OPINION: A few words from the moderator

Staff Reports

Because I was a newspaper and magazine reporter in my former, pre-MCA life, moderating the school newspaper has always felt like what I imagine it must be like for a recovering alcoholic to get a job busing tables at a bar.

I can’t count the number of times when discussing a story or column idea with a student that I’ve had to violently restrain myself from blurting out, “Yes! And then I’ll write a ‘counter-point’ column that will explain why you’re wrong!” The greatest gift teaching and fatherhood have given me is the realization of how intensely and hopelessly self-centered I am and that to be the sort of person I want to be, I have to be self-aware enough to know when something isn’t about me.

So, like that faithful AA attendee who knows there’s no such thing as “just one,” I have always been hyper-aware of the need to keep Echoes what it is supposed to be: a student newspaper. I’ve tried to make sure my role in shaping content and style only goes as far as checking for grammar issues and stylistic consistency.

However, as we close the year, I do feel the need to put some thoughts in print about the people who make Echoes a publication worthy of the students it looks to serve.

At the close of the 2015-16 school year, the Echoes staff consisted of exactly one returning staff member (more on her later). After soliciting recommendations from coworkers, I approached some students in hopes that they would be willing to come on staff in leadership positions. Getting Erin Fortier, Kelli Banta, and Julia Farrell to agree to the task proved to be a victory not unlike getting the stuffed ninja penguin out of the claw machine on the first try even though we all know those things are jammed in there too tightly and the claw doesn’t even close all the way and the entire thing is designed to throw off your depth perception so you have trouble lining it up before you run out of time and the claw drops before you’re ready, and, no, YOU’RE 37 and too old to be playing with claw machines.

I guess what I’m getting at is that those three rocked it from the day they signed on.

In a similar fashion, the staff members who came on under their own volition have dazzled me with their work ethic and dedication. Czarlyn Ria Trinidad is the “mom” of the group–always ready to comfort fellow staff members with a smile and a hug. I’m not sure Czars would recognize sarcasm if her life depended on it.

Kathryn Burke was so impressed by our mid-year sales pitch at Club Fair that she decided to join the staff and has been a welcomed and positive addition since her first staff meeting.

Emily Schexnayder is the youngster of the staff but has grown a lot over the course of the school year, and we all have high hopes that by the time she graduates, she will be able to both sit in one spot and use her inside voice. There was never a story Emily was unwilling to cover if asked.

Angela Wetzel was a key part of the Echoes group that made a triumphant return to Loyola’s Tom Bell Silver Scribe competition. Her feature story on her friend Ashley Code is the only thing that has ever crossed my desk that I made absolutely no changes to, and it isn’t because I was too nice to “fix” it.

Heading the leadership team for next year will be Abby Alonzo, an aspiring journalist who consistently provided quality work despite her countless other academic and athletic obligations. Abby was also the voice of the Echoes commercials that aired on WMCA, which required even more of her time beyond her story-writing obligations. Remember the name, folks, you’ll be hearing it for a long time.

Speaking of WMCA, a very special “thank you” to Sarah Liang and Mrs. Mary Lane for all of their incredible work and generosity in allowing us to use air time to try to draw more attention to Echoes. If there are two harder working people on campus, I haven’t met them.

Likewise, thank you to Mrs. Sue Buras, Ms. Simno, Sister Camille Anne, and the Mount Carmel administration for their support and guidance throughout the year.

Finally, Echoes will be losing Brittney Giardina to graduation after three years of incredible work. Anyone who has spent more than a year or two working for one of the student publications I have moderated will tell you that I’m surprisingly difficult to deal with and that behind the bluster of the faux-grumpiness and the mask of exacting expectations that I wear in the hallways there is not some lovable, sensitive teddy bear of a man but, in fact, actual grumpiness and exacting expectations that can only be kept in check by copious amounts of coffee and an editor-in-chief with the patience of Job.

I don’t even need a full hand to count the number of people who have shown the ability to handle their business effectively while also dealing with me, and none have managed it quite like Brittney has. If you’ve ever, in any way, interacted with her, you are already aware of her countless talents and personality traits that make her someone you want to be around. I am not going to list them here for two primary reasons: 1) this piece is quite long enough already, and 2) I shan’t give her the satisfaction of seeing me reduced to saying nice things about her that can memorialized forever in print.

I hope that in the future Echoes continues on its path of growth that it has been building over the last few years. If you are a student reading this, please consider taking on a role with the Echoes staff regardless of where your interests lie. If it matters to you, it matters, so there is always a place in the paper for what you’re interested in reading and writing about.

-Mr. Seth Fox, moderator