Reflecting on four(ish) years

Avatar of Marina Howard
News Column

2024 feels like a year still far in the future. I remember looking forward to this moment as the end of childhood, of all sensical things, of my life as I knew it. But, as I stand here today, that finality does not feel as certain.

Our freshman year was a blurred window looking to the new world we were meant to be stepping into. Through computer screens, poor wifi connections, and silent breakout rooms, we were shielded from the realities of high school. There was no freshmen Friday, no rally day, no healthy freshman fear.

The only thing I felt like I was contributing to was the Jacket. Forcing myself to email people who I never saw face-to-face, desperately seeking the praise of my senior editors, I was a part of something. Jacket gave me something I didn’t know how to ask for, and didn’t know I needed: connection and community. The return onto a real campus in 2021 was incredibly jarring. I found myself relearning the basics of schooling, like how to doodle for hours in the margins of worksheets I could not bring myself to fill out. The only constant was my writing. Every Tuesday, for the entirety of my high school career, I spent my lunch in the Jacket room. My assignments and critiques eventually turned into assigning and editing, as I stepped into the role of Entertainment section editor.

I will forever be grateful to have been surrounded by the talented, passionate people behind the Jacket. Ella Creane, our current editor-in-chief has been a guiding voice for me personally alongside our 100+ student staff. Ella is insightful, direct, creative, bold. She is everything and everyone, and yet still manages to be her own witty, funny, and unique self. I have relished every late night conversation, every lunch confined, because I always come out more educated, more passionate after we spend time together. Ella is the all encompassing leader we needed, and the friend I always wanted.

Mr. Rodrigues has created a space for students unlike most. He is one of the most flexible, and yet still passionate, teachers I have ever met. Mr. R asks for nothing in return from his students, and gives them everything. He spends his evenings with us, trusting our young, new judgment, and praises our triumphs as though they are not his own. Mr. R loves journalism so much that I can feel the hum of energy in the air that appears when he speaks. His excitement makes it easy to be excited yourself; his joys and accomplishments are yours and vice versa. Thank you Mr. R, for everything you have done not just for the past four years, but for your entire career.

I could go on to thank every individual who helped to make the Jacket the renowned newspaper it is today, but it would take an eternity. The Jacket is made up of not just of every designated staff member, but the community from which we sprouted. The Jacket is every interviewee, every reader, every parent and teacher who has guided and supported us.

Although 2024 is here, the end of everything is not — the future is bigger than I could have ever imagined. I could not have asked for a better hometown, and I hope that my future will bring me back, back to the city and Tilden, the hills and the bay, and every other part of this place that lives inside of me, of everyone that is lucky enough to call Berkeley their home.