A Look Back on My Years with The Orange
By Sophia Alexandrou
My first meeting with The Orange as a freshman was filled with anticipation. As an exceedingly opinionated middle-schooler, itching to write about controversial political topics with more rhetorical freedom than may be appropriate for a middle-school newspaper, I had experienced a lot of issues with censorship with the Highlands newspaper, "The Courier." I was consistently told that while these editorials were a little much for a middle-school newspaper, they will find a sure home with "The Orange." After four years with this paper, I can confidently say that they have -- and so have I.
Reading and writing can often seem like a chore for an already overworked high schooler who is required to do these activities for their classes. This makes these our meetings with students every week who are genuinely passionate about these pursuits such incredible and productive environments. Though I spent the latter half of these years of meetings in front of the club as Editor-in-Chief, they always felt like big conversations about school happenings or world events or whatever the topic of the next article would be. Whether these meetings had four or twenty members, they were uniquely academic, comfortable, and collaborative settings that I will deeply miss.
"The Orange" has given me the best outlet I could possibly find to express my passion for politics and advocacy work. There is no rush quite like writing a scathing editorial about a political issue I feel immensely passionate about. It is both exhilarating and therapeutic. I remember writing in just 45 minutes an 1,800-word article about the Black Lives Matter movement when I was a freshman. It had to be split into two separate articles because an almost 2,000-word article is a bit absurd. At the time, that was the most proud I had been about my writing abilities. An article I wrote about the (then rumored) overturning of Roe v Wade and therefore abandoning of any federal protections for abortion in my junior year was one that brought me immense pride as well. More recently, I tried my hand at satirical writing, mocking the sub-par quality of some of the parking jobs in the student parking lot in the copy of "The Lemon," a long-lost tradition I lobbied to revive. Whatever I am writing, as long as I can utilize some deep-seated passion held for the topic, it will never feel like a chore.
After I have said my goodbyes, I hope future editions of "The Orange" include some deep dives on the complete war zone that the 2024 presidential election will become. I hope they cover developments in social movements regarding issues like gun control and police brutality. Most of all I hope that the staff continue to feel as comfortable with making their editorials as scathing as they want, as I have all these years.
To the future or present staff writers or editors, if there is one message I want to communicate, it is to find comfort with your voice. There is nothing more unique about a person than their voice, and to waste this gift because of fatigue or insecurity would be doing the world and yourself a great disservice. Yes, you may write pieces that aren’t very good now and again -- that is inevitable -- but that is why you keep writing. And after all, that is what editors are for. 😊
"The Orange" has been the highlight of my high school career, and though I will no longer be able to continue my work with it, I will continue to carry the lessons I learned with me. Stay juicy, Orange. I’ll see you online.