During the final hours of production, there’s an inherent, invigorating energy which emanates from the Media Arts Center lab that the five of us have come to cherish. Two months ago, as we all celebrated yet another successful issue, none of us could have imagined it would be the last time we would get to feel the visceral excitement of the staff during the last stretch of the cycle.
As editors, we stepped into our positions ready for the challenges of running a high school paper, yet we couldn’t have been less prepared for the most eminent news story in the world. Instead, we joined the universal confusion as a sudden stillness enveloped cities throughout the nation, Palo Alto included. Stores were shut down, bedrooms became classrooms and events were canceled.
But through this abrupt, almost dystopian shift, there’s a sense of gratitude present in our community for being fortunate to have largely evaded the worst effects of COVID-19. Santa Clara County’s quick implementation of safety measures such as the shelter-in-place, resulted in a remarkably low risk for our county compared to other regions.
COVID-19 has altered the way our community, and the world, receives news. Now, more than ever, journalists have the responsibility to inform their readers of how the world is changing around them. The shelter-in-place order has made readers more dependent on local news sources, as most have a limited perspective of the world from the confines of their own home.
The Campanile staff has full-heartedly embraced this responsibility, working to report on breaking developments within the district and our community.
Many people have been affected by the spread of the novel coronavirus, and we know there are people who have much larger issues than running a student newspaper. Still we feel grateful to be able to continue doing what we love and producing content however we can.
Since the start of quarantine, The Campanile has adapted to working remotely as we move class from MAC 103 to our homes. For the past two cycles, our staff have pushed out dozens of stories online, some decked with infographics and others formatted as engaging Adobe Spark pages. And we have shared these stories with you, our readers, through social media. We came into our role seeking to improve our online and multimedia presence, but we never thought it would happen as a result of a pandemic.
For this last cycle, however, we wanted to create a special, physical issue mailed to everyone’s homes. This issue contains a Senior Section, which spans pages C1 to C8, dedicated to celebrating the Class of 2020, who have had their final year of high school abruptly cut short.
While we cannot compensate seniors for a missed Prom, graduation or any other end-of-the-school-year traditions, we hope to commemorate our class through content including satiric columns, stories submitted by the seniors and a recalling of the top 20 moments from our past four years at Paly.
Our last cycle isn’t how we imagined it. Knowing we will not be able to enjoy the electric atmosphere of the production process with the wonderful people who make our publication the community that it is.
We will forever cherish our late nights together: infectious music thrumming through the lab, high-stakes tournaments of spikeball in the MAC, frenzied Peet’s runs, caffeine-fueled speed editing and, of course, publication-wide TikTok dances.
And most of all, we are eternally grateful for the gift that Palo Alto high school journalism has brought into our lives — an eclectic mix of ideas, perspectives and people. We have experienced the joy of coming together in a community all passionate towards one cause: producing the highest quality paper we can for our students and community. We have learned the impact of student voices in sharing our stories and influencing our school or city and experienced true love and passion for not only writing about ideas but also bringing them to life.
Despite our newfound challenge of not being able to collaborate face to face or enjoy each other’s company in our beloved classroom, we have found new ways to connect with our staff and the community.
We are thankful for all of our teachers’ diligent work towards transitioning to online learning and adapting to a rapidly changing and unprecedented situation, as well as campus and district administrators who worked alongside parents to brainstorm viable alternatives to celebrate the Class of 2020 when it became clear that our traditional graduation ceremony would likely not occur in June.
Finally, we are filled with gratitude for everything we’ve already been lucky enough to experience: our last sunny Campanile Quad day, a publication-wide beach outing or simply the joy of working alongside our dedicated staff to successfully complete seven print issues.
Though we are saddened to miss being able to see our new Editorial Board carry on the passion of Campy for our last cycle in person, we know our publication is in committed, capable hands.
So as you flip through our final issue, we hope we are able to offer you a brief respite from these uncertain times to reminisce about the past while looking into the future as we celebrate the Class of 2020.
Annie Chen, Frida Rivera, Jaures Yip, Lucy Nemerov & Miranda Li