Institutions never last. The Greeks and Romans made it, collectively, about 800 years. Entropy dictates that everything will fall apart, and institutions —governments, corporate systems, political groups, and newspapers—are certainly not exempt from that rule. We create symbols and mottos and traditions within these institutions, as an attempt to fortify our minds from the inevitable “decay” that we will someday face. At the end of the day, there is no true cure.
However, we can still fight decay. And hitching your wagon to an institution that’s exciting, that’s engaging, and that you find meaning in is very important. I believe The Franklin Post is just that.
I have been writing for the Franklin Post for almost four years. I have seen a lot of people write a lot of things (that was an intentionally vague sentence, I promise). It never ceases to amaze me the pure quality that a group of high school newspaper writers can produce month by month.
I believe that writing is the most important skill I’m going to take away from a depressing number of years spent in school. Regardless of what you end up doing after high school, you’re going to need to know how to string a few sentences together in some form or another.
I’ve done a lot of really stupid things in high school (what, he has? I’m shocked). But regardless of what I ended up doing, I could always come back to the Franklin Post as a place to ground me.
Every single staff member that I have interacted with, spoken to, or just observed, over the last four years, have all been kind, understanding, funny, intelligent, and most importantly, interesting people. I am not trying to give a vague, managerial farewell letter that puts everyone on the 4th floor in a good light so I can receive my pension in peace; I mean what I said.
As someone who does not possess the traits I described above, it feels good to be around others who you can look up to, and model your behavior after… With, of course, the great exception of Oscar Ponteri (just kidding… kind of).
Last year, I menaced one Ms. Elizabeth Kirsch. I was constant and unceasing in my tirade against her mental health. During one of our last issues of the 2022 school year, I was writing an article that gave a detailed plan on how Franklin might implement a “Franklin Day Parade.” This article was by my claim “satirical.” In reality, it read like a 600-word article bashing every academic group, institution, class, or revered moment in the history of Franklin High School.
Ms. Kirsch and my editor read the article; they were not amused. Rightfully, they politely asked me to change the tone of my article and add some substance that wasn’t just my opinion. Instead of agreeing with them and changing my article based on their input, or even trying to reach a middle ground, I argued. This continued for multiple days. Each time they asked me to just “please change this one part of the article” over Google Docs’s commenting tool, out of an unearned sense of pride for my article, I denied it. Eventually, Ms. Kirsch set up an in-person meeting between herself, my editor, me, and a climate coach at Franklin. I was terrified that I was going to be yelled at or “chewed out” as they say. Instead, Ms. Kirsch showed concern for me. She was worried about me. She didn’t get angry, she didn’t show resentment towards me for slowing the editing process down by multiple days; she was only understanding. That was something I had not experienced before.
If you can find an institution, led by somebody that has empathy and passion for their work, stay with it. Many institutions do not have a leader like that.
The great thing about the Franklin Post is what it represents. It is a place people go to be generative. To create something. Being in a room that values students who have a sense of creativity is freeing. I have been in many classrooms with many different teachers, where any sense of open discussion is thrown out the window.
Moreover, The Post has been a place that isn’t just about having fun, Joshing around, Joshing about, Joshing off, and Joshing to and fro; it is a student-run institution. I have seen my peers take on more and more responsibility, and refuse to fold under the pressure. Writing an article takes a lot of focused time and energy. You use your brain. Editing multiple articles while simultaneously writing one is a whole other level of responsibility. But our staff still manages to put out an entire newspaper issue every month.
Dedicating that much time to a class is something that I was fearful of when I first joined The Post. I was skeptical that I could do it. For many people, it wasn’t so daunting; coming up with an idea for an article, gathering information, getting interviews, and writing an entire article every month for an entire school year wasn’t so scary. But I came in unprepared. I was a poor writer, I had few original, interesting, or relevant story ideas, and I lacked any sense of punctuality or communication skills. But The Franklin Post helped change me.
Even though I may not have realized it at the time, The Post has always been a safe, stable place for me. I would 10/10 recommend The Post for everyone at Franklin. Even if your plans for the future don’t involve journalism or writing, at the end of the day, the class is fun. Join The Post pretty please, you’ll like it, I promise.