Aidan Scott/Talon

When we signed on to be the 2019-20 editors-in-chief last year, we did not know about the year we were going to have, and we would not want to trade the experience for anything else.

Let’s start at the beginning of the year. We got a text about two weeks before school started that our adviser, Mrs. Fowler, would not be coming to school for at least a month.

So we started the year off without a teacher, and we became the teachers. Well, granted I, Alex, was jet setting in London the first two weeks (it was with the United Nations). Don’t worry, I, Atmika, only had one breakdown without my co. We started the year off solo, doing FaceTimes every single night, trying to figure out how two 17-year-olds could teach their fellow classmates. It was crazy, to say the least.

Now, something to realize about both of us is that we are ambitious people, and that has given us strength this year. We published our September edition with Mrs. Fowler reading from home, and us fulfilling her role to the best of our ability in the classroom.

Mrs. Fowler came back and the chaos paused — nothing out of the ordinary except normal newspaper drama, deadlines and driven reporting. But, we could handle that for the rest of the year considering how we began the school year.

Let us tell you something — we definitely jinxed it. Just as we thought pandemonium had ceased, a pandemic picked up. Our last edition was done the last week of February and the printer gave us the wrong version of the paper, while also delivering it three hours late. Sure, we laughed it off but we did not realize that was our final printed paper and the start of something we never expected.

As journalists, our staff is dedicated to bringing the news of our community to students and fulfilling the role of the press in Oak Park. So, when we could no longer provide you a printed March edition, we went into a bit of a panic mode. Journalism is a pillar of every community, whether it be on a national level, state level or school level. As editors-in-chief, the worry of no longer providing that service to our community shook us — but only for a brief moment.

Suffice to say, we have figured out ways to deliver news to our community despite the pandemic, and survived, if not thrived despite our obstacles. We meet for hours weekly, discussing what to publish, and how to deliver it to you. We even managed to put together a print edition for our seniors from our Macs at home.

Throughout this year, the two of us have learned plenty of lessons. Perhaps the most important one has been to roll with the punches. We found a way to keep the community connected with weekly blasts containing news, features, opinions and sports — hopefully giving you a lifeline to OPHS.

It’s been an honor to write for you, report for you and take our turn in leading the student-journalism of our community for you. As we finish off the year and our turn at the Talon, we hope that whatever support, understanding and compassion you gave us, you will extend to our successors.

Lastly, thank you for allowing us to work for you. It’s been a pleasure, and we will treasure this experience as we head off to college.

From your soon to be graduated editors-in-chief,
Alex Goldbeck and Atmika Iyer