendships through this class, or club, or I don’t even know. The Clarion is more of an experience anyways, as dumb as that might sound.

So here I am, typing this out on the day before my entire high school career is over. The day before I step down and let next year’s staff inherit my responsibility, and hopefully my love for the Clarion. This year has been one of the best years of my life, running the paper with my fellow editors. The new sponsor is pretty okay, too, I guess. Together we’ve been through so much and I only now realize how much I will miss it all. The reason why is because here at the Clarion, we don’t make papers, we make memories.

Thank you so much, every single one of you. You really made this class such a blast. After all, we’re free of bull and full of Bulldogs.

Senior Goodbye: McKenna Powers

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Let me just start off saying, I actually hate writing. Well, “hate” is a strong word. I strongly dislike writing. So how did I end up in Clarion, the school’s newspaper? I was forced into it by my mother and older sister, a former Clarion staff member as well. They convinced me by saying there’s an amazing sponsor, a close group, and as my sister put it, “Trust me, you only have to write one story a month. It’s fine.” And so with that, I joined Clarion back in 2012. And let me just say, it was the best decision of my life. And somehow, it actually changed my life, too, weirdly enough.

Everything my sister said to me happened to be true.  Mr. Mancoff was a wonderful sponsor. He taught me how to become a better writer, as well as helped me to fall back in love with writing. As much as I loved it as a kid, before getting into sports, I quickly lost a love for it. Clarion is also like a second family to me. It’s such a small and diverse group of kids, something you don’t get within a normal high school classroom. The kids, may I say, are the best kids I’ve ever met. They’re funny, outgoing, and just overall loving. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids to work with these past four years. Lastly, writing one story a month did not cut it, so thanks Madison.

My senior year, Mr. Mancoff left RB to teach at another school. It was honestly one of the saddest things ever. I’ve known him for eight years, hearing all these great things through middle school from my sister, and hearing he was leaving my last year was awful. In the summer, our new sponsor emailed all the editors, basically giving the “Hi, this is going to be an amazing year!” email, like every new teacher does. Right from that, I vowed to not like the guy. But, he’s actually pretty decent. Decent doesn’t even cut it. He’s an amazing guy. He pushed everyone in class to work harder, and Clarion became a story hungry cite. Stories began to come out of every corner, new ideas danced across the room every single day, and Clarion just kept going strong throughout the year, something it’s never been before. Mr. Mancoff and Mr. Helgeson really did both change Clarion and create it into an amazing thing to be a part of. It is a safe haven to get away from the busy school day, and take a breath, and actually do something I enjoy doing for a change.

Being in Clarion for these past four years actually brought me out of my comfort zone. I was forced to do a lot I probably would have opted out of doing in any other classes, like interviewing. I really dislike interviewing. But by doing these things, I was able to find my voice, and therefore become a strong leader, which lead me to the position of Editor-in-Chief. I also was able to create friendships with kids I never would have imagined being friends with. I’m sad Kiera and I got close this year only, but because of Clarion, it’s a friendship I’ll always have. I even got to play my “terrible music,” as the class calls it, without feeling too judged about it. But let me just add, it’s not that bad guys!

I never thought it’d say it, and I’m sure the class and Mr. Helgeson can vouch for this, but I’m actually going to miss Clarion a ton. It’s shaped me into the person I’ve become within high school, and has pushed me to accomplish more than I would have without the class. I just want to thank everyone on staff these past four years. It’s been a blast and something I’ll never forget. This class is no doubt one of my favorite memories within these past four years at RB.

I just want to thank Mr. Mancoff and Mr. Helgeson as well. Both of you have shaped me and have become strong role models in my life. You both did an amazing job with Clarion, and I can’t wait to see where it heads off to next. I’ll be back to see its growth, don’t worry.

Goodbye Clarion, it’s been real.

Senior Goodbye: Niko Radicanin

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Rewind to this time, four years ago. I was finishing my freshman year. Mr. Mancoff, my English teacher at the time, gave me a stack of newspapers to take home and read. I didn’t know then but that gesture would change what I would want do with my life and impact the remaining three years of high school for me. As soon as I read those old Clarion issues that Mancoff gave me, I signed up for Clarion my sophomore year.

Today, Clarion defines a large part of who I am. While I take pride in each and every story and hardcopy we share, I also hold the people and close-knit connections I’ve made close to my heart. If it wasn’t for Clarion, I most definitely would not be going to college next year to major in journalism. Clarion has showed me how a good newspaper works, and has allowed me to immerse myself in the process. I have loved and respected every part of the class. Whether it was staff meetings, editing underclassmen stories, or staying here until 8pm to finish laying out the hard copy, I always enjoyed it.

Fast forward four years from now. I’m going to miss everyone and everything about Clarion so much. But I hope that I’m a successful journalist in the field, still with as much passion as I have now. It’d be pretty sweet to look back and say that Clarion was the first stepping stone to the rest of my career. So thanks Clarion, for the past, the present, and the future. I sure will miss you.

Senior Goodbye: Dennis Ryan

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I was only in for first semester, but I had a dandy good time. I did way more articles than I thought I would and from people that actually read them, I’ve gotten good responses.

They were fun to write but sometimes were just a pain in my bottom. Mr. Helgeson and the editors gave me a lot of freedom to write how I wanted and didn’t care that my music was terrible and that everyone could hear it. I felt a bit unwelcome, but it’s probably because everyone in Clarion isn’t as good at Yugioh as me.

Everyone in Clarion is a thug though. A true group of straight up gangstas. Clarion is going to say goodbye to the Swaggin Dragon forever, but it’s good because IMA LEGEND BOI!

I’m out.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Seniors say goodbye”

  1. Dan Mancoff on May 21st, 2016 1:41 pm

    Dear Clarion seniors,

    I am dictating this comment while sitting at a farmer’s barter fair in Washington. My daughters just traded heirloom tomatoes for a bunny. Our acre and a half is alive with chickens and fruit trees and bees and barn cats. My school year still has three weeks or so to go.

    I read your goodbyes eagerly (and a little tearfully). You guys are the last full class I recruited for Clarion.

    As much as I love what I am doing now, I miss Clarion every day. It and SEE Team were so hard to leave.

    McKenna and Niko… I knew you would be an amazing team. Morgan, I am so glad you found space for us in your schedule. Paul, I loved watching you grow and find your place with us. Kiera, I am sorry I stick you with News way back when. Zach, your articles always, always made me laugh. Julia, Cameron, Denny… I am sorry I missed out on spending this year with you.

    Mr. Hegelson, I am so grateful RB found more than capable hands to carry on our tradition.

    As you guys graduate, I feel like another chapter is closing for me too.

    I read every word all of you wrote this year.

    Thank you for keeping Clarion free of bull and full of Bulldogs.

    Mr. Mancoff

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  2. Dan Mancoff on May 21st, 2016 1:44 pm

    Oh! Too much chaos trying to text and trade. Left one off. Alexia, i remember meeting you all the way back at We Are RB before grade 9. I was so grateful to have a talented writer like you working with us. It is why I kept harassing you to register again with us.

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  3. Katie Maxwell, '13 on May 21st, 2016 6:56 pm

    Wow, Alexia and Mckenna, I can’t believe you two are graduating! Three years ago when we met in Clarion seems like almost yesterday, and I’m so proud to see how you’ve become both so confident and incredible writers. There’s no doubt you led the Clarion Family well! If you’re like me, the experiences you had with this awesome group will stick with you forever and will be something you’ll miss most about your years at RB. Cherish them and be excited, for the best is yet to come!

    Good luck in your future endeavors!

    ~ a former Editor-in-Chief

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