Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Chew on this 

Getting to the root of the story.

Jun 8, 2023

If you were a tooth what tooth would you be?

Personally, I would be the tooth to the left of the front one. 

It is not a very good question. Mouths don’t have that many teeth, and most of these teeth look the same and don’t have names. 

I understand the absurdity of the question, but that doesn’t stop me asking it to practically everyone I know. Maybe it is this absurdity that gets a conversation started, but whenever I ask that question, it doesn’t end at the teeth. We talk, and, the more I ask, the more I chip away at their story. 

Stories are sealants. Extracting them fills the holes in our community; it connects people to friends, strangers, and information in a material way. 

I knew telling these stories was going to be important, and a big responsibility, when I was named as editor-in-chief. That made it even more terrifying. 

I ran down the stairs (in my socks) to walk to former editor-in-chief Kai Lincke’s house last summer. Suddenly, I was tumbling down, and, when my frantic summersaults came to an end, I violently landed on my butt.

My parents were away for the weekend, and, at the time, I couldn’t drive, so I hobbled over to Kai’s house. 

I sat down (on a very hard chair) and tried my very best to take in the information that Kai was drilling into Matt and me. I have never felt so unprepared and my butt had never hurt so much. 

When I was limping home, I was considering quitting right there. I wanted nothing more than to lie down in the grass and text Kai, “Sorry, but I don’t think I can do this.” 

That was the beginning of a long year of perseverance. I didn’t send that text, I didn’t collapse into the grass. 

My first story of the year was about e-hallpass. The words didn’t come easily, and I, truly, had very little idea what I was doing. 

I had fun, though. 

Telling a story, and a story that a lot of people had been talking about, was fun. When people read it, it felt not only like my work mattered, but that, maybe, I made the right choice when I hobbled home that summer day. 

Every story I tell becomes my new favorite. Not only because I think I improve with every one, but because every story represents a new opportunity to affix the Panther Press’s readership to a new perspective.

Sometimes sharing new perspectives comes with criticism. At the beginning of the year, I was horror-struck by it, bracing for impact every time a new issue came out in print or a story came out on the website. Now though, although it can be scary, my commitment to defending my team, while also taking constructive criticism, has never been stronger. Our staff’s story, from inexperienced writers to seasoned student journalists has grown with each one that we write. 

There isn’t a cavity in this community that isn’t flourishing with life and experiences; thank you for letting me tell the stories of them.

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Photo of Julia Gray
Julia Gray '23, Editor-in-Chief

Julia Gray is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of the Panther Press. When she is not working on the newspaper, she likes to dance, read, and play with her three dogs.

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