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What is Clarion thankful for this year?

Thanksgiving is a special time of year where people celebrate what is important to them and what they are thankful for. This year, the Clarion staff reflected on what they are thankful for.
Mrs. Cassens
Photo courtesy of Anna Caruso.

Every day I look forward to my favorite class, AP Lit. Seven class periods back to back is never easy, but Mrs. Cassens makes it better. At the beginning of the year she made it a point to let us know that she wants us in her classroom and wants it to feel personal to us. She always offers breaks in class when the bell rings making her classroom feel more like a place you choose to be in, rather than forced to be in for attendance. She understands that being a high schooler comes with a lot of decisions, and is always available for any questions, even outside of class material. She makes taking an AP class realistic in the sense that most assignments are given a week to complete, and will work with your schedule when necessary. Not only does she prepare us in class for a large exam at the end of the year, but I also believe that she gives us advice that will be useful for becoming a better adult in the coming years. I am thankful for Mrs. Cassens because her class is a nice breath in my day, and it is clear that she cares about her students and sees them as more than just a letter grade. 

Sophia Smith
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Gannon

This is my last year at RB and looking back I’m most thankful for my best friend, Sophia Smith. Many people aren’t lucky enough to have a best friend at all, much less for nine years. We first met in third grade, awkwardly on the playground. But ever since then, we’ve been best friends. If you’ve never had a best friend it’s hard to imagine what having one feels like. We aren’t alike in the way people sometimes think best friends are, but sometimes it feels like we have a secret way to communicate, a type of humor we’ve created over the years. This year we’re seniors, and we’re not going to go to the same college. So this marks the last year we’ll be together in school. Next year we won’t be comparing schedules to see if we have classes together, and we won’t ever be in her basement on a Friday night watching cringey movies as we break down the news of the week. Next year we’ll be hours and states away from one another instead of four blocks. But it’s okay because for the last nine years I’ve been able to have that and some people don’t have that in a lifetime. If we’re not friends in sixty years the most likely reasons are either one of us is dead or one of us has an extreme side part again. But in the least likely case in which we’ve drifted apart, I know we’ll be fine because even for just nine years we got to be best friends. I’m thankful for the time I’ve had with her, and I’m grateful to have grown up with someone who’s always accepted me for who I am with no judgment. To Sophia, “you are my actual rainbow gel pen in a sea of blue and black writing utensils”

Bo Bichette

I am thankful for Bo Bichette. Bo Bichette is the shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB. Without Bo, I would be lost in life. Bo makes baseball look easy, batting .300 in his career in the majors. With his flowing hair and incredible tendency to make contact with the baseball, Bo does everything in life with incredible swagger. When number 11 is at the plate you can always count on him coming through in big moments. Bo is my favorite person to root for every day during the summer. If Bo has a bad day, I have a bad day. Bo is the epitome of a good baseball player. Recently, he has been an all star. Voted an all star this year and last, Bo never has a bad year. If you want a role model, look no further than Bo Bichette.

Morgan Anderson
Photo courtesy of Aryan Hernandez.

Of all the friendships I hold near to my heart, the one that I appreciate the most is with Clarion’s very own Morgan Anderson. Coming into class on the first day of freshman year, I felt nervous about having to work with people I’d never met before. I was scared that I wouldn’t make a good addition to the newspaper staff and that the upperclassmen wouldn’t like me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Although I’d heard of her before, I didn’t really know Morgan and we only spoke every now and then during class. As days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, though, our friendship grew stronger and stronger. Today, I see her as nothing less than an older sister and role model. From constantly supporting me in all my endeavors to making me laugh when I feel down to pulling over and offering me a ride whenever she sees me walking home, she has shown me nothing but kindness and love. I am so incredibly grateful to have grown closer with such an amazing person, and I know she will do the same for her future friends as she has for me. Sadly, Morgan is a senior this year and will be graduating, so our time together will soon be cut short. However, I’m positive that the rest of the year will be amazing, and I’m so excited to make new memories with her. Morgan, thank you so much for everything you have done for me and don’t ever lose that spark you have; it truly is one of a kind.

Family, in all aspects
Photo courtesy of Joseph Kampschroeder.

When I am asked what I am thankful for, there is one clear answer. I am so incredibly thankful for my family, but not just those I am related to by blood. I also would like to thank my band and Clarion families.

To start, I am so thankful for my family for always being there for me when I need them. I want to specially thank my dad and grandma for raising me to be who I am and always supporting me. I am so glad that I have had both of your guidance throughout high school. I also want to thank my mom. Even though I don’t get to see her all that often, she inspires me every single day to be myself and make the most of life. Without my family, I would be lost in the world. Thank you all so much for pushing me to try new things and for helping me become who I am today, words can not express how much you mean to me.

Moving onto band, I want to thank our directors Mr. Baum and Mr. Loeb. Going into high school was scary with the looming presence of the pandemic, but the idea of marching band was a beacon of hope. Throughout the last four years, I have seen so much passion and community shared through music that I couldn’t possibly thank anyone enough for. The friends I have made through marching band specifically have shown me so much and helped me express my love for music even more. This past year, I was lucky enough to serve the marching band as drum major alongside Val Spevacek, and I could not thank her enough for being such a strong partner this season. Furthermore, just a few hours ago, I ended my marching season alongside Val by marching in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. I want to thank Mr. Baum and Mr. Loeb again for making it possible for us to be in the parade, and I want to thank each and every band member for making this season so special.

Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Helgeson for encouraging me to take Clarion my sophomore year. I will admit, I was intimidated by the idea of a class run by students, but I can say with confidence that taking Clarion has been the best decision I have made in high school. The environment that Clarion fosters can only be described as a family. While it may seem dysfunctional at times, and while we may think everyone that we face in the Slate News quiz is related to Mr. Helgeson in some way, it is such a warm and welcoming community of people who share a love for journalism (and food). I am also incredibly thankful for Sadie Springer, our Editor-in-Chief, and Morgan Anderson, my fellow Managing Editor. Without the guidance and structure the both of you bring to Clarion, we would not be the well oiled machine (that is able to publish a hard copy without staying after school) that we are.

My family
Photo courtesy of Olivia Lopez.

This year there are so many reasons to be thankful. First of all, I am extremely thankful for the health of my family and I and that we are all able to celebrate together this year. My mom and my dad, who have been such amazing supporters for me throughout my high school career, are two people I am eternally grateful for. Thank you guys for pushing me so heavily and helping me so much. I have so much gratitude for you both and no words can describe how much I appreciate you guys. Additionally, my boyfriend Xavier and best friend Lio have also been evident people in my life who have shaped me into who I am now, therefore I will always be grateful for their presence and patience with me. Thank you guys for helping me stay not so serious and pushing me to have more fun. Lastly, my siblings Eva and Cris who are the best role models are so inspiring. I am so glad that I am not an only child because both of them have insanely great lives and I am so happy to have such a communicative relationship with them. Thank you Cris for being too funny and for giving me such good advice to navigate RB. Eva, thank you for being the best role model. I look up to you in so many ways and I deeply admire your hard work.

My instrument
Photo courtesy of Dayne Olson.

In my long time playing music, it has been the only constant that I have found in the midst of everything I have lived through. When I was in elementary school, going to the orchestra at the end of the day always excited me. In middle school, when I still lived in Lyons, I found my closest friends in the orchestra. Even after I moved, I still decided to be involved in community orchestras. Now, in high school, I am deeply involved in the school’s music department and in the community as a musician. 

One could measure out the time I have spent in my life by following the path of improvement. I still remember getting my first cello and immediately going home and trying to figure out how to make sound. It brings me so much joy and pride to be able to play music. It has been a constant for me, something that I have always been able to find comfort in. During all times of my life, my instrument has served as a more elegant way for me to express whatever emotion I happen to be feeling. I’ve played buoyant, swift pieces in times of joy and I’ve performed intense, lamenting pieces in hard times. The versatility of my cello is unmatched, and it empowers me to flex the full spectrum of my emotion.

The thing I love most about my cello is how beautiful the instrument is. I think that the violin family exhibits such grace and refined virtuosity, any person who can play one like it’s an extension of their body commands respect in a subtler, quieter way than most. Matching the cello’s beauty is its versatility. My current cello, which I’ve named “Carpo”, which is a term for the wrist, shines under the stage light, and whenever I have to perform I feel like I am cleaning up to make sure Carpo doesn’t look bad next to me, not the other way around.

Family and friends

Although it may sound basic and overused, I am thankful for my family and friends. My life would be so boring and depressing if i didn’t have them. Without my family I would be alone for Thanksgiving this year. I love the holiday season with my whole family when we all come together to celebrate. My friends are the reason I am motivated when going into school everyday and they make my life so much more enjoyable. Hanging out with them improves my mood everytime and I look forward to seeing them each day. Both my family and friends make me smile endlessly and I am thankful to have them all in my life. It is important to me to have people I love in my life especially around this time of year. I will be looking forward to seeing my family and spending time with my friends this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

My siblings

One of the many things I hold an abundance of gratitude for are my two siblings Remington and Abigail. Throughout the hiccups of adolescence, they’ve been a constant contribution to my happiness and a steady source of support. I can still remember the time my mother told me I was going to have a little sister. I couldn’t help crying, overwhelmed with joy. I can still remember offering my brother my favorite blanket when he arrived home from the hospital, and the feeling of intense excitement. Friends flow in and out of life, but siblings are always going to be there. Abigail and Remington are my forever friends, and I couldn’t be more lucky. The two of them have the unwavering ability to make me double over laughing no matter how difficult of a day it’s been. I never have to worry about being lonely because they’re always next door. The passion they hold within themselves for their interests is palpable, and they never cease to inspire me. They’re growing into the most talented, intelligent, and hardworking people that I know, and I’m thrilled to see what it is that they achieve and become in the future. I get to call them MY siblings! It seems like only yesterday we were dancing to the “Jessie” theme song in our living room and pretending to climb the tree in the backyard of our old house. I am excited to take on new life experiences, and grow old with my siblings by my side. And no matter how much time passes, they’ll always be my best friends.

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