There’s always something…

…and it all started in publications

Story by Peyton Sims, editor in chief

High school. If I had to break down the entirety of my four-year-long experience to someone, words simply would not capture each and every incredible moment. It’s the people. It’s the experiences. It’s the deadlines. It’s what happens outside of Room 50A and B when we’re kicked out by Smith or Potter at the end of the day. Pictures hang from the newspaper bulletin board, polaroids are scattered from seat to seat and sticky note messages cover the borders of each photographer’s desktop. 

I’ve always been a sentimental person. Before I even picked up a camera for the first time, I found value in the little things, and high school has only reminded me of how special the little things truly are. There’s something about a hand-written letter, seeing my disposable camera pictures developed for the first time, receiving a “good job” from Smith or Potter or going on a spontaneous trip for ice cream after school on Friday that doesn’t end until 3 a.m. 

There’s a reason I’ve made it a part of my routine to get to school early every day. I walk into Room 50B, say my good morning to Potter — sometimes with a surprise cold brew coffee for her — then I make my way up to Room 50A where I edit photos with nothing but string lights illuminating the room until Smith walks in and “turns off the dark.” When 3:50 p.m. rolls around, I find myself in the same place, laughing with the same people and chasing the same passion. I don’t have to dedicate my time to this place and the people within it, but something always keeps me coming back. 

Maybe it’s the aftermath of football games that keep me coming back. Those long nights editing that go to 1:00 a.m. Or the relieving feeling of clicking “publish” on our sports story once we’ve finally thought of a headline. What about the trips to Little Caesars, or even parking lot football until 2 a.m.? Or when 3 a.m. rolled around, and I hit a deer while “Vienna” by Billy Joel blared from my car windows. Those little moments are exactly what made the “Friday Night Lights” so memorable. 

Maybe it’s the nights spent hanging out in the oldest barn in Texarkana (thanks Jonathan) that helped bind the seniors together. We would sit on the second floor and gaze out of the barn’s gaping window while watching the sun fall beneath the horizon. The conversations between us would go on for hours if our curfews didn’t intervene. To pass time, we’d unsafely jump down from the second story and onto the hay bails that surprisingly don’t roll as much as you’d think. Then, to close up the night, we’d set up a projector and watch hours worth of movies while rain fell against the barn’s metal roof. 

Maybe it’s our traditional Friday morning breakfasts that’ve stuck since the first week of school. And somehow, I don’t think we’ve missed a single one. Whether it’s donuts, Waffle House, Chick-fil-A carpooling, breakfast at Assad, Caden or Cate’s — even though these ones are what got me my first tardy — there’s absolutely no better way to start the day. 

Maybe it’s getting asked to prom with no sign — but instead having my car battery disabled so I couldn’t drive it (not going to lie, it was a pretty good plan). When I arrived back at the school parking lot with my personal Uber, Mikayla, I was hoping to find a fixed car. However, my car was unrecognizable due to the layers of wrapping paper and bows that engulfed it. It’s safe to say that my friends had done it again. After taking my disposable picture, I ripped off the paper and opened my door, causing a never ending amount of balloons to pour out. My date sat inside, satisfied that his elaborate plan had actually worked. The best part about this whole promposal? I was the one responsible for the clean up — but in the end, someone did get a prom date. 

Maybe it’s…

Roller skating on top of a parking garage,

Our consistent cookouts with chef Assad (bag of bacon-1, Caden’s finger-0),

Camping out and telling ghost stories around the fire, 

Abby getting excited about her canned peaches,

Interviewing doctors and first responders during the peak of the pandemic,

Trying to comprehend the power behind Smith’s stocks, 

Getting accepted into the college of my dreams with my best friend, 

Taking an Italian exchange student to Olive Garden (she didn’t approve), 

Trying to catch the infamous publications rat, 

Slow dancing on the dirt roads of 2302,

Caden praying over the food at Hooters (don’t ask), 

Taking Doug to the wilderness of Fulton, Arkansas, for the first time,

The Slim Chicken’s dinners with Abby and Mikay that truly were four-hour therapy sessions, 

Playing kickball (and practically every sport) at PG field,

Literally dedicating an entire day to Assad,

Or maybe it’s even the lifelong relationships I wouldn’t have if I never checked “Journalism l” off on my freshman year schedule. These relationships are ones I’ll have for eternity. They fill up the pages of my multiple journals and they take up 27/27 of the exposures of each of my disposable cameras. 

The best thing about each and every one of these moments is the fact that once they came to an end, we all eventually found ourselves back in Room 50A and B, ready to relive our everyday schedule. I’ve grown attached to this place, to say the least. These are my people. To me, they’re more than just a staff — to me, they’re a family. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, we’ve won together, but most importantly, we’ll move forward together.

While my own routines will be broken and I’ll soon be evicted from 50A and B whether I like it or not, with all endings come new beginnings. And if you are yet to be a senior, take a moment to look around and think about all of the good that’s yet to come. Us journalists are so used to telling stories, now it’s time for you to get out and experience stories of your own. 

I promise, it’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made.