Editor-in-Chief Reflection: Carry On, Young Dudes!

Eliza Fawcett, ’15

I began writing for The Bardvark in September 2011, my freshman year at BHSEC. My very first article was a “Teacher Feature” on Ms. Riviere, who had just joined the faculty. I remember being so nervous about writing that article, but when I saw it printed on the front page and distributed throughout the school, my apprehension was replaced with pride. Over the past four years, the Bardvark became an increasingly important part of my BHSEC experience. It allowed me to flex my writing muscles, engage with our school community, and explore the field of journalism.

I’ve been Editor-in-Chief for two years now, in the course of which we have published 11 issues and 186 articles, not to mention countless photos and cartoons. It’s been a real pleasure to work with BHSEC’s aspiring writers over the years. I hope that the Bardvark became an important writing outlet for them, just as it did for me. I hope that our readers were informed, entertained, and engaged. The Bardvark is more than just a modest student publication. I like to think that it fulfills an essential function in our school — not only the dissemination of information and news, but it allows student writers to process the BHSEC experience as they live it. In a way, the Bardvark is the historical record of our school, and I hope that it remains that way in future years.

Over the past years, we’ve written about all sorts of topics relevant to our school, city and world. When Hurricane Sandy struck New York in 2012, students wrote accounts of their experiences in neighborhoods across the city. In the days after the hurricane, I volunteered to help clean up the Far Rockaways and Red Hook. It was exciting to write about issues that directly impacted New York communities, and making sense of the storm’s devastation through the Bardvark demonstrated to me the power of journalism.

Our writers covered the imminent closing of the Essex Street Market and the challenges of keeping Streit’s Matzo Factory up and running. Articles were written about new BHSEC classes and the effect of the Common Core on school curriculums city-wide. In some cases, our writers were at the forefront of issues that only later gained traction. For example, back in November 2013, we published a front-page article about “The Impending Cafeteria Shutdown.” The Student Union’s recent efforts to increase the use of cafeteria are necessary and valiant, but perhaps could have begun much earlier.

The true power of the Bardvark was demonstrated earlier this year, when many of our students wrote about the Black Lives Matter protests. With students reporters on the streets, we covered the New York City demonstrations after the non-indictment decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. Student writers covered the December walkout, the March Teach-In, and wrote about the recent Baltimore protests. Students’ own photographs accompanied many of these articles.

We published more light-hearted pieces, too. Our April Fool’s issue was a great success, and I hope that it will become a tradition in future years.

I’m proud of the work that we’ve done in these past years, but I also hope that the Bardvark is improved and expanded in future years. It would be wonderful to see The Bardvark printed on newsprint, distributed to more of the student body, and perceived as a mainstay in our larger BHSEC culture. A school as academically rigorous as BHSEC deserves to have a top-notch student newspaper. And with a little more funding, and wider recognition, I think that the Bardvark could really blossom.

I am very grateful to the students and teachers who have helped make the Bardvark happen year after year, and the readers who have supported us all along. I especially want to thank Dr. Mazie and Dr. Freund for advising our publication; Io for layout out each issue and giving our articles the beautiful presentation they deserve; Danya, Everett, Riley and Liana for tirelessly editing all our articles; Ayla for bringing this paper to life with wonderful photos; and Blanca helping us print hundreds of copies to distribute throughout the school. Thank you!

I wish the very best of luck to the next editorial board of the Bardvark, and all the writers who will carry on the legacy of this marvelous publication.

Sincerely,

Eliza

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