Reflecting on my role in Room 144

Charlotte Parent '21, Editor in Chief

Photo by Stewart Fine Portraits of Charlotte Parent ’21.

As I sit here, cursor blinking on the screen, I’m met with the insurmountable task of putting my years on Tower– my years as a student journalist, my years of growth and friendships and change– into just 575 words. Even now, I’m cutting into the word limit. I’m not quite sure how I can accurately describe how Tower has improved and impacted my life, but here we go.

Before freshman year, I had no experience with journalism. Sure, I did New York Times crosswords when I was bored, filling in the leftover squares after my dad had finished puzzling through it. Of course, I skimmed through the different articles and stories that popped up on Instagram and Snapchat. However, I had no idea about the true extent and efforts of what went on behind the scenes. As I moved up the ranks, I began to learn these ins and outs of the paper, eventually becoming the man behind the curtain.

In honors journalism, I was enamored with the paper. I thought everything about it, from the teamwork to the different styles of writing and stories, was, quite literally, the coolest thing ever. Sophomore year, I was just as eager to be on staff as a copy editor. I took my role seriously and was determined to do my best to make the paper shine– even if most of my efforts were in the form of leaving too many copy edits on people’s columns.

As the years went on, I soaked up everything Tower offered. I stayed late at deadlines, copy editing (often overzealously) pages and grabbing photos when needed. I attended MIPA summer camps and workshops in New York or Washington, D.C. I began to find a place for myself at South. Tower allowed me to find who I was in the large (and sometimes overwhelming) world of high school, and I loved it for that.

With this, I would not be here without the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Jackson, I’m honored to have been co-Editor-in-Chief with you in this crazy, upside-down year. I enjoyed every moment and deadline, from the smooth to the hectic.

To the staff, thank you for all of your hard work and continual dedication to the paper. To uphold a weekly tradition in a pandemic, fully virtually, half-in and half-out of school, and every which way in between, is something to be immensely proud of. I’m rooting for you, every step of the way.

To Edge, words cannot express how much you’ve impacted me. You helped me transform from the shy freshman that walked in the doors to Room 144 four years ago into the person I am today. Thank you for your dedication and your compassion for all of us on staff. Your passion for the paper and for us is obvious.

To my teachers, I echo the same sentiment. I look up to every one of you and have emerged a changed person from every single class. It’s a bit surreal to realize I won’t be eagerly comparing schedules this August, carrying textbooks to my car and figuring out the fastest route from class to class. Thank you all for shaping my education and pushing me to do my very best, day in and day out.

To my parents, friends, brothers and sister, thank you for always being there to support me. You never fail to talk sense into me when I start to take every single thing a little too seriously. You are my rocks and support line, and I wouldn’t be here without you all.

To the staffers who still have a few years left, treasure this time. It will go much faster than you think. One second you’re writing down sources and potential ideas on who to interview, and suddenly you look up and you’re finishing your senior column.

I cannot thank this paper enough for giving me the experiences and life-changing opportunities I’ve been fortunate to have. I can only hope that I’ve made my mark on this award-winning paper. As I look to my future at the University of Michigan and beyond, I’m confident my time on The Tower has prepared me for whatever comes next.

Right over left,

Charlotte Parent