Not the end of the story

Senior reflects on year cut short by pandemic


Photo by Submitted photo

Seniors Molly Kyles, Addison Cross and Anna Grace Jones were editors in chief of the newspaper.

Story by Molly Kyles, Editor in chief

Stories are everything. We tell ourselves the story of who we are, and what we want our place to be in this world. We obsess over songs and movies because their stories resonate with us. As we say goodbye — albeit abruptly – we recount the past four years and try to craft a story out of those moments that makes sense.

Because if we can do that — give ourselves a solid beginning, middle, and end to the phenomenon of high school, then it is easier to say goodbye. There’s a clear message and an ending with closure.

Unfortunately, endings are messy, especially when a global pandemic takes place. Watching our goodbye be stolen felt like a story, but a horror story. It was American Psycho and Scream and Insidious; It was saying goodbye to something that just slipped through our fingers.

It is a brutal and heartless ending to perhaps the most life changing and love-filled four years.

I found a home at this school in our newspaper. That is where I learned the power of storytelling. Through countless work nights, I had the privilege of attempting to share the stories of others. Some light-hearted and whimsical, and some heavy with tragedy and truth. I wrote comedy pieces about my father, and did my best to cover the issues that needed light shed on them.

I was led by some amazing editors my first two years on staff, and when the torch was passed, I got to work alongside two of the brightest, kindest, and most motivated people I have ever met. We chose a goal for our reign: to make the Tiger Times into a family. We wanted no infighting, no overwhelming stress for our staff, just a sense of passion and community.

We had so many plans for the end of the year that we did not have a chance to do. A never-ending checklist of all that we wanted to give to this paper, and to the amazing people who love it as much as we do. We did not get that happy ending. Instead, our blooming community was transferred to Zoom and Remind 101, a much harsher and less intimate environment than what we had lost. The year ended with a whimper rather than a bang.

But just because an ending is messy doesn’t mean a story isn’t worth it. I look back on those moments in Room 50B, the lunches shared huddled on the couch, the Little Debbies thrown across the room at work nights, and the absolute honor of being my class’s DJ (because I had the dumb luck of  sitting at the computer connected to the speakers.)

I’d do it all again, even the hard parts, if it meant I could have that again.

To have just one more perfect moment of my staff and I dancing in the dark workroom, late at night, after writing stories we wanted to share, unaware that we were writing the final pages of our chapter together.

To each and every person who made the newspaper what it was, I thank you. If they hadn’t been so wonderful, goodbye wouldn’t be so hard. If they hadn’t made every day so perfect, then this wouldn’t feel like such a harsh end. If they hadn’t given me all these beautifully messy memories, it would be easy to let go.

But it is not easy, it is messy. And I would not have it any other way.