Anna (left) and Maddy (right) are entering their fourth year in the journalism program. (Ann Henning)
Anna (left) and Maddy (right) are entering their fourth year in the journalism program.

Ann Henning

Editor’s Note: New Beginnings

September 3, 2020

Meet your new Co-Editor in Chiefs for 2020-2021, Madalynn Lewis and Anna Henning. Beginning the year has been different than anything previous leadership has had to navigate, but we are ready to face it head on. We have been close friends since freshman year, and we cannot wait to collaborate and mentor throughout the year.

Holding awards from conference “J-Day,” as sophomores dreaming of become leaders. (Ben DeGear)

New roles, an old friend

Hi everyone! My name is Madalynn Lewis, and I am the next Co-Editor in Chief with the lovely Anna Henning. I cannot speak highly enough of my Co-Editor in Chief. Anna has truly changed my life for the better and seems to know me better than I know myself. We have actually known each other since fifth grade, but our paths had never crossed until our freshman year when we both stumbled into room N123 for our first journalism class.

At that phase in my life I was incredibly dedicated to playing soccer, to the point where it was annoying for my friends and family. Anna was a ballerina. That was the extent of my knowledge. However, over the next couple of weeks it would become increasingly difficult to ignore that Anna and I were the same person. Needless to say, we were both shocked to realize we were both huge nerds. Star Wars was (and still is) Anna’s primary source of nerdom while I had (and still do have) an unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter. Luckily enough, we were both well versed in each other’s interests. As we began to get to know each other better, I was frustrated by the fact that I had known of Anna for nearly four years, and was just now getting to know her on a personal level. We played Cool Math Games literally everyday in the back of the classroom in between articles and bonded over our weird obsessions with fictional characters. As our freshman year concluded, we both knew that we had someone we could count on for anything. 

As we started sophomore year, Anna and I were both given leadership roles within the Etched in Stone staff. Anna started as the activities director while I became the sports director. By the middle of the year, we had become joined at the hip while we dreamed of becoming Co-Editors in Chief together. 

Flashforward, nearly two years later, we have achieved our collective goals and are ready to give Etched in Stone our hearts and souls. While we are both disappointed that COVID-19 has changed the role journalism plays in our lives, we acknowledge how lucky we are to have such a wonderful staff and advisor. They are truly the lifeblood of Etched in Stone. 

The process of creating a virtual class has really forced both Anna and myself to step up our game. We had to change our expectations for ourselves, the staff and the overall culture of Etched in Stone. It was really hard for both of us to compromise on our dreams for the class, but we both understand how important it was to adapt to a situation neither one of us had any control over. 

Over the summer, Anna and I decided to completely change the layout of the website. Neither one of us had any idea what we were doing, and it became obvious that I am essentially illiterate when it comes to technology. Nonetheless, I gave it my best shot. I had completely broken the website multiple times, at one point every letter color was white; we could not see any word on the website for several weeks. Over the next couple of months I had begun to figure it out, and did my best to explain to Anna how to change widgets and schemes. When we were able to work on it together, we screamed with joy when we were able to shift one ad space over. 

I am so beyond excited for this year and I feel ready to officially start being an Editor in Chief. 

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Carrying on a legacy

Maddy Lewis and I could not be more thrilled to step into this position. We have been a part of the journalism program since our freshman year. Although, we think of it as less of a program and more of a family.

During freshman transition day, I remember going into Journalism I and being terrified. With my social anxiety at its peak, I was so scared to hear my teacher, Ben DeGear, say that I would interview people and publish my writing for all students to see. I decided that I would drop the class later that week. But, on my first day with the older staff, I fell in love with the program. Everyone was so excited to start the year, talking about all the different things they would write. I was in the corner of the room, reading my book and trying my best to be invisible. But, Karen Manley being the bubbly person she is, pulled me in along with the rest of the freshmen to be involved and included with the other staff members. It was in that moment that I realized this is where I was meant to be, and journalism has grown to be one of the most important parts of my high school experience. 

At the start of my freshman year, I never pictured myself leading a program, a class, a family. But, I remember beginning to dream with Maddy. When the seniors finished their presentations at the end of that school year, with everyone in tears, Maddy and I realized how much the program would truly come to mean to us. She turned to me and said, “I can’t wait until that’s us.”

Senior year rolled around faster than I expected, and Maddy and I were named Co-Editor in Chiefs. We were ecstatic. I was going to lead alongside one of my best friends, and we knew we would make the perfect pair of editors. We have slightly different personalities that complement each other so well, and with our color coded notebooks we were ready to take on the year. 

Beginning the summer, Maddy and I began envisioning how to turn our dreams into goals. It began to fully dawn on me what being an Editor in Chief meant. We got to make all the changes we ever wanted. We changed the website, class structure, and staff expectations. However, as we began to create our several pages of goals, we did not even consider the idea of not being back in school. We were blinded by our excitement for senior year, and could not possibly picture the pandemic lasting so long. 

There were lots of tears and fears for our senior year, as Maddy and I mourned the loss of the perfect year we had imagined. But, we quickly turned our feelings around and we were determined once more. We rewrote our goals and with the support of Ben DeGear and our amazing leadership team, and we were ready to lead to the best of our abilities. The excitement of leading returned, and we were hoping to support our staff not only with writing, but also with life. We hope to be “the legendary Co-Editor in Chiefs of the pandemic,” because our year will be different than any other Editor in Chief before us. 

I cannot think of anyone I would rather go through this experience with than Maddy. We have grown, watching amazing Editor in Chiefs before us—Serena Bettis, Karen Manley and Olivia Doro, Macy Fowler and Liam Flake. We are so grateful and excited to be the next generation of leaders. Maddy and I hope that we can carry on their legacy, and support our staff the best we can in the middle of this pandemic.

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