Clarion Staff

Ava Kopecky

Ava Kopecky

My Clarion journey began my sophomore year, and I am very lucky to have been a part of the newspaper that year.

I like to think that the amazing Clarion staff my first year helped me fall in love with journalism, but in reality it stems all the way back to elementary school when my friends and I created our own “newspaper” on Google Docs and had our teacher read our weekly issue to the class.

In middle school, I remember Mr. Helgeson came to my English class in 8th grade to recruit incoming freshmen to join the class. I already had my electives chosen but I still kept Clarion in the back of my mind.

Freshman year, Mr. Helgeson was my English teacher. I think he got at least 5 kids from that class to join Clarion the next year because we all had common characteristics, we stood out as individuals, and had a love for writing and media. We also all shared a goal of making Mr. Helgeson uncomfortable and embarrassed 24/7, so we pretty much fit right in with the Clarion staff.

My first day of Clarion, I remember looking around the room, and thinking to myself, “Are these people psychopaths? Why is a picture of Helgeson’s face plastered on every single object fathomable?” But then when I finished boot camp and started writing, and making new friends, I understood.

I loved the fact that Clarion was student run, there were so many roles I could fulfill in that class. At first I was interested in photography, but my strong suit was writing so I stuck with that. I took Clarion very seriously that year despite the many opportunities we constantly had to goof off, like switching Mr. Helgeson’s favorite chair with a not-so-good one. I knew I wanted to be an editor the next year, so I worked my butt off to get that role.

My junior year, I was awarded the role of editor, we were on Zoom the entire year and despite being completely online WE KICKED BUTT! I was so proud of us that year. We killed it! We accomplished a lot and did a fully online “hard copy issue” and even got a real hard copy issue out!

Senior year, I moved up to “Managing Editor.” I really liked the fact that as a senior I had a lot of say in what was going on. I enjoyed that I had a true leadership position and that the new staff members would learn from me.

I experienced a personal tragedy at the beginning of senior year that I still have not healed from. I am very lucky to have had my friends from the Clarion Staff and Mr. Helgeson to be so understanding and supportive during that time. I used journalism as an outlet. It was something that I utilized to keep my mind off of all the bad things going on outside of school and in my head.

And now the end. It’s been very hard to process my emotions about my high school career coming to an end, and saying goodbye to my Clarion family. To sum it up, Clarion has been a home to me for the past three years. It was a place I went to every day during school and knew that I could forget about everything else going on around me for 50 minutes a day. I have made an endless amount of friends and memories. I am very thankful for Ashley Whigam, if I didn’t sit next to you my sophomore year, I don’t know where I’d be now without you as one of my best friends. And shoutout to the other managing editors — Liam Mathews, Claire Harrison, and Madison Lester — specifically for making Clarion a safe space for me this year and how together we made Clarion the best it could be this year. I’m so lucky to have gotten to experience this, and if you are reading this and thinking about joining Clarion, DO IT! We literally have Food Fridays!

Peace out Clarion Fam. Hopefully someone will take my role of making weird sound effects and meowing 24/7. HMU when we do a Clarion reunion!

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