More than one leading role

How one decision affects senior’s high school career


Photo by Abby Elliott

Editors-in-chief Cate Rounds and Peyton Sims work together or planning their next print in-depth story.

Story by Cate Rounds, editor in chief

Since I was 10-years-old, acting was my dream. I longed for the chance to be in the spotlight. Everytime the lights enveloped the stage with its warm, inviting hue, my heart filled with glee.The theatre was my home, and I lived to be on stage. In my mind, acting would be my only focus in high school. Little did I know how one spur of the moment decision would change my entire world.

It was the end of my freshman year. Just as things were winding down, I heard some people talking about how they were joining the school newspaper. It sounded interesting, but I didn’t think much of it. That is, until, a certain group of editors were talking in the makeup room of the theater. 

At that moment as they were talking about the future of their staff, I just happened to mention the fact that a few of my friends were joining next year. My fate was sealed when I said I thought it could be cool. They exclaimed in excitement.

“Oh my gosh! You have to join!”

“It’ll be so fun!”

“This will be the best decision you’ve ever made!”

I was overwhelmed to say the least, but my people-pleasing attitude and I decided to pick up an application. 

I had no idea what to expect. Theater had been my only extracurricular since middle school. My expertise was in the fine arts, not writing. I liked writing, but my only experience with it had been in English class writing essays. This new journalism writing would be completely different. But I knew I loved the people in it and loved to be creative, so I decided to take on this new adventure head on.

My staff year was by far the hardest. I hadn’t taken any of the offered freshman journalism classes, so I was truly learning as I went along. I was always scared I was doing things wrong. The editors could be very intimidating at times as well. But soon I found my feet, and I began to really enjoy my stories. I found out that when you care and you’re invested in the topic you write about, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

I remember when my first story got published in print. I felt important and like my work truly mattered. From then on, I proceeded to write some of my favorite stories, including “History of Hangouts” in which I got to interview alumni from decades past about their time at Texas High. This was one of the first times I truly branched out of my comfort zone. And whenever I eventually got recognition for  the pieces I wrote, the stress all felt worth it.

In all honesty, my staff year wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows. Despite this new found love of journalism, being a staff writer was extremely stressful. Sometimes, I felt kind of invisible. I was very close to giving it all up. It’s likely I wouldn’t be sitting in Room 50B now if it wasn’t for amazing people like Peyton Sims, Kate Morgan, Molly Kyles, Addison Cross and many others who convinced me to stay. I am forever indebted to them. Without their encouragement, I would have given up on something that would bring me so much joy.

With this resurgence of confidence and determination, I interviewed for an editors position. I wanted to be the leader that this new generation of staff writers could confide in. Luckily enough, I was chosen as one of the new culture editors. And I got to spend the year with none other than Peyton Sims. While the stress was still present, we all enjoyed ourselves and the environment so much. I never wanted to leave. 

One of my favorite occurrences from junior year is the fact that my story “VSCO-pocalypse”, was consistently on the trending page. Much of that probably had to do with Miranda Sings stealing our picture from that story for one of her Youtube videos. To us, that was just another normal day in publications. Here, I improved on my leadership attributes, I wrote pieces like satire which I had never explored before, and I had my sights set on becoming editor in chief.

If you would have told me four years ago that I would become editor in chief of the Tiger Times Newspaper, I would have been very confused. I went from having no clue of what journalism was to it being one of my favorite things in the entire world. While being editor in chief this year of all years came with unforeseen challenges, I’m thankful for everything that came of it. To work alongside my newspaper partner-in-crime, Peyton Sims, was an absolute dream. I’ve been in awe of her work ethic and talent everyday. It inspires me to become a better writer. 

I led projects tackling hard hitting issues this year, I got to know and guide the amazing staff writers who will go on to improve this organization day by day and I became a part of one of Mr. Smith’s stories (if you know you know). And we did it all during the year of COVID-19.

Without that last minute decision to join publications at the end of my freshman year, I would be a completely different person. This organization has given me a group of friends that will last a lifetime. It has helped me find my voice not only as a writer, but as a person. It has helped me share stories that otherwise wouldn’t be shared, and it expanded my view of the school and its students. This organization has allowed me to become more than just a theater kid.