Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

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LEDITOR: Closing Thoughts

Outgoing editor-in-chief reflects on her newspaper experience
Senior+Kai+Lincke+adjusts+her+camera+settings+while+taking+pictures+at+the+Spring+Fling+on+April+29.
Zoe Feinberg
Senior Kai Lincke adjusts her camera settings while taking pictures at the Spring Fling on April 29.

Dear Readers,

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been rewinding the highlight reels of my four years at Haven. Amidst the awkward school dances and boisterous pep rallies, research papers and math homework, there has always been one constant: the Panther Press. 

I walked into the media lab as an unsure freshman, learning the basics of photography and video in Ms. Plows’ Visual Communications class. Just by luck, or maybe by fate, the Panther Press editor-in-chief, Maddie Marks, frequently worked on the paper in the media lab during her independent study, the same block as my class. I was intrigued by her work and wanted to learn more. One day after class, I worked up the courage to stay for the staff meeting. I was timid and reserved at first, unsure how I fit in amongst a group of animated upperclassmen, but by the end of the meeting, I had signed up to write an article about Earth Day.

With each publication, the design has improved, our staff has grown, and our writers have become more confident. I am so proud of all that our staff has accomplished this year—most of all, their commitment to jumping in and telling our school’s story. I didn’t have particular knowledge or passion about Earth Day, but I was determined to write the best darn Earth Day article this school had ever seen. I pored over the Panther Press website, trying to pick up journalistic lingo and formatting from the posted articles. I can still feel my heart racing and legs quivering as I worked up the nerve to interview teachers and students for the article. When the article was printed one month later, I sent an ecstatic text to my parents: “I’M PUBLISHED!”

With each publication, the design has improved, our staff has grown, and our writers have become more confident. I am so proud of all that our staff has accomplished this year—most of all, their commitment to jumping in and telling our school’s story. 

— Kai Lincke

That moment is one of the standouts in my highlight reel. From that day on, this newspaper has had a prominent role in my life. I’ve spent the last three years practicing design and writing skills and sitting with upperclassmen staff to observe their process. 

This year, I had the incredible opportunity to lead the newspaper as editor-in-chief. When I inherited the newspaper last June, I knew I had a monumental task ahead of me: returning to print publications after a year of publishing online. Reviving this format meant expanding our staff, and rebuilding our role within the school. It was challenging to find our footing again, but we pushed through. With each publication, the design has improved, our staff has grown, and our writers have become more confident. I am so proud of all that our staff has accomplished this year—most of all, their commitment to jumping in and telling our school’s story. 

This position has been both everything and nothing like I expected. Serving as editor-in-chief has been one of the most stressful and rewarding opportunities of my high school career. While I’ve had the opportunity to tell many amazing stories this year, I often felt a massive responsibility to ensure that our newspaper captured it all and put pressure on myself to produce publications that documented all aspects of school life. I had New York Times-level aspirations at a high school newspaper. It took me a long time to accept that my big goals weren’t realistic for our publication. 

The pressure of producing an eight- to twelve-page publication often felt like a huge weight on my chest. There were some days when the newspaper defeated me, and I felt so much pressure that I struggled to come up for air. I think the most important thing I’ve learned this year is that it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s important to acknowledge our limits. It doesn’t make you weak, or a bad person. Constantly running around, trying to squeeze everything in isn’t healthy or sustainable. We can’t do it all, and people can’t help you if they don’t know you’re struggling. 

Though this newspaper has often been stressful, I owe so much to the Panther Press. This newspaper was here for me for every stage of my high school journey. This newspaper was my introduction to journalism and sparked my love of storytelling. Writing articles about COVID procedures helped me to process my anxiety about returning to in-person learning, and researching college admissions provided an outlet for me after I didn’t get into my dream school. 

Three years later, there still is nothing like opening a freshly printed newspaper and seeing my name in print. Folding through our old newspapers is like taking a walk down memory lane. I was part of the Panther Press when we covered new Chromebooks and new administrators, when we addressed stress and student mental health, and when we reported on the band’s masked mini-season. Each newspaper provides a snapshot in time, a glimpse into student life at Strath Haven. I almost can’t remember what my life was like without the Panther Press. As an underclassman, I found a community that welcomed me with open arms and showed me the ropes. As an upperclassman, I’ve had the opportunity to teach younger students about journalism and the power of student voices. 

None of this coverage would be possible without our staff. I am so proud of my team and all that we have documented this year. Editors, thank you for guiding your writers and contributing your great ideas to this paper. 

Writers, thank you for jumping in to document this historic year. Most of you were new to journalism, but you quickly embraced this newspaper and committed to covering our school’s stories. Designers, thank you for saving me (often at the last minute) when I wasn’t sure how to “make things look better.” Staff, each and every one of you is critical to this newspaper, and I appreciate you all so much. 

Thank you to Mrs. Munn and Mr. Zakrzewski for giving me the incredible opportunity to lead the Panther Press. Thank you to Maddie Marks, Evelyn Meeker, and Will Garrett for allowing me to sit with you and learn how to put a newspaper together. I’m so grateful that you believed in me and took that timid freshman under your wing. Thank you to Ms. Plows for exchanging “THAT’S A STORY!” emails with me and encouraging my love for journalism. Thank you to my family, especially my parents, for supporting me through many stressful send to press weeks (and always). 

I know that I am leaving the paper with an amazing incoming staff. I am elated to announce that the Panther Press will welcome two editors-in-chief next year, Matthew Chen and Julia Gray. Already, they have proven that they have a strong work ethic, creative perspective, dedication to the publication, and care for others. Their writing, design, and photography skills will guide them well throughout the process. Matt and Gray, thank you both for stepping up and helping me to finish this issue. I am so grateful for all of your work. 

Thank you readers for picking up our paper. Whether you’re here for the latest school news or the crossword, I’m so grateful that you’re taking the time to consider our staff’s work. If you see something you like here, get involved! The newspaper is always happy to have fresh perspective. 

As June speeds by, I know it’s time to say goodbye to this paper—this beautiful, stressful, wonderful paper. I also know that the Panther Press will always be part of me. I am so grateful for all of the lessons and experiences that it has given me, most importantly the appreciation for stories and news. I’ve learned that everyone has a story if you take time to get to know them. Strath Haven, thank you for sharing yours. 

Warmly, 

Kai Lincke 

Panther Press Editor-in-chief, 2021-2022 

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Kai Lincke
Kai Lincke, Editor-in-Chief
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