Letter from the Editor

To our readers, our staff, and our adviser,

Ask me to write a news story and I can have it done in under an hour, ask me to write a letter from myself talking about the last couple of years and all they have entailed, and I will stare at a blank document unable to find the words to express everything that happened and how much it meant to me, how much it shaped me as a person, and how much it will continue to after I have graduated. The one all encompassing statement that seems so obvious and yet is the only phrase that comes to mind is Thank You. So to everyone who came along on this journey with me, whether it be from inside the classroom, or by reading my stories on the website, thank you.

At the end of my Freshman year when applications for newspaper and yearbook staff were available, I originally applied to be on the yearbook staff. I had taken Yearbook in middle school and had always enjoyed writing feature stories the most, so I thought this would be a good fit for me. However, our adviser thought otherwise. She approached me and recommended I switch to newspaper staff and asked me if I would be interested in coming on as copy editor for my first year on staff. I agreed to both and entered sophomore year as a reporter and copy editor on the 2018-2019 Trailblazer Staff. The year was filled with ups and downs but I learned a lot through it all, including that I preferred writing news stories to features so it was a good thing I didn’t end up on the yearbook staff. Shout out to Ms. Proctor for recommending I switch, you were very right and I’m glad you told me. 

At the end of Sophomore year I applied to be Editor-In-Chief and served as Co Editor-In-Chief my Junior year and Editor-In-Chief my Senior year. I entered this position with many ideas on how we could potentially expand and improve the paper, and I hope a few of these ideas will continue to grow and live on after I graduate. Both years were affected by COVID-19 and were filled with their own unique challenges that came with moving online. They were a rollercoaster ride of two years as EIC, but they presented new opportunities that I’m thankful to have been able to take advantage of. With news constantly flowing, from school news to politics, and album releases to sports, there is never a dull moment on newspaper staff. There is a constant need to write, edit, and, most importantly, interact with fellow staffers to help each other as we deliver the news to our website. Personally, the highlights this year include live updates for the 2020 election and starting the podcast After Class with the Trailblazer Staff.

When we discussed the idea of doing live updates for the 2020 election, I was ecstatic to be doing something new like this and excitedly planned out how the story would be run on the website. The day of the election I sat, as many others across the country, refreshing the AP map projections for how each state would vote and each district for local elections, and updated the website as new numbers came in.

After Class with the Trailblazer Staff began as almost daily discussions amongst staffers who decided to remain on the call and discuss school and current events. We talked and joked around, but most importantly, got to know each other as a staff. These discussions evolved into a podcast where we discussed these issues and updated on other news affecting student life. I hope that these types of open discussions will continue amongst staffers, whether in podcast form or not. Communication is one of the most important components of a successful and close staff and discussing these issues was one way our staff was able to connect, especially while attending Google Meet High School.

To Ms. Proctor, thank you for everything you taught me in J1 and for giving me a place to learn and grow as a writer. And of course, thank you for switching me to Newspaper staff.

To our staff, thank you for allowing me to be one of your editors. Thank you for giving me a class that I always looked forward to and a place for me to learn how to be a better writer and a better person. I have had the pleasure of knowing some of you for a couple years now and some only this year online, but I know you will all continue to be amazing writers and people wherever you end up in the future. I still have the Trailblazer website bookmarked so I hope to see all of you continuing to write! And Ruben, you will be an amazing editor in chief next year. I wish you all the best, good luck! There’s a surprise waiting for you when you get back to the classroom!

To my RRISD teachers, thank you for teaching me not only how to be a better student in the classroom, but also how to be a better person outside the classroom. Ms. Dugan, thank you for believing in me as a writer from the very beginning. You helped me continue my passion for writing and helped it grow into something bigger. Mr G, thank you for supporting me at Cedar Valley and after. I always looked forward to visiting you when I stopped by Cedar Valley and you played a huge role in my decision to major in government next year. Thank you for showing me, and all of your students, that learning history can be much more than just names and dates (I will never forget the Great Awakening). Ms. Gregory, thank you for keeping in touch after Cedar Valley and continuing to follow my journey in high school. It is always a pleasure to get to talk to you when visiting Cedar Valley and hope that will continue. Ms. Evans, thank you for being an amazing Academy Ambassador advisor. You helped me become a better person by giving me the opportunity to speak at different events and plan others. I will never forget my time in the Ambassador program and every moment spent in your office planning those events. I always looked forward to them, big or small, and getting to attend them with you and all of our students and officers. Ms. Sharp, thank you for making your classroom a safe space for all of your students. I always looked forward to coming into your classroom (except maybe timed writing and Socratic days) because you cared for all of your students and always listened to us. Ms. Edsel, thank you for encouraging me as a writer. I was only in your class for a semester online, but you still had a huge impact on me. You gave me confidence in my writing abilities when I really needed it. You stayed on into lunch on our call to talk to me and I left class that day feeling much more confident in myself. Thank you, your words really stuck with me.

And last but certainly not least… To Ms. Gluch, thank you for everything. Thank you for being an amazing teacher and an inspiring mentor. You joined us during my second year on staff at an uncertain time, but you came in ready to work with us to make the Trailblazer the best possible. You created an environment in our classroom where everyone felt accepted and was excited to come to newspaper. I can never thank you enough for everything you did for all of us these past two years. Thank you for everything you taught me, from how to be a better writer and editor to how to be a better person. You have been an amazing role model and I will always remember what I learned in your classroom working with you and with all our staff. Thank you. (I’m definitely not crying while editing this…)

Wrapping up this letter and looking back at everything we accomplished as a staff these past few years I can’t help but be a little nostalgic for my high school years and a little sad to be leaving them behind. However, I am excited to pursue my degree and career in the future, wherever that may lead me. If the past year and a half have taught me anything, it is to be ready for every twist and turn that may come along the way, from the smallest changes to global pandemics. Thank you to everyone reading this on our website, it has been a pleasure to write for the Trailblazer. I’m not sure if I’m ready, but it’s time to sign off for the final time.



Areebah Bharmal

Editor In Chief 2019-2021