Champaign Central Chronicle

The Student News Site of Champaign Central High School

Champaign Central Chronicle

Champaign Central Chronicle

Goodbye to Our Seniors

As the end of the spring semester approaches, so does our time with the senior editors of the Champaign Chronicle Newspaper. These editors have been with the Chronicle just as long as I have been a club sponsor, if not longer. While the group of graduating seniors is not as large as last year’s, their absence will most definitely be felt in the next school year. These four seniors leave behind fond memories and advice for the editors and staff members next year in this send-off article.

Bess Chamley

Bess Chamley first joined the Chronicle Newspaper as a sophomore in Ms. Erin Dittmer’s journalism class. She has always been interested in writing and was excited to have something like journalism, which she considered more practical than creative writing. “I’m not saying creative writing is not practical,” Bess explained, “but I was excited to write in a more professional and an easier way for the community.” She even submitted an article she wrote for the Chronicle for her college applications.

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Bess wrote the most for the Arts and Entertainment section or the A&E section. Her movie articles stand out as lengthy and detailed, such as her What to Know: Five Nights at Freddy’s article, which details the lore needed to understand the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie. Being a long-time fan herself, she took it upon herself to connect new and old fans to the upcoming film. When asked what article she would write next if given another opportunity, Bess said, “I’ve always wanted to do a full Twilight article where I breakdown the entire thing. I have the movies memorized essentially.”

Though she plans to study a theater-adjacent major, most likely at Illinois Wesleyan, Bess does recognize the impact and skills working as an editor has given her. “I think professional writing is helpful in any field. You have to be able to support the work you do with writing, and that’s easily learned with journalism.” 

In regards to the future, Bess has advice for both myself and the future editors.  For me, she suggests “having any newspaper fundraisers. It’s hard because we don’t sell anything. If we sell the newspaper, that’s getting rid of the purpose of the newspaper, which is information for people to have.” 

 For editors, she suggests that “they don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Don’t try to make an article that someone else has written in your own voice. It’s something that they (staff members) have written, so be respectful of it.”

Maddie Bigler

One of the things I distinctly remember about Maddie Bigler is her dedication to the theater program. Both she and Bess split their responsibilities to the theater program during the school year but in slightly different ways. After graduation, Maddie plans on attending Depaul University for sound design. Her goal is to work on productions in Chicago and establish herself as a sound designer while networking with more experienced individuals in the field.

Though Maddie has been involved with the Chronicle since her freshman year, she didn’t work as closely with Ms. Dittmer as others. After moving from creative writing club to journalism, she stuck with journalism after COVID-19. “I definitely think it [journalism] has improved my writing and leadership skills. Getting to work with peers who are part of the school but also learning to have that work balance… navigating that was a good skill,” she says.

One of the responsibilities of being an editor is attending after-school club meetings. Samaira Sandil, the editor-in-chief, takes this time to go over the responsibilities of the staff and editors. Maddie recalled these meetings as some of her favorite memories of the Chronicle. “It was really nice to sit down and get work done and also be with friends. Getting to see Samaira be editor-in-chief and write for the News-Gazette this year was awesome because she’s a really close friend.”

As she leaves Central, one of the things she asks the club to do is “not let it [the Chronicle] die out. It won’t keep going unless the people who work for it are caring for it.” that being said, she’s not worried about the future editors. She echoes a sentiment that the other editors feel. The newspaper is certainly in good hands.

Julia Hopkins

As a sophomore, Julia was asked by Ms. Dittmer, the former teacher and club sponsor of the Chronicle, to join when she learned that Julia was writing a serial short story series called Lady in Waiting. This led her to join the club that year and the class junior year. I can fondly recall many moments when Julia seemed to find her voice as a leader and editor in this class. One is where she effectively quieted the class with a sharp reprimand as I was trying to teach a lesson. For a moment, it felt as if I were a student, and she were the teacher. 

Editors are also beholden to writing an article per cycle. Julia often wrote articles for The Internet is on Fire, a features column that focuses on sharing niche but relevant topics currently taking the world by storm. Whether through the Internet or social media, these articles focus on people and topics that students are bound to know. Her first article for this column is titled TriGuys Try Infedility, as a nod to the fact that the company would be separating with Ned Fulmer as a result of his “consensual work relationship with Alex Herring, even though they were both in committed relationships.

Julia took it upon herself to cover the topic personally. “It was something that was heavily covered on TikTok, and it was something that you weren’t getting a full picture,” she explained. The article covered everything before the reveal of Fulmer’s infidelity, during the release of information, and in the aftermath of the bombshell.

As a result of Julia’s work with the Internet Is On Fire column, other students took it upon themselves to also write articles. When asked what she was proudest of regarding the Internet Is On Fire column, Hopkins said that “Seeing other people writing in the column” made her proud. It was something that she felt the Chronicle didn’t have before. 

The Internet Is On Fire is not the only aspect of Julia’s legacy. Despite not being in any of my classes this year, I still feel that Julia is one of my students. She was in my second-hour AP Prep English class as a sophomore and in my journalism class as a junior. Seeing Julia grow from a sophomore to managing editor of the Chronicle Newspaper is something that leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. I really wish that I had more time with her, and wish Julia the best of luck at Illinois Wesleyan, where she’ll be studying psychology and special education. 

Samaira Sandil

While other clubs might have presidents and vice presidents, Samaira acts as the editor-in-chief. She makes all the final decisions and leads all of the club meetings. Oftentimes, I feel that Samaira knows more than I do, and I’m the teacher!

This makes sense, given the fact that Samaira has been involved with the Chronicle Newspaper ever since she was a freshman. It was as a student in Mr. Krows’ English class that she was introduced to the prospect of joining journalism. From there, she met students Lucy Moss and Maaike Niekerk, the editor-in-chief and managing editor. It was Samaira’s sophomore year that I first glimpsed into the world of the Chronicle. I shared a classroom with Ms. Dittmer, and I could sit quietly at my desk while she ran her classroom.

It was this simple connection that made Samaira feel that I fit the role of club sponsor and teacher. “It made sense. You were already somehow connected to the Chronicle,” she said. Since I became the sponsor, I’ve worked closely with Samaira as a managing editor, and then editor-in-chief. As managing editor, she was also a student in the class, and here, she flourished as a leader. I learned alongside Samaira as I taught the class, and I am still learning from her today. 

Of course, Samaira’s responsibilities and skills had to start from somewhere. “I was social as a freshman, but it [Chronicle] taught me so much about responsibility and taking care of this operation that I couldn’t do before,” Samaira said. She thought that becoming editor-in-chief was a farfetched idea, but the role soon changed the way she viewed herself. It also unlocked opportunities outside of school for her, such as reporting for the News-Gazette in the form of the High School Confidential column. (Check it out here.)

As Samaira prepares to graduate from Central High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I asked whether she felt worried about the future of the Chronicle. As one of the last students to have worked with Ms. Dittmer, I worry that the Chronicle may become a shadow of what it once was. But Smaira “feels really confident with the board we have right now. We weren’t able to fill two of the positions, but I feel confident with the juniors leading.” It’s for this future board of editors that Samaira leaves a bit of advice.

“Never be afraid to write,” she said. “I know a lot of new freshmen get nervous. I remember I was terrified.” To the editors: “Explore new sections. A pattern with our editors is that they like to stick with their normal sections.”  

A Final Farewell

To the graduating seniors of the Chronicle, I wish you the best of luck in the future. Your passion and creativity for this newspaper have supported it in the two years that I have been a club sponsor. Thank you for guiding me along the way and helping me learn alongside you. I hope that you succeed in every facet of your future. Thank you especially to Samaira and Julia, for both being in the class last year and being leaders of the class. It made the transition year so much easier and gave me the confidence to teach journalism.

Next year’s editorial board includes Sophia Nixon-Gasyna and Sky Englehardt as the Arts & Entertainment and Specials editors, alternating sections with each cycle. Jack Levitan will cover Sports, Alice Bell in Photography, and Isabella Ondevilla for Specials. Adam Edwards joins the board for Opinion and Chloe Flynn stays in her role as News editor. Our editor-in-chief and managing editor, Charlotte Heads and Adelaide Kota respectively, look forward to leading the Chronicle into another successful year in the fall.

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