Co-Editor-in-Chief & Editorial Editor
What was once chicken scrawl on a “color me in” page has become LA Times youth platform worth writing, and I owe that in large part to the enormous amount of practice I’ve had in Paw Prints Weekly.
Back when I was still a teensy eighth-grader in Texas, I was already enraptured by the idea of seeing my name in print: bold letters, and italicized phrases to emphasize the importance of what was written. I was looking for my lede – my fresh start – and hungrily searching for something to be passionate about.
Four years later, I’m (co) Editor-in-Chief of Paw Prints Weekly Vol. 54, and I can proudly say that Journalism has become my personality (and a spike in my college apps).
As much as I loved writing, editing, leading and honestly eating (shoutout to Costco for supplying the majority of food at our potlucks) at PPW, I’m also incredibly grateful for this opportunity to reflect. So, find a quiet place, cram in AirPods to sing along with the 2016 PPW theme song that’s still relevant in 2022, and let’s start.
My growth in this journalism program is comparable to a writer’s trek toward a well-written article. But I wouldn’t have been able to make it past the first steep boulder (or in this case a wifi crash) without the amazing staffers and Vol. 54 Editorial Board.
Shoutout to my favorite co-EIC Renee who you can always count on for a good, breathy shEEsHh during times of PPW crisis. Your consistency has been like a breath of fresh air during such an unprecedented year: I couldn’t have survived through hours-long editorial-board workshops and website tutorials without you. We really *clap* DID *clap* THAT.
To Halo: I’ve heard you say ‘mommy’ too many times to count, and I still giggle every time. Your fashion sense is perfection, but a single — more compelling — trait that you hold is your tenacity. You can tell your counselor to include that adjective in your college rec letter by the way. Your love for music (and surprisingly your like for the color pink) will not be forgotten. Never lose your chaotic energy please; you will be an amazing Editorial Editor and EIC!
To Claire (aka Clear): Thanks for calling me Renee this year. I’ll forgive your glaring deafness someday!! I can proudly say that you’ve become my friend as well as a living reminder to do my current events. Thanks for being an honorary 2nd-period journalism student because let’s face it the only thing you did as TA was plug in the computers that 5th-period journalism forgot to charge. Next time we go to a boba shop, I’ll make sure to get ONLY tea just for youuuuu <3
To Angela: Smelly babooey moments. Costco Mac N Cheese. Neighbor who got rescinded from Duke?? You’re basically a legacy staffer at PPW, and I love that so much. Thank you for your humor and knowledge of Wechat articles — car rides with your mom in the morning sound so fun. You and Halo are a chaotic duo of intellectual energy, and you will do great things as News Editor and EIC. (If you don’t, I’ll sue you).
To Charlie: Proximity friend?? Thanks for listening to the rant of a stressed-out senior, and more importantly, never ceasing to impress with the quality of your sports articles. Thanks for showing up to our hours-long editorial board workshops over the summer! Keep up your passion for basketball (okay varsity captain) as well as your skill for writing. I wish you the best during your senior year at PPW!
To my favorite, fellow double registered editors: Joseph & Gary: Gary, I beat you at chess once. Get wrecked…just don’t wreck the website, please. Kidding!! Your hard work this year is incredibly memorable, and please get some sleep. You deserve a nap for all your hard work publishing EVERY FRIDAY AT 8 PM. Joseph: you never fail to hype PPW up, and your subscription to Wildcat Weekly (will it rest in peace forever) is indicative of your funny nature. Thanks for being an intellectual and bringing the fruit that no one ate (because we’re unhealthy) at our potluck!
To the round table in the front of the room: John, Axel and Jacob: Y’all have crazy energy. Axel’s natural knack for writing entertainment articles makes you an amazing fit for Entertainment Editor, and I wish you the best! John’s positive mentality (and occasional complaints about features that Claire told me about) will be missed (LOL). Thanks for being an amazing staff writer! To Jacob in particular: Thanks for writing gorefest editorials, gleefully murdering smug, corrupt political idiots, and their hypocrisy. Keep writing in college, kay?
To my faves Isaias and Lauren: Thanks Isaias for saying that my writing during BEATS looks like a serial killer’s. I can’t unsee it now. All jokes aside, thanks for being the most positive, upbeat person ever. You are the only person in this whole school who also says hi whenever we see each other in the hallways #positivitybuddies! Keep up your energy!! Lauren your fit this year was crazy good, and your rings were as cool as the articles you produced. Thanks for your long text messages on Messenger whenever you needed help or had an issue with your article — I wish you the best during your senior year in PPW!
To the photographers who were besmirched by the yearbook: Janelle and Amber. I still find it funny that the yearbook took a picture of y’all doing homework and captioned the photo with “planning out photo frames.” This is why PPW is superior #notfakenews. All things considered, I’m so glad to have you both in class during my last year in PPW. I hope both of you continue slaying in PPW next year!!
To my bestie staffers Rachel, Ari and Allen: I hope you enjoyed the (free) apparel!! Being a freshie in high school, especially after a year+ of distance learning seems so intimidating, but you did it!! To Allen: I will never forget the time that you watched and digested a 7-hour hearing to write your editorial. That’s commitment, and you’ve set the bar very high for next year’s staffers.
To Ms. Robles: Where to begin? I’ll start at the beginning (of freshman year). Thank you for being my guide and PPW Advisor for all four years of my high school experience. It wasn’t exactly as bombastic as the movies, but your boundless energy continues to be an inspiration to the entire program. Thank you for letting me eat my breakfast every day during 2nd period, catching grammar errors in my articles and for continuing to support me with your kindness!!
Finally, to readers: Internet journalism has become so fast and taut that capturing and containing your attention through this piece has become a gamble. So, thanks for sticking with me. I ask that you do the same for the staffers of PPW Vol. 55 who will surely put sweat, tears and covid testing fluid into their articles.
Paw Prints Weekly Volume 54 – my last HS volume: thanks for being the signpost of my senior year, directing me back to my passion for writing and social commentary!
Bye! (Also, follow me on Instagram because that’s how Gen Z kids end everything nowadays).
Rani will be majoring in something she’s passionate about at Stanford University. She hopes to continue singing to her ducks during college through facetime calls on her old iPad.
Co-EIC & Entertainment Editor
Since joining Paw Prints Weekly in my sophomore year, I always expected that my time would come to say goodbye and write this last column. But — as I am drafting this response — I can’t really find a way to express the extent of my gratitude to the people within the program. But I’ll try to find the words like I always do.
Joining Paw Prints Weekly was the enigma of my high school career. The thought of writing for the school newspaper didn’t even cross my mind when I joined high school. To be honest, I’m not even that good at writing. Have you ever seen a person take twenty minutes to conjure up a sentence? Or take another twenty to make myself sound half as *eloquent?* Rather, I much prefer the less-forgiving nature of mathematical equations.
Yet here I am — as co-Editor-in-Chief of Paw Prints Weekly.
So, how did I get here?
During my first year, the days of walking aimlessly across the intimidating halls like a lost puppy, I found most of my high school experience scurrying along to my next class, avoiding the stomps of scary upperclassmen. While my freshman year was on the down low, things started to look up during sophomore year, as I found myself interviewing for a staff writer position for Paw Prints Weekly. This ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made, as I was able to tackle one of my weak points — writing — and come out of my shell by meeting an odd bunch of weird but incredibly funny and talented individuals.
Indeed, almost like a centripetal force, Paw Prints Weekly just sucks you in. Here, you’ll find fellow students from all across the school joined together to pursue their passions, whether it is writing, art or photography. Or where annual potlucks are a celebratory tradition, and competitive jeopardy is a force to be reckoned with. Truly, I found my place in Paw Prints Weekly — where the people are the object that keeps it moving along a circular path.
To Rani: I will never forget our side conversations in Mr. Chang’s class and how you introduced me to the program. Your intriguing stories of the people you interviewed and the writing topics you curate made me think: “Yep. I want to be a part of this.” I am always amazed that I know someone as smart and outgoing as you. Although we didn’t get to hang out that much this year, to my fellow Editor-in-Chief and the best duck herder I know (that will definitely not eat them like her quails), I am grateful to call you my partner-in-crime for the past four years of high school.
To Claire: my journalism buddy! I will never forget being shakingly nervous about meeting everyone in Room C9 (Rest in Peace, thanks to the rat) and incredibly relieved to see a familiar face that was you. I am thankful to journalism for allowing us to grow closer together. Whether that was bonding over the grueling hours of writing for editorial or brainstorming perspective topics at the front tables, we stuck through thick and thin. Thanks for everything, as I couldn’t have survived Vol. 54 alone without your advice and help.
To Angela: our star golfer, Halo’s math tutor and “Beholder of the Funniest Cat Memes.” The jokes you always bring up to me in class are the highlight of my day. Thanks for being such a great staff writer and outstanding news editor. I wish the best of luck to you and Halo as editors-in-chief, although I’m sure you’ve guys got it handled. Also, I finally understood what the hand sign meant, and I’d just like to say: thanks for not punching me in the shoulder.
To Halo: stop calling me Weiner. Just kidding, I actually don’t mind. I’m glad I got to know you, a brilliant individual who is passionate in everything she pursues — from your artistry in music to your aim in Valorant. Henceforth, I know you will do great as editor-in-chief with Angela. Although I do have one last request: can you teach me how to *sheeeesh* properly one day?
To Charlie: your talent as a writer never ceases to amaze me. The dedication you put into your work, while contrasted with the shenanigans you and the rest of the round table pull (never a dull moment with you guys), is admirable in many ways. Thanks for being such a consistent editor, despite never applying for the role. Paw Prints Weekly is lucky to have you as our designated Sports star!
To Gary and Joseph: our double registerees! Still kind of salty that I couldn’t spend my last year with you guys. But thanks for being amazing, even if you’re not in class. Gary, although your witty remarks and constant DMs on the article deadlines did annoy me at times, looking back, I’m grateful that you did. Thanks for keeping me grounded and bearing my sporadic rants. Joseph, our talented artist! Thank you for all the hard work you put into the program. Your influence could still be felt in the class from the group chat, and your comedic humor (and mysterious gallery of convenient memes and stock photos) is a joy to have in the program.
To Jacob: a very familiar face! While we didn’t talk a lot during our first year as staff writers, everyone, including me, would say you were one of the most talented writers in the class. Your return was more than welcome. You truly have a talent for putting your thoughts into words, and your profound political insights were a breath of fresh air in class. Glad to spend the last year editing for you!
To John and Axel: thanks for loving entertainment with all the articles you write. I can always rely on one of you guys to brainstorm topics for the section. Axel, I know the Entertainment section is in good hands with you as editor. I hope you continue to enjoy the section as much as I did editing your articles! John, your taste in superheroes is exquisite. I’m always looking forward to reading your reviews and checking them out myself (Moon Knight was amazing). Best of luck to wherever life takes us!
To Rachel and Amber: our program’s dedicated Genshin players! The hard work you guys put into the program as first-year staffers are commendable. But, I have no doubt in my mind that both of you will do great as a part of the editorial board next year. While I’ll definitely miss both of your ecstatic screams of joy from rolling, I’ll be manifesting a ton of 5 stars and successful 50-50s along your guys’ way!
To Isaias, Lauren and Janelle: who won the most Jenga overall? Seriously, I’m curious. Isaias, you are such a sweet soul, and your hi’s across campus always brighten my day! Your artwork never fails to surprise me with how talented you are, and I hope you continue drawing. Lauren, I will always aspire to be on your level of chill and coolness. Thanks for being the pillar of news this year. Your in-depth research only highlights your dedication and talent as a writer. I’m sure whatever both of you do in the future, you’ll be fabulous like always! Last of all, to our girls’ basketball star, Janelle, thanks for sticking through and through with the program, even though photography work was limited this year. (P.S. make sure to use your personal email next year, hehe.) Hope you continue killing it as a photographer!
To Allen and Ari: you guys have definitely made this year special. Allen, your improvement as a writer has been amazing to witness. Always a pleasure to read your gaming experiences from Elden Ring to Poppy’s Playtime! Ari, never stop being you. Your jokes in class and funny references will be missed. Although, do try to get your articles done on time more! Thanks to the both of you for sticking it out till the end and being wonderful additions to Vol. 54!
To Ms. Robles: after hours of writing this goodbye, I still have so much left to say to the advisor who helped me through it all! I still feel like I am the shy freshman in your English class that was always scared to speak; but, I guess I can say that I am now the shy senior that is *okay* with talking a bit more. Thank you for being my guiding light throughout these four years, and I am so glad I got to work with you as EIC this year. It’s truly been a great journey.
Through journalism, I’ve mastered the ways of using abbreviations, active language and absolutely no oxford commas to transfer my opinions into a well-thought-out article. But, beyond the hours of toiling to find the right words to say goodbye, all I want to say to Vol. 54: “thank you for making this year the best!”
Renee will be attending University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall as a Pre-Economics and Accounting major. If the stress of college hits her like Will Smith’s punch, she will try to make it as a starving artist in her mother’s basement.
From the second I walked through the front doors freshman year, I couldn’t wait to graduate and leave. Now with graduation just around the corner, I want nothing less than to just stay and turn back time.
I still remember the end of my freshman year when one of my friends, who was already in Paw Prints, kept trying to persuade me to the program. She kept boasting about how fun it was and being able to become friends with the upperclassmen. At first, I was hesitant but then gave in to the idea and applied as a Staff Writer.
Coming into this program as a sophomore, the stress of deadlines and numerous rounds of revisions every night was challenging to say the least. But it never seemed like work, no matter how anxious I was. Flash forward to junior year, I became the editor for the Features section.
Despite the workload, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ll never forget how our EICs came up with the most bizarre games to play on “Fun Fridays.” I’ll miss all of the wonderful memories I made in and out of the classroom. I’ll miss the days when I didn’t have to use an Oxford comma and had to continually remind writers to put quotation marks around each interviewer’s response. I’ll miss the weekly grind of editing articles and reminding everyone to leave a space after each response. Above all, I will miss everyone at Paw Prints Weekly.
Thank you for everything you do, Ms. Robles. This program is really lucky to have someone who is passionate about not just the program’s success, but also the success of the students that participate in it. You’ve taught us a lot, not only about journalism, but also about growing up and dealing with life’s unexpected twists and turns.
Finally, thank you to everyone on Volume 54’s staff for making every second of my senior year in Paw Prints Weekly count. Thank you for your commitment and hard work this year. I understand it wasn’t always easy, especially with everything going on, but you all persevered and collaborated to produce wonderful articles. I’m excited to watch what you amazing and talented people do in the years ahead!
When I applied as a staff writer my freshman year, I did not even know what an oxford comma was.
Two years later, here I am writing the fabled Senior Goodbye.
Thank you Paw Prints.
What began as a journey to boost my college applications turned into two years in a program that I will never forget. I remember my editorial board interview, surrounded by faces I (mostly) did not know, petrified and probably shaking a bit. I walked in not knowing what to expect, and walked out not knowing what really even happened.
All I knew was I told my best pickup line.
My first year in the program was definitely an experience. When applying for an editor after my first year I decided to count how many articles I had written as a first year staffer.
It was somewhere in the ballpark of 70. I was either really bored to double-write that much, or I just really enjoyed it.
I know it was the latter.
After my first year in the program, I was lucky enough to become an editor.
As most in the program now know, that did not last long.
I spent about 8 months in 2020 and 2021 wondering why I left. The decision was rash and ill-focused, yet I felt there was something behind it which I had not unearthed. After reapplying as a staff writer for fall 2021 and coming back to the program, I realized what had been previously unthought of.
I missed the program as I had it in 2019-2020, with the comradery of my fellow writers, editors, artists and photographers. To this day I regret my decision to leave, but I take solace in the fact that I came back and had an amazing time while doing so.
This past year has been my favorite in Paw Prints, and it is not a secret why.
Now, for the thank you’s.
To John, thank you for coming with me to Paw Prints. You are my rock bro and I know I don’t say it much but I appreciate you a lot and I’m glad to call you my first ever friend.
To Charlie, thank you for the endless lore, banter and baseball talk. Getting close with you over the past school year has been fun as hell. I’m excited for the summer. Ball out next year and continue the caucus.
To Axel, thank you also for the endless lore and being the most pressed man in existence. Start going to practice so you can have my locker next year and continue the bench mob.
To Rani, thank you for being a great EIC. I enjoyed writing editorials this year; you were definitely a bit more relaxed than Vincent. Thank you for letting me back in the program (LOL). Good luck at Stanford and keep quackin’.
To Renee, thank you for also being a great EIC this year. I always looked forward to writing entertainment. It really is crazy to think about how just two years ago we were both just staff writers joining the program together. It’s been great working under you. Thank you also for letting me back in Paw Prints.
To Halo, thank you for being a great editor and a good friend. Even though I hated perspectives, you made it a bit more bearable. Good luck wherever you go after high school, I am sure you will do great.
To Claire, thank you also for making a section I did not really enjoy writing for bearable. Thank you for (probably) listening to all of the conversations the caucus had in class and good luck in college.
To Joseph, even though you were double registered this year, your presence was felt in the group chat. We missed you in class and you will always be the fifth caucus member.
To Angela, thank you for being a great, easy to work with editor. I appreciate you for making life easy whenever I was assigned to you.
To Gary, sleep more please. Thanks for being a good online editor who never hesitated to call me on messenger when I forgot something.
To Ari, Allen Feng, Isaias, Lauren and Janelle, thank you guys for keeping the back of the class lively. I am excited for your futures in the program. Basketball saved my life.
To Rachel and Amber, even though we did not talk much, I know you both put in a lot of work for the program. Congratulations on finishing the year and good luck next year.
To Ms. Robles, thank you for being a mentor in high school to me. I have had you all four years as a teacher (junior year counts!) and I can truly say I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for teaching me how to be a highschool student, a newspaper writer and generally a better person. I am proud to say I have written under you for half of high school and there is no one else who I would rather have as my advisor. Thank you for everything you have put into the program and investing in me, especially the past year. Rejoining the program was one of the best things to happen to me this year and I know you played a big part in it. Thank you so much, I have gained so much as your student and writer.
And finally, to my moms. You both have put so much into me being a part of this program. Thank you for the donations, thank you for the advice, and thank you for reading every article. I love you both so much and I greatly appreciate all you have done for me in Paw Prints and life in general.
It’s been real Paw Prints Weekly.
For the last time: Jacob Ramos, Staff Writer, signing off.
Jacob will be majoring in Criminology, Law and Society at The University of California, Irvine in the fall. He plans to keep writing during college.
To be completely honest, journalism was the last class I thought I would end up in. But here I am writing a senior goodbye. I didn’t even know we had a senior goodbye.
Even though joining this class was not something I intended on doing, I am glad I did because I had a lot of fun in the class and got to meet new people and expand my writing expertise, which I needed very much if I’m being honest.
This was definitely my favorite class. I looked forward to coming to this class everyday because of the environment and friends I had in the class.
I remember walking into the class for the first time and seeing a blonde kid with a perm and guy who was fascinated with wrestling, and somehow, along with Jacob Ramos, they made their class a lot more fun when it came to writing articles cause i was more invested in finished my articles since it meant that we could “goof” off afterwards.
I also learned to like writing in the class. At least for some topics. My favorite topic to write about was entertainment and I had a lot of fun writing for it because I got to expand my nerd knowledge onto the website of paw prints weekly and it was also really easy to write for because it was something I knew a lot about.
So with how this year went, I would definitely do paw prints again if I wasn’t graduating. I will definitely miss the program and everyone in it. I am glad Jacob forced me against my will to join because it was the best thing that could have happened to me
Now, time to say some thank yous,
To Jacob Ramos, Thank you for not only forcing me to join this class but being someone I could rely on and bother whenever I needed help. You mean the world to me bro.
To Charlie and Axel, Thank you for making this class so much fun for me. You guys genuinely make me laugh so much and I am glad I met you guys this year and am able to call you guys my friends. #TheFogIsComing.
To Gary, Thank you for being my rock, I will forever cherish the framed picture I have of you in my room.
To Ms Robles, I have had you as my teacher twice now during my 4 years at Wilson and you are by far my favorite teacher. You are certainly the most fun and entertaining teacher at the school. Thank you for making my time at Wilson so much more enjoyable.
To everyone else in the Paw Prints, thank you for making the class so much fun.