Farewell to the HoofBeat
By Kenny Larson
I was never supposed to be in Journalism.
Let me set the scene: it is early Sept. of 2017; I frantically scramble into the counseling office — hair a wavy mess, just long enough to start looking passably stylish, and worn-out carrier bag already overflowing with papers. My schedule was missing nearly half of my classes and I needed to fill it with whatever courses were still available. “How about Journalism,” suggested my counselor. I shrugged my shoulders — I would have said sure to almost anything — but I suppose the rest is history.
Although I spent my junior year contributing as a staff reporter, this year, I have had the absolute privilege of serving as Editor-in-Chief of the HoofBeat. I cannot believe that a class I enrolled in purely by chance became one of my favorite courses and an incredibly influential force in my life. No other group at Northside could empower me to write op-eds fighting back against racism in our community or advising congressional Democrats against impeaching the president, all the while immersing me within an incredibly witty and enjoyable community of like-minded journalists.
So, as I receive my high school diploma and officially resign my position as Editor-in-Chief in just a few days, I would like to thank some important people within my journalistic life, and leave some words of farewell to Northside.
First — to Noah, Savannah, Jackie, Esther, Edina, Christina, and Gabe — our dedicated team of section editors: know that what we do here at the HoofBeat would be impossible without you. Over the past year, we have worked alongside each other and somehow managed to consistently release papers. Of course, there has been plenty of opportunities for growth, but I am humbled to have experienced those moments with you all. Our ability to get side-tracked during editor’s meetings is indicative of the connection we have as a vibrant team of journalists and I hope we remain in each other’s lives.
To Kimberly, our Deputy Editor-in-Chief: working alongside you this year has been my sincere pleasure. Your ability to keep me on track for publishing deadlines has saved me more times than I would care to admit, especially as our senior year comes to a close. Perhaps my best memory of our leadership was during the April Fools Day staff-only editor’s meeting; somehow we managed to transform a whirlwind of ideas into coherent article assignments. While at a reminiscent level I wish we could continue this journey, I cannot wait to see what you do with your life.
To Kate and Kevin, the HoofBeat’s next generation of editors: you two are sharp, focused, and diligent editors with the ability to write compelling stories. Editing your pieces this year has always made me smile — partially because they never require in-depth editing — thanks to their clever insights and passionate writing. Although neither of you have volunteered to become Editor-in-Chief yet, just know that at this point in my junior year, neither had I. The position would be well-suited for either of you, but nonetheless I am excited that you will both be contributors to the HoofBeat for next year. Do not hesitate to reach out to me as you grow as editors — I will be rooting for you both from Ann Arbor.
To the HoofBeat’s staff reporters of 2018-2019: there are far too many of you for me to share an inside joke, a personal memory, or a shoutout, but know that each of you are what make the HoofBeat such an exciting organization to write for. Over the past year, I saw incredibly powerful writing that not only stirred an emotional reaction, but made me proud to work with you. I challenge each and every one of you to take at least one more journalism course in your life, whether that be in college, at a community center, or maybe even Journalism II at Northside. Best of luck to all of you in your future ventures.
Ms. Malueg, the HoofBeat’s official advisor: if there is any teacher at Northside who drives my passion for writing, it is you. Two years ago, I entered your classroom as an inexperienced junior hardly capable of writing an article worth reading. I fundamentally believe that your news journals, quizzes, and diligent editing are what motivated me to remain steadfast in my commitment to journalism and ultimately, to serve as Editor-in-Chief.
In the spirit of honesty, at the beginning of my senior year I was unsure why you entrusted me to lead the HoofBeat. While I certainly had progressed as a writer and was honored by the opportunity to serve as Editor-in-Chief, it seemed like a lofty challenge. In retrospect, it was your decision to entrust me with more responsibility and flexibility that drove my growth. I have certainly pitched a fair number of articles to you in the past two years, and your willingness to empower me — as a student and journalist — with the opportunity to write powerful op-eds are what made me fall in love with journalism. As such, I want to express the most sincere gratitude to you, not only for writing my letters of recommendation, for editing my articles, and for allowing me to lead, but for supporting and fighting for a student-led press. The entire HoofBeat is and forever will be indebted to you and your service.
As a final note, I would like to address the entirety of Northside College Prep: each of you belong to a community that has forever shaped my life. Although it feels as though I only know a handful of you, know that it has been my honor to get to know each of you through nearly three-hundred articles this year. The ability to represent the stories, viewpoints, opinions, and people of one of the most vibrant educational communities in Chicago fills my soul with both pride and sadness: pride to meet the next generation of leaders, and sad to say goodbye. Know that I leave Northside and the HoofBeat with both a heavy heart, a mind full of life-long memories, and of course, a University of Michigan t-shirt (go blue!).
While I hope to continue my journalistic journey as a member of the Michigan Daily next year, know that serving as Editor-in-Chief has been one of the highlights of my high school career. So, to all of you: keep reading the HoofBeat, sending in op-eds, and making Northside the place I have come to love.