The 2013-14 Talon staff’s senior columns



“How can I title a goodbye”

By Olivia Bennett

I’m horrible at goodbyes. Whether it be saying goodbye to someone I know I’ll see tomorrow, or someone I’ll never see again, I never say enough or I say too much. The absence of realization that I will never see some of these people again is the only thing that keeps me sane.

Coming into this class as a sophomore, I was surrounded by smarter, creative-r, designier, better writer-ers. I sat in the corner of the classroom, completely unaware of how to use InDesign and with a mind full of words that I was unable to express on paper. As the years progressed, however, my confidence changed, my ability to express words went from a 1/10 to a 4/10, and I finally could place text on a page with a pica indent exquisitely.

There is no simple way for me to sum up the years that I have had here at Rochester High, especially not the ones that occured in B123 after hours. There is not a correct amount of Valentine’s cards I could hand out with pieces of candy to show my gratitude towards these people. These people, of course, being my Talon classmates.

To my ultimate Talon-backbone, AJ, I want to thank you for sometimes making me laugh and matching my obsession with Alex Turner.

To my inspiration, Danielle, I want to thank you for always indirectly holding my incredibly sweaty hand while I struggled, even when you didn’t know that you did.

To my fakest real friend, Melody, I want to thank you for always telling me how it is and how it should be, even though you think you’ve never done that.

To my favorite poet, Maya Angelou Sarah Angela Walwema, I want to thank you for actually not writings poems, cause god knows there’s too many poets in the world already.

To my cheer up buddy, Zach, I want to thank you for always being caring and for not getting a concussion on my watch.

To my editor-in-chief, Cami, I want to thank you for always being the most kind-hearted, smart and talented boss I will ever have in my life.

Last but not least, to Mrs. Satterthwaite, I would like to thank you for your toughness of the world around you and realism of high school. You have developed me as a writer, as a designer, and a person.

I have no Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift comment to say that will leave my fans stunned, but I do have the realest words I can give. Leaving the Talon this year does nothing but create a hole in my heart that can never be filled. I am horrible at goodbyes, and I know this will be the hardest goodbye that high school will ever make me say. Surfboard.


By Camille Douglas

If that cheesy saying about how high school is the best part of your life is true, then I’m pretty much screwed. Not that I had a particularly bad high school experience. In fact, there are memories that I am extremely fond of and will cherish forever. However, when I graduate, I don’t want to grieve about how my best years are behind me. I want to celebrate instead.

I want to celebrate because I’m going to my dream college, MSU, this upcoming fall. I couldn’t be more excited and proud to finally call myself a Spartan.

I want to celebrate because I made it out of high school with good self-esteem. I was ranked among my peers, told exactly how many people were apparently smarter than me and how many were supposedly dumber. I was packed in a building with 1,500 other kids my age, being compared to them by complete strangers, and I made it through.

I want to celebrate because I completed three years on The Talon staff. I’ve been to school for an interview at 6:30 a.m. and I’ve stayed at deadline until 9 p.m. There were times I wanted to quit because, “Oh that would be so easy.” It would be so easy not have a deadline, or an interview, or a list of edits to fix or a page to design. But there’s always a certain satisfaction that comes with achieving something that has value to you. I value the awards I’ve won and even more, I value the friends I’ve made for years to come.

I want to celebrate those friends I made on staff. They’re the people that I have became a close-knit second family with. They are an amazing group of students who have inspired me and an incredible adviser who has been my mentor. They believed in me, cheered me on, were always there for me. These people shaped my life impermeably and forever. And for these past three years, The Talon staff became like my twin pillars, without whom I cannot stand.

I want to celebrate because life will go on despite my grade in Pre-Calculus right now. Because my heart kept beating and my lungs kept inflating even after I didn’t get that internship. Because I was never asked to a school dance, but went anyway. Because my friends and I are all off to college and because I have a wonderful family that will support me and love me no matter what. I reject that saying about high school being the best years of my life because I know it to be false. The future is scary and there’s nothing I can do about that, at least not today. But there’s greatness out there, and it can’t be contained by four years of high school.


By Paige Farnsworth

Four years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect walking into those front doors of RHS. Was it going to be like the movies? To succeed, did you have to be popular? The nerves ran through my body, my heart began to race, and I didn’t know what to feel or who to make myself out to be for the next four years of my life. But there I was on the first day: wandering the unknown hallways with hundreds of faces I’ve never seen.

Through the next four years, it was an interesting phenomenon how some of those faces became so much more familiar to me. While the faces I’ve known my whole life became strangers. All those thoughts swirling in my head freshmen year about having to change yourself to become “popular” mean nothing to me now. You become the person you want to be and affiliate yourself with people of the same interests. Being an underclassman I always had the mentality that more friends, the better. However, it’s the complete opposite for me today. I’ve realized now that it’s more important to stay true to yourself than trying to maintain friendships that are not beneficial.  I feel like this realization is going to help me out more than anything for the years to come.

I find myself a freshman again; however my fears are less irrational. I no longer care about fitting in; I see myself caring more about my career and future goals. My anxieties are more genuine. Is Psychology the correct career path for me? Is Central Michigan the correct University? These anxieties will have an impact on my life for many years to come. It’s not just about who I hang out with anymore, it’s more about me.

These are my next steps, and mine alone. I am laying the groundwork for what could possibly be the rest of my life. Does this mean I don’t need anybody? No. What I have learned most from my four years at Rochester High School is that it’s not about popularity, it’s about finding those who will walk besides you.

“From Humble Beginnings”

By Grant McPherson

My high school experience was a very great one. I had a great time with the two years on The Talon staff. From the humble beginning of freshman year when I thought I was on top of the world, to where I am now: a graduating senior.

When I was a freshman, I had Mrs. Satterthwaite for Language Arts. She told me that I had a knack for writing stories and that I should take Journalism 1 and try to join the Newspaper staff. So I did. I got into Journalism 1 for sophomore year, and I eventually joined The Talon staff, writing mostly sports stories and reviews.

Being a sophomore in Journalism 1 was a great time with Ms. Schrems. She introduced me into what I could look for if I was to join The Talon. I started off writing many tiny random “wraps” of any sport event I watched, keeping track of any specific statistics or cool things that the announcer would say. One time I covered a three game series for the Detroit Tigers when they played against the Minnesota Twins. I wrote a short summary for every game, talking about how each pitcher had done.

As a junior, I had finally made it on The Talon staff. I started off writing many little stories, just getting my feet wet as some would say. I worked my way up to the point where I was putting some stories in the paper every once in a while. I also helped design some pages in my first year. As it being senior year now, I still can’t really make a great designed page, but I can still write a decent story and one that most people would definitely enjoy reading.

As a senior, I have found my spot on the newspaper as a sports writer and helping designing the best way I know how.  As a student, I have never had a better year than this one. I have enjoyed my ride through high school, and I am upset that this ride is going to close down soon.

My high school life was a very good one. I wouldn’t have done many things differently than what I have done. I can’t wait to be in college and hopefully writing for a great newspaper like the Detroit Free Press in the future.


“Classroom Enjoyment”

By A.J. Prisciandaro

Sometimes it may not look like it, but I’ve always been self-conscious. Socially, my mind is always concerned about what other people are thinking about me, even in the midst of a conversation. What did they think of that comment I just made? Was it cool or did it come off weird? Do they want me to keep talking or am I being a little too annoying?

Being close to graduation after four years of high school experience, these minor anxieties certainly aren’t as much as a threat in my everyday social life as they were when I walked into Rochester High’s doors for the first time as a timid little freshman. However, they were still the biggest source of stress in high school- bigger than any monstrous amounts of homework I had- because I realized over some time that being appreciated and accepted by others outside my family was my number one goal in everyday life; getting good grades took a backseat.

This may be because after middle school, I felt kind of alone. During my three years at West, I was an easy kid to get along with, but not one that had a group of tight-knit friends that hung out together. I drifted apart from the guys who I was neighbors and such good friends with in elementary school, mainly because I was too shy to talk to new people. I put barriers up in my mind between me and anyone considered “popular,” including some of my old friends. I felt so beneath them and insignificant.

Coming in as a freshman, still wearing nerdy-looking glasses on an everyday basis, I was afraid this feeling would just carry over to high school, and for a period it did. I remember dreading the day of my birthday during freshman year, because the time would come when my parents would ask me what I want to do for a party, and I would have no school friends I’d feel comfortable inviting over. The feeling of exclusion, of rejection from a group of people you want to belong to, is one of the worst feelings you can have, and is unfortunately one I think every high schooler- no matter how many friends it appears they have on the outside- must go through at some point.

It was sophomore year when things luckily started to turn around for me. After two years of being around certain classmates, I was starting to forge friendships. And it was my baseball teammates- the same ones I felt painfully excluded from the year before- who I credit for making me discover something that I wasn’t always sure I had- an effective sense of humor. I still was self-conscious and I still put up barriers around certain people (I still do that today), but everyday life in school was becoming a whole lot more enjoyable. I felt confidence in my personality in that I could make people laugh and become friends with new people I’d never met before.

Which finally brings me to the subject of The Talon. I joined The Talon junior year because I showed a knack for writing in my 10th grade journalism class, and I enjoyed doing it. What I ended up loving about The Talon wasn’t the work as much as it was the classroom environment where it was a judge-free zone, where I was with people I could just have fun around. There were no barriers to put up, nothing to feel overly self-conscious about, just a lot of people I could joke around and make new friends with. I was more confident in my personality than I ever had before. The times at newspaper layout were honestly some of the best moments I can remember from junior year, and the relationships I built with people in the class stayed steady throughout my senior year and got even stronger during this past semester.

I really enjoyed writing the stories that I did and discovering that I actually do have a bit of talent in this field. Still, what I’ll remember most about The Talon is all the good times I had making people laugh and meeting new friends, and how it was integral in making me the kind of guy I am today as Rochester senior- a far cry from how I was when I first entered the doors four years ago.

“Dat Community Love”

By Aubrey Ritz

Coming into high school, all I thought was that I’d try my best to succeed in school so I could receive money for college even though I had no clue where I even wanted to go. Fear seemed to be with me through my high school journey. I was worried about upperclassmen which I soon realized some of the friendliest people were in fact upperclassmen. Not to mention, I was so afraid of what people had told me about how challenging high school was compared to middle school that led me to only do few activities outside of school my first year. I ended up trying out for a sport, which I barely had experience with, and stuck with it for three years after since it was so much fun! People seemed to try to scare me with taking an AP class but I knew it was something I wanted to try at least (which may have led to a lot of stress but it was completely fine in the end).

Every year I have tried doing something new. My sophomore year I joined Robotics which to be honest, I did not know any more about than the average person. I was judgmental and afraid at first to do something I thought I wouldn’t fit in to. Even though engineering may not be my cup of tea, the team became a second family to me since I spent so much time with them. That was one of the best decisions I made in high school. Sophomore year I didn’t hold back with joining clubs because I knew my prior fear was only damaging. My junior year I helped out with theater and that was something I wish I could have tried earlier since it was so amazing with how welcoming everyone was along with the fun of singing to the musical songs back stage. Even as a senior, I tried out the Talon in my last year which has been a lot of fun being a part of. RHS gives students the opportunity to be a part of more than one thing.

There are stereotypes in movies that people are defined as such as a jock, nerd, or stoner but in reality you don’t have to let that define you. It is true there are people that are going to be stereotypical and there will be people that aren’t honest. But don’t let that be you, and don’t judge others for it. I’ve lost friends, received a failing grade on a test before and have had sleepless nights from studying through high school. But at the same time, I’ve made so many new friends, I’ve learned how important it is to find friends that are real, I’ve participated in many diverse things and I somehow managed to come out of high school healthy and alive. Some say high school years are the best years of our lives, but I know there are much better things to come after.

“UPS Packages”

By Ambika Vohra

At a time like this, people usually reminisce and sigh, “I’ve learned a lot in high school.” And then they go on to thank everyone instrumental in their success. I was going to do the same, but I’m not going to lie to you – I feel like I’ve learned close to nothing academically. I memorized some curriculum and maybe learned how to do a couple of math problems, but the knowledge escapes me as soon as I regurgitate the information on paper. It’s like an ephemeral footprint in the sand. One breeze, and it’s gone without a vestige. But I can’t say that I’ve learned nothing in all respects. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I used to think all I wanted was to work hard, get a job, be successful. That was the game plan. But after meeting the people I have and learning from both some amazing and not-so-amazing teachers, I think the game plan should be slightly altered. And by slightly altered, I mean completely obliterated.

I realized I just want to be happy.

 And that is easier said than done. It sounds like an easy task  – you know those quotes. Be the change you wish to see. A positive outlook can change your life. Et cetera. I really could go on because I’ve read my fair share of inspirational quotes, but for your sake, I’ll just tell you that being positive is no easy feat. When you have to do things that you didn’t necessarily sign up to do and just continue a monotonous schedule with little to no variation, life looks pretty bleak from every angle. All you want to do is give up, sit there, eat rocky road ice cream, and pity yourself. I understand that, considering I’ve basically followed the same schedule of school, home, school, home for about twelve years. Every day I used to wake up thinking, “Tomorrow will be different. One day everything will change.” I kept working for this future, this one determining moment, this one day everything would change and my hard work would reach its culmination of greatness. I thought change would arrive like a neat little UPS package. But that doesn’t happen. Reality doesn’t work that way. And now I know I need to build that package myself, albeit slowly. This building, this method of changing what life looks like cannot just happen due to experiences either. Everyone tells you that. They say, “Go out and do things.” Well, trust me. I’ve tried doing things, and that doesn’t help much either.

 The difference is all in the people you do things with.

 I equate it to this: imagine standing in line for three hours. It sucks, right? Imagine standing in line for three hours with someone you can laugh with, talk with, and connect with. Now, that three hours seems like a moment, and it is a three hours that felt less like a chore and more like a memory you’d want to keep. High school sucks. And sometimes, life sucks. You wake up every day to a blaring alarm, and then you have to go out and do things you probably don’t want to do. Summing it up that way sounds terrible. But the little bits in between, the knowing you have people who care about when you wake up and are waiting for you to return a call….that is a gift. A gift that is as satisfying to receive as an expedited neat little UPS package. So try your best to surround yourself with people who know you better than you know yourself. Also, as a final ending note, I have a disclaimer. I don’t take any of the cheesy advice I give.

So, anyone up for some rocky road or what?

By Sarah Walwema

There’s nothing better than watching behind the scenes features after watching a movie. Or roaming the school hallways after everyone–except Mr. Rowland who probably lives here–is gone. Or helping build the sets to the school productions that always look so professional form the auditorium seats. That same feeling is something that I get monthly after being on the Talon staff for two years. Not only did I learn what it takes to consistently put out great visual and informational content, but I also got a little “behind the scenes” of everyone that I interviewed.

My favorite part of the Talon has always been getting a great interview. When you interview someone about something that they’re really passionate about, you become passionate about and you then get to write a story that hopefully more than three people will read (but what are you gonna do). That’s definitely the worst part about being on staff. To spend a whole month on an issue, staying in that god forsaken building hours and hours after the 2:28 bell has rung only to see someone flip through the issue for pictures of themselves and toss a whole month in the trash (and not even have the sense to recycle it).Despite seeing this  every time a new issue comes out, we truck on and do our best to put out content that the students at RHS would find interesting and helpful even if they don’t know it.

By becoming a student journalist, I’ve also forced myself to be more informed about my community by  finding out about the different events and issues that have to be covered in the paper.With the help of an amazing advisor, mentor, and friend, I was able to consistently be put out of my comfort zone.  I never thought that I would be standing along the Detroit River while a hydroplane mechanic tells me about the history of the APBA (American Power Boat Association) Challenge Cup. I never thought that I would learn of the struggles that RHS students with IEP(Individualized Education Program) and 504 plans face  trying to get an education like everyone else. I also never thought I would care about these things, but how could I not after seeing how they influence the people I see on a daily basis?


“A figurative farewell”

By Melanie Wong

So… this is it, huh? We’ve been together for four years, and this is how it ends. I must admit, you were a huge pain in the ass (figuratively, of course) and you constantly left me in excruciating (mental) pain after a hard day’s work. I’ll never forget all of those times where we stayed up all night to get down and dirty to finish those damn physics problems that I never understood. Or those occasions when we would go to the library after class to “study,” but we would get a bit mischievous and end up moving to the back of the room and squealed with delight as we laughed at the pictures of the seniors from previous years in the showcase… yep those were the wild days.

When we were first acquainted, I didn’t feel very comfortable around you. I was unable to read you, and you led me down so many different paths—you were just too unpredictable. But as we spent more time together, I was gradually beginning to understand my place within you. And as much as I wanted to avoid you, it was nearly impossible because we would be with each other five times a week for seven hours a day. The only times of separation we had were during special holidays and the summer months, then we would be reunited again. But this time, we’re parting for good. This just isn’t going to work out anymore. You’re staying here in Rochester while I move on to bigger and better places—I’ve never been good with maintaining long distance relationships anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I will miss you and am grateful for the opportunities you’ve presented me. You’ve left me with many fond memories and helped me meet some of the greatest people (and the worst). Because of you, I was able to become more active and social by surrounding myself with friends and teachers who had a significant influence on my life and shaped me into the person I am today. I don’t think I’d be the same if I went someplace else and wasn’t familiarized with you, and I’m pretty happy with how I am now.

I still maintain mixed feelings about you. I want to thank you for all you have done for me regarding the social aspects of my life. But at the same time, I want to say screw you for giving me throbbing headaches and anxiety on a weekly basis. I love you, but you weren’t worth waking up at 6 AM for—sorry! This whole experience with you has been a ride that I both loathed and enjoyed, but it will be something I look back on and reminisce. With that, I am leaving you with a farewell, but farewells are not forever and I may come back to see you one day. So long, my ex-lover, let us both be free!

“As the years fly”

By Melody Zhang

I want to thank the individuals in The Talon who have made me a better, stronger, and more passionate person; the same people who have taught me teamwork, patience, and perseverance in my junior and senior year. A special thanks goes out to my adviser, Julia Satterthwaite, for supporting me in so many ways and understanding and working with me whenever I was struggling to keep up. Throughout my time here, I have been truly inspired by the undying passion and spirit exuberated every day in class and in every layout.

In The Talon, I learned how to write better, news-worthy stories, how to take pictures with a reporter’s eye, and how to create and think like a designer. But most of all, I learned how to work with all sorts of people – from working with my best friend to people I would never have talked to if it weren’t for the newspaper. I learned that often times, producing quality news can take a lot of relationship work as well.

If you are looking for a class that will be your family and your support in nearly all aspects of life, I fully recommend joining The Talon. These people will sing with you, design your page for you when you are drowning in work, buy food for and with you, and most importantly, be there for you when you most need it. Talon love. Real big.

Thank you to my parents for putting up with me for 18 grueling years, and for their financial support through whatever I felt like experimenting with or had a hard time with especially in high school.

I also extend a huge thanks to many of the individuals in the Sisterhood Class of ‘14 for helping me stand up over and over again during the darkest times in my life. Without you, my junior year would have been so much harder than it already was.

I would lastly like to thank Team Pho for being there for me as my counselors, my helping hand, and some of my best friends this past year.

I sincerely hope to keep in touch with all of you. Peace out, Class of ‘14, let’s make a lasting difference together!


Thank you

By Zach Libby

There isn’t anything more exciting than receiving a media credential for a sporting event.

The immediate thoughts of feeling important and wanted swirl through my mind as I walk into the press box, waiting for the event to begin.

That’s just one of the many incentives of being a serious sports journalist. As senior at RHS, I never thought coming into my freshman year that I would already know what I wanted to be when I got older.

During my three years at Reuther middle school, I struggled to find something that I was exceptional in. I played football but was one of the smallest kids on the heavyweight team. I wrestled but couldn’t seem to win a match. School work didn’t come easy to me, as did making friends and being social. But in eighth grade, on a typical Sunday afternoon, I finally found my calling in life.

Sunday’s back then were the best. Even though the weekend was coming to a close, I always looked forward to them because of the fact that the new issue of Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazine came in the mail.

With no Twitter account and limited access to the internet, it was difficult to receive sporting news on a day-to-day basis. Besides watching Sportscenter every morning, reading both of my favorite magazines was my one stop shop in getting caught up in the world of sports.

It was this one particular issue of SI that caught my attention, however. In the advertisement page in the middle of the magazine, it read: “Calling all aspiring sports journalists! Children between the ages of 12-18 are invited to a week long camp in Baltimore, Maryland to learn what it takes to become a sports journalist.”

It didn’t take long to convince my parents to let me travel all the way to Baltimore alone just so I could attend a sports journalism camp. They could easily tell that I truly wanted to do this and would do anything in order for them to let me go.

After spending a week in one of the greatest cities in the United States, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a sports journalist. I wanted to be the person that everyone counted on for their sporting news. I wanted to be the person that could have a job that they loved doing every single day.

I sport that I wanted to focus on (I still do today) is basketball, particularly the NBA. Even though I had absolutely zero talent on the hardwood, I still enjoyed the game and the superstars that play it.

My first ever attempt as a sports journalist was a blog that I created called “The Half Court Shot”. The name was a tribute to Chauncey Billups’ game-tying shot in game five of the 2004 playoffs against the New Jersey Nets. The blog helped me find a way to get my feet wet during my first crack at the profession.

Thanks to my commitment to the blog, I finally had the courage to join the Talon staff my junior year. Writing for the newspaper was something I always wanted to do but never thought I had enough experience to be a member of the newspaper. Signing up for that class was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my four years at Rochester High. My confidence in my writing, editing and designing has allowed me branch off and go the extra mile in terms of my aspiring career.

Before I leave high school and venture off to do something great with my life, just like everyone else in the class of 2014, I have to say thank you to Mrs. Satterthwaite, who has made a significant impact in my life.

Julia, you are one incredible teacher that always brings fun and excitement to the Talon room every day. Although I sometimes struggled with your deadlines and couldn’t seem to design a perfect page, you still believed in me as a journalist, student and person. I can’t believe that I have to say goodbye after two memorable years in B123.

I also want to thank everyone on staff the past two years that has put their heart and souls into the newspaper. This people on the Talon blow my mind in terms of the amount of work they put into their writing and designing. I have learned so much from every single individual and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of you.