Column: Polarized – Graduation banned the F word

Editor’s Column

Cyrus is the Multimedia editor and a translator for Ethic News.


Graduation has been a staple for many high school seniors as it is the last event they get to participate in before leaving high school.  The tradition of graduation has been celebrated for hundreds of years, dating back to the 12th century according to the University of Canterbury.

Though the tradition has changed drastically, it is still a day of importance for many high school seniors as they get to walk down the aisle and receive their diploma, or the case in which the diploma will be inside of.  

The Redlands Unified School District has been very clear on the rules that are ingrained into the graduation ceremonies they host yearly; however, students are not the happiest about certain rules in question.  

I have been told the phrase, “Graduation is a privilege, not a right” from many teachers saying that the rules are in place for a reason, and not to question them.  However, I believe that this kind of thinking is dangerous for the student mind. 

As a student I am always told not to question what teachers say, just take notes, learn and remember for the next test.  The same process can be applied for graduation, learn the rules, remember them and practice them during graduation.  

This is the last school event for seniors and I believe there should be more freedom for seniors to express themselves. The ban on choice of cap and gown color, customizing cap  and the ban on items allowed such as flowers, leis, beach balls and balloons create a stable environment at the expense of student creativity and voice of expression. 

Some students believe these rules are unfair as well. 

Sophia Feduska, Redlands High School senior, says, “The rules against personalized caps or decorative leis, I think it’s an unnecessary power trip for the school district.”  

Another complaint students have is the restraint of clothing regarding what they can wear underneath their cap and gowns. The only attire allowed without extra permission is collared shirt, tie, dress slacks and dress shoes for males, and dressy pants suit or dress, and dress shoes for females. This incredibly limited wardrobe gives seniors no opportunity to express themselves or give them a chance to show off their culture or religion.

This wardrobe set can be difficult to acquire for certain students who can not afford such clothing.  The specific wardrobe can also feel outdated to students and can be upsetting to people who do not associate with that gender’s clothing. This attire is unnecessarily specific for clothing that will barely be seen underneath seniors’ cap and gowns.  

The rules for the RUSD graduations are way too strict for the senior class and leads to no expression of character or individuality. Everyone wears the same cap and gown, they wear the same outfit underneath the cap and gown, they walk and have the same actions with the only differentiating feature being the stoles and cords.  

It is my belief that the school district strongly needs to rethink these rules and give the senior class more freedom to show that they are different from one another.  Students should be able to customize their caps, or wear cultural or religious attire without consulting the superintendent.  This is the last event for seniors before leaving high school, and should be treated more as a celebration of the class, and less of a formality.  These students have been working for twelve years to reach the point they have, therefore graduation should be a privilege and a right.  

Column: My journey through Ethic News from a Trekkie’s perspective


“Space: the final frontier.  These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

These lines, read by a disembodied William Shatner voice, form the opening monologue of a science fiction show that has achieved legendary status: Star Trek.  This show has acquired its notoriety due to not only the show’s premise on space exploration but also its vision of the future of the human race – one that is markedly utopian in nature.  

In this future, mankind has overcome, with the help of a third world war, almost all of the problems that plagued its past; the Earth of this future has no wars, famine or poverty.  Everyone lives happily and in harmony with those around them. The Garden of Eden has been rediscovered.

In such a state of bliss and with such technology at their disposal, people are free to explore their own humanity, to explore what principles and values form the ideal person.  This sense of exploration – in the human sense – was an integral part of every episode; the different worlds and crises that appear are merely entertaining catalysts designed to push the characters to discover things beyond the physical realm, sometimes beyond the realm of anything conceivable to humankind.

This is what has ensured Star Trek’s place as a staple of science fiction: its ability to push the boundaries of what is thought acceptable and simultaneously advocate for change without explicitly doing so.  Here was a show that, despite the societal norms of the time, decided to give a lead role to Nichelle Nichols, an African American woman, as Lieutenant Uhura. On top of this, the first interracial kiss to ever take place on a televised show was between Lieutenant Uhura and Captain James T. Kirk.

These elements that appeared on the show forced audiences to explore their own humanity.  By directly confronting the audience with such moral dilemmas, it puts the audience in a position to really ponder those societal norms: ponder whether or not they should be maintained or thrown out.  Star Trek allows viewers to see what could be in the future, which serves to draw attention to our modern situation.

While pushing societal boundaries, it is also necessary, therefore, to explore what the ideal human looks like: cue Mr. Spock.  Spock, who is half-human and half-Vulcan, is a character bound by a strict adherence to logic, yet he sometimes allows his emotions – arising from his disliked human aspect – to dictate his course of action.  Although perceivably superior physically and mentally, Spock does not abuse his inherent traits; he is a benevolent friend to mankind, aiding humanity when it runs into problems it cannot overcome due to its limitations.

Spock, due to his very nature, is an exploration into the human character itself.  He represents the inner-turmoil that we, as humans, face as our emotional, impulsive nature fights with our higher reasoning: the logical side of the human spirit.  In Spock, it is seen that those two sides of our humanity have found peace with one another. Logic and emotion have found balance.

This is what the ideal human being looks like in the future according to Star Trek.  Humanity will learn how to view things pragmatically, yet they will allow emotions to dictate the course of their actions and thoughts when logic cannot provide a morally acceptable course of action.  In essence, the future of mankind looks a lot like Spock – someone who is an alien to those aboard the U.S.S Enterprise. However, as Captain Kirk said while giving Spock’s eulogy in “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan,” “Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human.”

Pushing boundaries and embracing change is what has propelled Star Trek to its current status.  While giving an optimistic glimpse of the future, Star Trek also challenges its fans to really analyze contemporary society and determine if what they see around them conflicts with their morality.  Although Trekkies realize that they shall not, much to their disappointment, wake up in the world of tomorrow, they are pushed to become better humans so that dreams may be translated into reality. This is truly what Star Trek is about.

Over my last four years of high school, I have been a regular viewer of Star Trek.  Regular exposure to it has left me with many irreversible side effects: most noticeably, I have become a Trekkie.  Every night, after homework, school events and other activities, I looked forward to the latest installment to whatever Star Trek series I happened to be watching at the time.

As I watched these episodes, I increasingly yearned to explore my own human nature and realize my full potential.  The only way to do this, I knew, was to experience the multiple facets of life through studies and life experiences.  However, on my journey of self-discovery, there has been one experience that has helped me explore myself better than anything else: Ethic News.

When I first joined Ethic News in my junior year of high school, I immediately noticed something unique about the organization; they encouraged students to embrace their interests – whatever those interests may be –  by providing a platform through which students could explore and share their interests. I, like all normal journalists, decided that my first article for Ethic News should be on something new, something relevant, like Adam Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.”  The fact that Ethic News allowed me to publish such a piece spoke volumes to me.

In Ethic News, I found the creative outlet from which I could launch my exploration of my humanity through embracing my interests.  The people I met at Ethic also pushed me greatly to explore things outside the realm of my normal interests as well. Every moment I spent writing for Ethic felt like it was worthwhile.

When I was offered the Copy Editor and Editor-in-Chief positions at the end of my junior year, I was elated.  I made one of the easiest – as well as probably the best – decisions of my life. However, I did not fully know what great experiences I would have by getting more deeply involved in the organization.  

Throughout the year, as Copy Editor, I corrected tons of articles.  I encountered many different writing styles and viewpoints, and I learned to appreciate them all for the unique articles they created.  Through these articles, I got to know the writers of Ethic News better; I saw their interests and their passion for them. I got to see, through their writing, how they changed as the year progressed.  It was truly an enlightening experience that allowed me to come into contact with the humanity of others in a completely unique way.

Not only did I discover more about myself through the continued pursuance of my own interests this year in Ethic News, but I also learned firsthand the uniqueness that every individual possesses.  Ethic News allowed me to step back and appreciate the scope of human individuality. Thus, Ethic News managed to turn my quest for self-discovery into a quest to discover the greatness of the human race through the individuality that everyone possesses.

For this, I am eternally grateful to Ethic News.  I could not have asked for a better experience. For both my years at Redlands East Valley High School, Ethic News gave me a sense of belonging in the school community; it gave me a place to surround myself with individuals who shared my passion for discovery.  It truly was one of the best experiences of my life, and I shall truly miss it as it is irreplaceable. Thank you Ethic News for allowing me to get to know myself better; to become a better leader; and to discover the amazing spark that every individual possesses.  And thank you Mrs. Aranda for being an amazing mentor these two years; I could not have asked for a better role model who exhibited the best qualities a person can strive to possess.

Goodbye Ethic News.  I will forever miss you.  As Spock would say, “Live long and prosper.”    

REV managing editor Lilian Mohr, REV editor-in-chief senior Christian Morrison, Citrus Valley editor-in-chief Brandon Saglam and Citrus Valley managing editor Ahlora Smith at the Ethic News banquet on Friday, May 24 at Citrus Valley High School. (Ethic Photo)

Column: A formal goodbye to Ethic News


Ethic News 2018-2019 banquet photo of Citrus Valley staff. (Courtesy of Tayfun Saglam)

I was never particularly fond of the idea of saying goodbye to the publication I had put so much time and love into. My time in Ethic may have been short, but it meant the world to me. Before joining this club, I lacked direction. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do and what I loved, but, much like me, my path seemed to be lacking a spark. Nothing seemed to click until I wrote my first article. The ability to weave words into a story that can captivate readers will forever be the most fascinating power one can wield. All of my lofty thoughts and arguments in my head had finally found a home. I had a platform that I could write in without judgment with the guidance of my friends and the editors before me.

On the topic of friends, I have met some of the most important people in my life within this family. Because at the end of the year that is what this publication has become to me: a family. A group of people that I can be with every day and still find them just as interesting and hilarious as the day I met them. I leave this publication with the knowledge that I have people I can rely on and trust, which means more to me than they could ever know. I will truly miss the daily conversations about the most obscure topics with Brandon, the shared laughs with Ahlora as someone does something foolish across the room and the endless waving contests with Gabe before someone’s arm gets too tired.

My fear for the coming years is beginning to settle in as I am leaving the comfort of a familiar system to be thrust into the unknowns of a new world. Despite that gnawing fear in the back of my mind, I can go into the rest of my life with the lessons and love that Ethic has given me. I can go forth like the dashing and courageous characters in the many books I have reviewed on this page. I leave this safe place to venture into the unknown, but never forgetting the love and happiness I found here. For that everlasting bright light in my history, I am eternally grateful.

Column: This is my Ethic photo book



I spent some time thinking about how I should say goodbye to this publication that means so much to me. I knew I had no perfect formula to senior year or even high school to share, nor do I believe I can write something so profound it would be meaningful to me. I am an individual who likes to share art and memories, something which evokes feelings from an individual and that is how I communicate.

I thought I would keep the same format I had on every editorial I have done this year. Having spent four years having participated in Ethic, I have memories I will treasure forever. As an avid photographer I document a large portion of my life through photos. So I thought given that I feel my largest contribution to the publication this year was through my photography I thought I would share some of my favorites from my time with Ethic.

This is my Ethic News photo book:

This was our 2017-2018 year banquet and I just remember how nice it was to see all the old and current editors together. (Courtesy Tayfun Saglam)

This was Ethic’s 2017 Christmas potluck and it was just very fun day share with some of my peers. That would be the first of some of the many photos of our unofficial mascot Bubby the peacock. (BRANDON SAGLAM/ Ethic Photo)

This was the day our 2017-2018 management editor Jessica Lopez had been asked to Homecoming by her crush and it was one of the purest moments of happiness I have ever seen. (BRANDON SAGLAM/ Ethic Photo)

This was taken during the Citrus Valley walkouts and it was nice to photograph in a way history and I felt like an actual photojournalist. I would also along with, one of my best friends and current arts and entertainment editor, Dorian Neighbors and current sports editor Tatum Mapes win a reader’s choice award.
That 2017-2018 year as it came to an end the current photo editor Gabriel Stanfield and I took a collection of photos with our unofficial mascot Bubby. I would later find out that humorously we were not supposed to be in that room. The photo album I would make would be titled “LIT=Bubby”. (BRANDON SAGLAM/ Ethic Photo)

The Citrus Valley 2018 Homecoming game was my first football game I covered for Ethic and the feedback was amazing. That night was so fun as I had spent the day with my friends then went to the game and just had a great shoot. This would be one of the highlights of my senior year and would be the first time I fully comprehended being a senior. (BRANDON SAGLAM/ Ethic Photo)


The Citrus Valley boys basketball senior night against Yucaipa would mean a lot to me as one of my close friends senior point guard Roman Jackson would play so I was happy to be also getting photos for him. It meant a lot that he had appreciated me coming, even though part of it was also for newspaper. I would also take one of best action shots of senior forward A.J. Burroughs going up for a basket, and I would post the article the next day. That was a long night. (BRANDON SAGLAM/ Ethic Photo)


If you have heard about the class you might have heard about Citrus Valley’s classroom antics.

These would be last senior rallies and there is just so much emotion in these photos.

This is arguably my favorite photo of the year. We were closing on the film photography for mental health shoot and I wanted to take a group photo with the people who helped so i set a timer and we all crunched in. (BRANDON SAGLAM/ Ethic Photo)


The original first editors and me (left side), and this years staff (right side). I will remember them all forever. (courtesy Tayfun Saglam)

In closing I would first like to thank Mrs. Aranda and Mrs. Snavely for their help they have provided that I find invaluable in the last four years.

I will miss my time with Ethic news from the daily high fives with Alyssa Martin, quotes from Richard Bunner such as “Drinking Caprisuns is honestly a religious experience”, and dancing throughout the classroom since day one.

I was inspired to do this by Kota the Friend’s album Foto so I will close with lyrics from his outro song “FOTO”:

“I left you with this photo,
And I kept the negative,
You can find out where you’re going,
If you know where you been,
I left you with this photo,
To be sure you don’t forget,
What mattered in a moment,
It mattered in a moment,”

Final farewell from the last of the first year students.

-Brandon Saglam a.k.a. “Happy Feet”

Column: The truth about high school from a valedictorian’s perspective


My name is Victoria Chung and I am Redlands East Valley High School’s valedictorian of the class of 2018.  I’m writing this to tell you how much that doesn’t matter at all. 

Being rank one isn’t representative of how intelligent you are, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you are the smartest person in your class.  I could never tell you how to build an organ from scratch like Alex Kristoffersen could or how to analyze the emotions portrayed from Beethoven’s Große Fuge like Jace Elliot probably could. 

There are so many students who know more about certain subjects than I could ever understand.  And that’s okay. 

When I see my rank, I don’t see a number.  I see myself pulling all-nighters to make study guides for my upcoming tests and showing up to school resembling something similar to the undead.  I see myself writing the definition of a limit (L is equal to the limit of f(x) as x approaches c if and only if for any value epsilon is greater than 0, there is a value delta is greater than 0. Such that, if x is within delta units of c but x does not equal c, then f(x) is within epsilon units of L.) over and over again so I don’t forget it.  I see all of the hard work that I had invested into each and every one of my classes. 

When asked what I remember most fondly about my high school experience, I think of sitting in Coach Patalano’s golf cart with my teammates laughing about the mistakes we made after our matches.  I think about going crazy at prom with my friends to Dexys Midnight Runners’s Come on Eileen.  I think about sitting on the grass at lunch debating with my friends about which flavor of Jolly Ranchers is the best.  (The cherry one, if you’re wondering.) 

Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to have a good GPA if you’re looking to go to college, but it’s not the most important thing.  People say that high school is the worst four years of their life— yeah, it will be if you have that mentality. Surround yourself with good people who make you laugh and challenge you to be better.  Do what interests you and not what you think will look good on your college applications.  As cliche as it seems, you get what you put into it. 

Rank doesn’t mean anything, but the memories that you make and the lessons you learn will.

When I leave high school this coming summer, I DOUBT that I will recall my rank first.  What I will remember are my friends who I’ve seen grow and develop into the people they are today and the life lessons that I had to endure while learning to figure out how the real world works. 

Don’t waste your high school experience stressing about minuscule matters like failing that one test in that one class.  I am more than a number.  You are more than a number.    Make these four years count because you’ll never get them back. 

Column: Snowfall, Lil Uzi Vert and the internet: Why I will miss my time in Ethic News


Snow fell weekly on my middle school campus, but we never got a snow day. This, I reasoned, was a different kind of snow—not the icy, cold, fun-for-the-first-day-but-never-again kind of precipitation that Redlands never gets—but instead, it was something black, white and read all over: the school newspaper. This was a special snow, one that conveniently piled up next to trash cans both inside buildings and out. A snow that never melted, despite the lack of funding the program received through the school district. A snow I wished I was a part of.

However, cleanup was a huge problem for these sixth-period snowstorms. Printed on legal-sized sheets of printer paper, articles had easy-to-spot mistakes that only avid readers like me could find—those who lacked the enthusiasm to read would not even bother. Can anyone blame them? People—like electrons in a circuit—always gravitate towards a path of least resistance; when faced with the easily accessible internet, it is only natural that more will choose to use it.

With Ethic News, there is no snow. Our daily releases of student-written articles have no place in the dumpsters or recycling bins of Southern California. Unlike the newspapers of the last millennium, errors can be fixed in record time and articles can be posted in seconds without concern for printing costs. Because of the internet, school newspapers regularly impact real-world events at a real-time scale, and it’s this advantage that makes Ethic the poster-child of a technological revolution that will change student journalism forever. Our writers have proved and will prove that fully online news is an effective, significant way to educate and inform community members about issues that affect them—printers need not apply.

We are pioneers of this neo-digital age. I could not be prouder.

It’s obvious that Redlands is proud, too: our views have nearly quintupled in the past eight months and that number will only get bigger. Excellent reporting about Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom’s renovation from freelancer Christina Andronescu, the Texas shooting by Alyssa Martin and Redlands East Valley’s new REVWAY initiative from Mia Delmonico made our organization a news source that people outside of the public school sphere rely on as well. Redlands eAcademy editor-in-chief Madison Isaeff even won a national Quill & Scroll award for her infographic that accompanied Martin’s article. Hundreds of hours of manpower have gone into making these articles (and every article, for that matter) sparkle as much as our editors do when they talk about Ethic. Once again, I could not be prouder.


To our readers, I hope you can appreciate our efforts in making this happen. Starting an online, student-run and financially stable (still working on this part) newspaper is hard work, and your support and views mean the world to us.

To students of the Redlands Unified School District, I strongly recommend that you consider joining Ethic. Aside from seeing Lil Uzi Vert in concert, being a part of this organization is the most rewarding thing that I have done in my high school career. While the only thing I have to show for my time seeing Uzi is a dozen pictures of myself sweating in the parking lot of the Angels Stadium, the effort that has gone into making Ethic amazing is immortalized in hundreds of quality examples of student journalism that will remain on the internet forever.

To myself, a year ago, you made the right decision, but please work on talking on the phone before you start calling what seems like every small business in the city. Savor the time you have. It goes so much faster than you think.

To Lil Uzi Vert, call me back. We (I) would love to interview you.

Column: Just speaking my truth, Lessons I’ve Learned in High School

Lessons I’ve Learned in High School


As I approach what is commonly considered the end of childhood, it’s inevitable that I’ll  look back on my past four years at Citrus Valley. I’ve learned a lot, not just academically, but about myself. I realize I had a lot of misconceptions about a lot of different things. I’d like to take the time to explore and explain some of those things to my younger self in my last column as Editor in Chief of  Ethic News.

Procrastination: You’ll never quite get over this one. In fact, you’ll get worse. I’m not just talking about homework. Things get hard, and sometimes you’ll be in rough situations that you’d really feel better off ignoring for the time being. But some things can’t wait forever, and opportunities will pass you by time and time again if they’re not taken care of promptly.

Friendships: Truthfully the ones you make at this point in your life may not be the long lasting type, but that’s okay. What’s important is that you give your all in these friendships, but if the other person doesn’t want to do the same it’s okay to walk away. You’re worth a lot more than one sided relationships. And sometimes people may hurt you unintentionally or otherwise, but that has nothing to do with you. You’ll have no regrets if you know that you did all that you could.

Respect: Everyone is worthy of it, even if they don’t give it back to you. Your teacher’s deserve it, staff members deserve it, and your peers deserve it. This is not only with words, but also your actions: raising your hand in class, going to the attendance office when you’re late like security asks, or something simple like holding the door open for another student.
This is something you’ll fail at in many ways, but it is always something to strive for.

Compassion: Sometimes your teacher might be having a bad day and it can feel personal when they take it out on you, or a student may be having a hard time at home, and didn’t get their part of the assignment done and you didn’t know. A lot of the times there is no possible way that you could have known these things, but to at least imagine yourself in their situation is a good start.

Gratefulness: For your teachers, your friends, another day that you get to be alive. It’s easy to lose sight of all the things you have and focus on what you don’t. It’s really no way to live, and you could only end up hurting others and yourself if you don’t recognize this. Things may seem hard, but trust me when I say they get easier.

Self Love: This will be a constant battle for the rest of your life most likely. It’s no fun when you don’t exactly like what you see in the mirror, or you can’t stop thinking about that dumb joke you told that no one laughed at. But truly loving others comes from within. You are strong, intelligent, and capable. Another person’s version of success does not have to be yours and that’s perfectly okay. Comparing yourself to others is no use as we all created to be unique.

Highs school is an important time for everyone. I’ll always be thankful to Citrus Valley and Ethic News in particular for being the best place for me to spread my wings.

Editor-in-chiefs’ letter: Ethic unites schools


Coming into the school year in August, I didn’t know how much time and energy that I would put into newspaper, into Ethic. I didn’t know how much it would mean to me nor did I know how much that it would shape who I am today. I say this as I am giving recruiting speeches to classrooms (If you are reading this and are eligible to be in the newspaper class next year, I strongly encourage you to do it.), but I really and truly believe it: newspaper is great.

Sure, not everything about it is the best and there are some bumps in the road that are bound to get in your way, but the experience of it all is above anything else. I got to be a part of a deeply creative and innovative part of my school and I’m proud of it. I’m proud of starting the year with one product and ending the year with an even better one. I’ll be proud of next year’s staff for doing the exact same thing.

But what’s the thing that really made newspaper so great? No, it wasn’t the freedom of being able to write what I want (Although, writing about the musicals I went to this year was phenomenal.) No, it wasn’t covering the major sporting events. (While I say that, every time that I see Seth’s video compilation of a game, I get a little wonderstruck.) No, it wasn’t introducing myself as ‘Maya Sanchez, Redlands East Valley Senior and Ethic’s Editor-in-Chief’. (Okay, I have to admit, it was a little bit of that.)

The best part was being a part of the community of not just my high school, but of Redlands as a whole. Before joining, the most interaction I got of the other high schools were the girls on my soccer team and the few times that our athletic teams played each other throughout the seasons. But beyond that, it was always REV centered. And while that isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, being able to see my high school experience as a Redlands experience and not just a REV experience has been for the better. I’ve gotten more involved in the happenings in my community, have met new people that I’m proud to call my friends, and most importantly I get to truly call myself a part of this Redlands Community.

I know our schools try to bring us all together under a common cause, and while I do not think in any way that they have failed, I think that Ethic has succeeded. By covering three schools in the Redlands Unified School District, Ethic has really embraced what it means to be inclusive and it’s that quality that has made newspaper outstanding for me.

I am beyond grateful to be able to serve as your Redlands East Valley Editor-In-Chief and I hope that next year will be just as prosperous as this year. Thank you reading and I hope you have enjoyed this year’s publications and that you will enjoy all the years that will follow.

Again, thank you. This year has really been a year to remember.

If someone were to tell the middle school me that high school senior me would write my innermost thoughts and publish them for the world to see, I’d think they were full of it. If someone told the middle school me that high school senior me would make friends with kids across the city, I’d brush it off. If someone told middle school me that high school senior me that I, with my sometimes crippling social anxiety, would be the Editor-in-Chief of a student run newspaper; I would have laughed in their face. But none of these situations are hypothetical.

Living in a city big enough that the school district has to dictate where you will go to school , thus dictating who you interact with, you can settle in your area of comfortability. The people you’ve known for 3 years are the ones you continue to see for another 4. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Of course there are opportunities to cross these invisible lines if you wished, but I didn’t really.

The summer before my senior year, I attended AAA summer school to get ahead before the school year began. There I met Ethic News’ very own founder: Mrs. Aranda. One thing led to another, and I soon found myself staring at kids across the city through a flat screen t.v. The experience was unsettling to say the least. I wondered if I had a hard enough time communicating with people face to face, how was I supposed to succeed in this way?

But in all honesty things kind of just fell into place. Soon enough we were sharing jokes through a camera, and texting each other about things unrelated to newspaper. Things were actually more weird on the rare occasion we got the chance to see each other in person (all of these of which I can count on one hand). After a few moments of awkwardness, we just picked up where we left off last. Soon, I was calling the students who went to our so called “rival school” my classmates and friends.

It’s so easy to hide behind invisible barriers and decide we’re too different to ever get along without actually attempting to bridge the gap. Victimizing ourselves instead of trying to be the solution to the factionalized world we live in is something we have to end- and it starts in our own backyard. There is more than enough room in Redlands for the diverse group of people we have. This is exactly what Ethic News accomplishes through its determination to cover all schools, and the community as a whole.

I have so much pride in what we Citrus Valley Blackhawks do, and I also have so much respect for REV and Orangewood for their efforts to become good students and community members. This is a respect I wouldn’t have gained without stepping out of my comfort zone and joining Ethic News.

It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve grown in a lot of ways along the journey. I hope next year’s team passes on the tradition of inclusivity through covering the great city we all call home.

Column: Through my eyes, An Open Letter to a Lost Friend

An Open Letter to a Lost Friend


An Open Letter to a Lost Friend

Dear Friend,

I decided to write this because now it has been one year without you in my life. Here’s what you missed:

I still remember the moment I heard. I received a text saying you were in the hospital. My heart stopped. I felt sick for a completely different reason than why I had stayed home from school that day. After that moment, my life stood still and became a blur at the same time. The next few days were filled with hospital visits, memorials, prayers, crying, confusion, shock, and disbelief. School became less important and friendships took over. Everyone I knew put their lives on hold and banded together for comfort. You were in the hospital for two days and I still did not believe it. I did not understand how something like this could happen to us. We continued to say you would pull through and be okay, even though we did not quite believe it. And on that Monday, I could not accept the fact that you were gone. You weren’t gone, you couldn’t be gone. Nothing seemed right. My body had put my prior sickness on hold, but it came back stronger than before. I had to push myself to continue life without you.

I was furious. I was absolutely trembling with fury that this had to happen at this moment. Why did you have to leave like this? Why did you hurt us like this? I was mad at you for hurting everyone I cared about. I was mad at my family for trying to comfort me. I was mad at my friends for being mad at you, and I was mad at myself for being mad at you too. And, I was infuriated at everyone else. I was constantly told that everything would be okay. How could everything be okay when you were not here with us any longer? How can you expect me to continue on with my life when a piece of it has been ripped away from me?  How could my teachers ask me to keep my grades up? How could other students continue on planning for their futures when you couldn’t? And how the hell was I going to be okay? I was not okay. I would never be okay. I refused to be okay.

Days and weeks passed, and all I wanted was more time with you. I wished I had gone on that late night pizza run when you invited me that one time but I was too tired to go. I wished I had hugged you at that last practice we had together. I wished I had said I love you the last time I saw you. I wished you were still here with me. If only I had seen your hurting, if only I had seen your pain, maybe you would still be here. Maybe you wouldn’t be gone. I spoke at your memorial, and I recounted the good times and the bad. I spoke about our trip to Seaworld, the sleepovers, your love of One Direction, and the songs we used to sing. I told mostly about the song we sang with the orchestra at the homecoming pep rally our sophomore year, “For Good” from the famous musical Wicked. I talked about how this song truly resembles my feelings for you and that “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

After eleven years of having you in my life, my daily routine was tainted without you. When we used to carpool to school, we walked together into the school daily; now I am forced to walk that same way alone. When we had practices, your optimism and enthusiasm lightened up everyone’s mood; now it all seems dull. When we would walk by eachother, you would smile and hug me; now all the hugs I get are meant to comfort me from losing you. I felt lost and extremely alone. But I finished my Junior year of high school, took my AP Exams, ran for leadership for the new year (I got colorguard captain, like you always said I would), toured colleges, took summer school, got ready for the new year, and continued missing you. All the while, I felt empty. I plastered a smile on my face for months and attempted to live my life as close to before as possible. But I was tired. I lost the desire to work as hard in school and in the extra-curricular activities I was in. Without you, everything seemed bleak and pointless.

This last year has been the hardest year of my life. I took my hardest classes, applied for colleges (been accepted and rejected), took on more leadership positions, filled my schedule to the brim, and had to do all of this without you. Now it has been a year, and I am still not okay. I don’t think I will ever be okay, but I think that is okay. My life will never be the same, and while I wish I had more time with you, I am grateful for the time I did have. I am truly honored to be able to say you were my best friend for eleven years- eleven whole years filled with laughter, joy, and love. I hate that it had to end, but I understand that we can do nothing but move on. I will continue missing you for the rest of my life. And, I will live my life continuing to keep you in my heart. I want to make you proud, because knowing you really has made me into the person I am. And of course, because I knew you, I really, really have been changed for good.

With love,

Column: Learning to grow up, Teachers, I Wish You Knew…

Teachers, I Wish You Knew…


There are many different types of teachers. There are the teachers that are easy to talk to; easy to be honest and real with. There are the teachers that want nothing to do with students after the bell rings; the ones that could care less about their students or their grades. Other teachers that do everything they can to make sure that every student passes but sadly are usually taken advantage of, and the teacher that doesn’t see you for who you are beyond your grade. I would like to point out a few things that teachers maybe never seem to really notice that is right in front of them.  

 To begin, I would like to touch up on the different students that roam around school everyday. There are many students who face different hardships everyday that both students and teachers don’t even know about. There are students who have it very very easy, such as having loving parents and a strong bond with their siblings; they are well off financially and emotionally and mentally stable as well. However, there are also students who don’t have it so well. It would take forever to give various examples as every student has a rare and unique situation.

 Any school year is a difficult challenge for both students and teachers to be consistently dedicated to learning or teaching something new everyday and to continue going at that pace even if they didn’t understand the last lesson. For teachers, learning different techniques and having patience with their students can at times be challenging and I’m sure also a bit discouraging. Although it is their job to educate students, I feel it is also their responsibility to realize changes within their students.

Teachers should understand that there are some students who struggle with school because of their circumstances, and they cannot always simply be resolved with a tutoring session or with extra time after class. There are students who don’t look forward to going home, who have to work and pay rent even though it may be illegal for parents to charge a minor for necessities. For these students, school and their school work is the last thing on their mind.

I wish teachers could see that, I wish teachers could empathize for that. I am not saying that these students deserve an easier road or an easy way out from all the school work and from all the tests and studying that school is going to command; I am saying that school involves so much more than academics. It is something that all try to conquer or at least dream of conquering, and if a student is blocked from that because of their personal circumstances, how is it fair that the teacher judges who that person is because of their grade? I am not saying that these students need pity, or that they need to be treated like they are handicapped. I am acknowledging that it is unfair, and that is just a fact. Grades show only the surface of a student’s integrity and commitment to life.  The devotion a student may have to working hard at their after school job or, volunteering at an organization can show more of what they are made of instead a letter grade that represents their academic abilities.

Going throughout this school year in itself, I have faced many challenges personally; physically, emotionally, and academically. If I looked back at what I learned, I know that I definitely learned how much grades truly matter and how important school is. Something else I also learned is that life is not at all like school; sometimes, even when you put work into something, it falls apart and that doesn’t mean that it is wrong; it is just the way of this world. From having two jobs, three AP classes, medical challenges, and obstacles outside of school, what really surprised me the most was that one of my teachers who definitely had multiple chances to see a change…had no clue. He didn’t even know that I had a job and I don’t mean to sound like teachers should remember everything but, I had invited him to have a free meal before. It was shocking that he didn’t know. I feel like that is where most teachers lack awareness; simply noticing changes. Because in my eyes, changes symbolize cries for help.

So, just as teachers have a life of their own and it’s weird to run into them at the local grocery store, there are students who have begun to feel the stress of the “real world”, there are students who face responsibilities most students don’t have to even think about until they are years into college.

As my final time writing to you, my readers, I would like to thank you for listening to what I have to say. I am a student who has changed so much over this year and being a part of the Ethic Newspaper staff not only gave me a reason to look forward to school, but allowed me to gladly and happily practice my first amendment rights as a journalist. I have made some of the closest friends within this group of strangely dedicated students with scattered and random personalities, and I am most grateful that I had the privilege to write a column. I have definitely learned to grow up in many things, and I hope you have enjoyed reading whatever it was that I might have felt like sharing; let’s hope this new chapter offers much more. Good bye my dear reader.

This column was written at the beginning of the week of publication. As a journalist, I felt it was my responsibility to inform the teacher I mentioned earlier in this passage that I was writing of him in my final column. So, I went to explain to him how I felt his awareness could have been helpful.

As can be expected, stepping into his room to tell him this was quite awkward; I was about to tell my teacher that I felt he wasn’t doing a good job watching out for his students. So, I approached him and explained what it was that I have experienced and why I changed so much and how it was probably the most evident in his class. I even asked him if he had noticed anything different about me and he admitted that he didn’t.

As I explained to him that I felt he could have helped if he acknowledged anything that had changed about me, he had me sit down and explained how his life was much similar to the events that had taken place in mine so far. He stated that he wonders at times, why he chose this career path if he doesn’t obtain the gift some teachers have of realizing when a student is changing or going through hard times in life.

He gave me so much insight on this whole issue that I realized this is a mutual issue. Teachers don’t know their students, and students don’t know their teachers outside of their performance at school. I don’t feel like pointing the finger at the teachers is the best thing to do; I think that students and teachers should both be aware of each other and consider that there is a lot more going on than we see.

After having this conversation with my teacher, I realized that we are all human beings; we all have it deep down within us to help others but are either too hesitant or embarrassed to say anything. I wish it wasn’t that way. Every teacher is a great teacher to try and educate children and every student is a person who has feelings and a life outside of homework. I would like to let him know, because I know that he’ll be reading this, that he
is not a bad person or a bad teacher for not being aware. I have also realized that there is so much I don’t know about all of my teachers, that I couldn’t possibly point the finger at him for something I myself am at fault for. It wouldn’t be right, or valid for that matter. This is an update on what I believed a few days ago. Now I say my final goodbye to my readers. This time I mean it; I have enjoyed this experience so much. Thank you and I wish you luck on your future journeys.

Column: Aspiring to reach positivity, A Year in Reflection

A Year in Reflection


I never would have guessed that I would end up writing publicly.

When I was a kid I hated being told what to write; I still do actually. I strongly dislike writing essays and answering homework questions that require me to explain how I got my answer. However, I do truly enjoy being able to freely write what I want. That’s something that joining this group has taught me.  

Occasionally when I was younger I would write stories that were for pure entertainment. But I used to get frustrated because I could never get them to go anywhere, which led to me throwing them aside and never getting back to them. But here’s why I decided that I would give it a shot.

I remember the second to last day of summer school in Mrs. Aranda’s government class. I was sitting in my spot scanning the room like I usually do when I space out. When she began to tell the class about Ethic and showing us the first two magazines I didn’t know what to expect. The way I saw it was “Hey! That class could give me an elective so I can fill up my schedule and still have no six period.” So I decided I would see what I would find.

I was uncertain of how I would be involved and what I would like to do. After already saying I would try it, it became official. I got into contact with my counselor and next thing I knew I found myself sitting in a telepresence class with people I don’t even know (from different schools?) doing something that was way out of my comfort zone.

After the first few articles and some good ideas, I became an editor for A&E. That gave me a reason to commit, along with getting closer to everyone in this group, and becoming comfortable writing about things that were important to me such as marching band and other things. I am grateful to Mrs. Aranda for getting me interested in this class.

What I want people to get from this story is that life has a funny way of bringing you to different paths and that you never know which path you’ll take. So if it’s a path that brings you back to a former interest or sparks a new interest just go for it, take a bit of a test run and see if you enjoy it. This is the final time I get to write something like this so I hope I had a worthwhile effect on all of you readers and that you enjoyed my articles.

Column: You and I, First and Lasts

Firsts and Lasts

BY MAYA SANCHEZ, Editor-in-Chief

This news publication is nearing its end: after this publication, there is the magazine, then it’s for next year’s team to start again. And as the year comes to a close, one of the things that’s most prevalent on seniors’ minds (not all seniors, of course, because each person is different) is college.

Some of you reading this already know where you are going, some are still deciding, and others have no clue. It’s stressful, to say the least, no matter what part of the college adventure that you are in. But it’s never just college, is it? It’s the programs that the college offers, it’s the city that it’s in, it’s the atmosphere of the college. It’s the parts that make the whole.

Out of my friend group, I’m the only one that’s going out of state. It’s not really a surprise, as I have only been looking at east coast schools, and they’ve been looking at solely Californian schools. It’s not unexpected but it still is a bit weird thinking about spending time away from them, meeting new people, and making new memories with new friends that aren’t them.

This isn’t supposed to be a sob story about me lamenting the woes of youth and about crumbling friendships, nor do I think of it as such. I think of it as another part of life that lies before me. I’m excited to take it, excited to leave high school behind and go onto the world full of bigger and better things. But change is always going to be faced with apprehension, and that’s okay.

Senior year has been filled with a lot of firsts. It was the first time I spent the entire school year driving myself to school. It was the first time I became involved in newspaper. It was the first time I went to prom! But in the same breath, it’s been filled with a lot of lasts. And as the days tick down, it is officially going to be our last.

For me, those lasts meaning enjoying the Californian sun as much as humanly possible because I know I will be missing it when I move out east. For you, it could be something completely different. Chances are, it is.

So whatever those lasts mean to you, whether it’s worry or joy or some odd combination of the two, make them yours. We’re only in high school once, after all. And even though these probably weren’t the best four years of our lives, they were four important ones.

Even writing this is a last– and a truly bittersweet one.

I truly hope that you make your lasts worthwhile.

Column: The sum of my experiences, I am a Global Citizen

I am a Global Citizen


​Over the course of my life I have been fortunate enough to have been to 32 states, three provinces, two territories, 36 independent nations, four dependencies, and one principality. Each individual place has left a mark on my being and they have all contributed to the person I have become; we as humans are the products of our experiences and my travels are fundamental experiences in my life. Because of these experiences I am a proud citizen of the world and I have learned how to look at things through different eyes.

People often ask me why I care about what is going on in countries on the other side of the world. The simple answer I give them is that what happens in other places can affect us here at home. The truth is, if I were to give them the real answer it would take much longer. Since I have been exposed to a variety of different cultures starting at a young age, I do not really separate people based on their nationality or culture; I see humans as one people. Even though there are borders with fences and walls, our common sense of humanity should transcend division and I believe that most people would agree with that assessment. This viewpoint is fundamental to who I am and what I believe; it is the reason I take a compassionate and humanistic stance on most issues.

One major aspect of travel is keeping an open mind, and trying new things such as food or maybe even learning a new language. Before I go to a new country I try to familiarize myself with the regional customs and some basic linguistics to make my experience more enjoyable. Opening myself up to other cultures has allowed me to develop a very open mind, a characteristic that is a pillar of who I am as a person and who I strive to be. I believe that If you do not accept other cultures for what they are it will lead to xenophobia, the fear of other cultures and nationalities. I am not suggesting that one should forget their own cultural identity, but what I am saying is that keeping an open mind is very important to personal growth.

Connecting to other people is one of the traits that makes us human. I have spoken to people from the hills of Tennessee, the islands of the Bahamas, and the flatlands of Siberia, and they all have one thing in common: they were interested in how we liked their homelands and just how we were feeling that day. Compassion for other people is the most fundamental characteristic of humanity. I have learned that everyone I meet is human and for the most part they have good intentions. Some people would call my disposition naïve but I call it basic human decency.

My travels have defined who I am, both as a person and as a citizen of the world. They are also the main reason I have decided to major in Political Science with a focus in International Relations; my plan is to get my bachelors degree and then go on to law school to get my J.D. in Foreign Policy Law. It is my hope that I will be able to affect change in the world by sharing my compassion and problem solving ability in the world of diplomacy. The biggest thing I have taken away from traveling is that if one keeps an open mind and recognizes the common humanity that unites us all, the world does not seem such a dark and scary place, but rather a world of hope and potential.

Column: Until We Meet Again.

Perspectives from a Positively Stressed Senior
​This is it. My last column for TRUE Ethic news. I want to start off by saying thank you to all the readers, you guys have helped grow this paper so much and I’m so grateful for that. Second of all, I want to thank the amazing freelance staff for the time and energy they also put into this paper. Thank you to my fellow editors, this journey would not have been the same without you guys, and I love you all. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank Mrs. Aranda for her relentless commitment to this newspaper and to her students, this paper would not have been possible, or the same without you.

These last four years, I have had the privilege of attending Redlands East Valley High School. Here I have met some of my best friends, mentors, and have built life-long relationships. High school has been quite a roller coaster, but I have been fortunate enough to go to a high school that cares. I felt this was an appropriate topic for my last blog, so, here are some reasons why I love REV so much:

The administration and staff. Anyone who knows me, knows I am very close with all the administration and staff on our campus. I truly believe, that these people are some of the most caring and loving. Mr. Maloney never fails to make me smile, whether it’s through a joke, a compliment, or just a “good morning.” Mrs. Murillo, Mrs. McCue, and Mrs. Chann are always there to give me encouragement and love when I need it, a good cry, a kick in the butt, or just a random conversation about life. My counselor, Mrs. Delmonico, is there when I need to rant, a hug, or to talk about our love for the same sports. My teachers are there for me when I need some patience, knowledge, or understanding. I would like to give a special thanks to Mrs. Aranda, Mrs. Gardner, and Mrs. Ford for always being there when I needed it. If it were not for these people, high school would not have been the same.

The family aspect. As most high school campuses do, REV has it’s share of cliques. This does not stop the students from sticking up for each other and having each others backs. When a tragedy hit the school, I saw the kids come together and support anyone who needed it. It didn’t matter if they were the biggest football star on campus, or in the marching band, the kids were there for each other. This doesn’t happen on many campuses, but, I have seen it happen more often than not at REV.

The programs. Throughout my 4 years at REV I have been involved in Colorguard, Wind Ensemble, Soccer, Cross Country, Track, Link Crew, One Club, and FCA. REV offers so many clubs, sports, and performing arts etc. for students to be involved in. It’s very easy to feel like you fit in at REV. The programs are some of the best in the city, and even in California. We are a school of state champions, CBL title holders, award winning AVID programs, and so much more. I would like to thank Mr. Hollett, my band teacher, for helping me remember what music is really about, and helping me fall in love with it again. The programs at REV have helped to keep me focused on what was important and get involved in the school.

These few things have had a lasting impact on my high school experience. I feel very fortunate to have gone to REV with all the great opportunities available. I will truly miss this school, and I will miss writing for this paper. TRUE Ethic newspaper has done so much for me and it will always have a lasting impact on my life. I will never forget the memories I have made, the people I have met, or the lessons I have learned. Thank you to everyone who has made my high school experience extraordinary.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?’ – Winnie the Pooh

Column: Making the Most of Your High School Timeline

When I was a freshman, all of the seniors would tell me about how fast high school would go by, and at the time, I didn’t believe them. Now that I’m a senior who is under two months away from graduating, I find myself giving a similar message.

While all four years seemed to go by quicker than I thought, I am content with leaving high school knowing that I will have no regrets as to what I have accomplished in my time here.

From the classroom to the basketball court, I’ve done all that I can for my school while facing challenges that included the sorrows of AP and honors classes, the effects of surgery, and many others.

August 15, 2012– I walked on to the Redlands East Valley campus for the very first time as a student. Unfamiliar faces crowded me across the school, while I prepared for four years of memories, achievements, and lessons that would last a lifetime.

My freshman year was going well as a student athlete until an unforeseen event occurred.

Dec. 3– The day of my first regular season high school basketball game and unfortunately a date that changed my life forever. A few hours before tip-off, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my hip bone. Whether this tumor would be classified as benign or not, was unknown, making my circumstance a bit scarier.

Facing off adversity from the news, I went to my game and scored what would be my season high of 12 points, in our 61-40 win.

Dec. 8– Five days later, we won the championship game in overtime, 55-52, where I would once again score 12 points, in my final game before my surgery.

Dec. 10- Since my health concern required immediate surgery, I was forced to take all five of my final semester exams on this day, which was followed by my final basketball practice for weeks.

Dec. 11– I went into surgery, and after learning of the fortunate news that my tumor was benign, I spent multiple days in the hospital, thinking about returning home and to  the court.

Even though my doctor predicted that I would be off of the court for six to eight weeks, I returned to practice in just three.

Jan. 8, 2013- After watching 11 games from the sideline, I returned to my first in-game action since my recovery, nearly a month later, which also happened to be our first Citrus Belt League game of the season, in which we won 60-44 over Yucaipa High School.

In regards to my health, for the remainder of the season, I played limited minutes due to not being at full strength quite yet. Although this was a struggle for me, I adjusted as best as I could, and my team went on to finish the season with a total record of 25-1, undefeated in league play, en route to winning the CBL Championship.

Sophomore and junior years are a blur of AP and honors classes, doctor’s appointments, and hours of committing myself to basketball. Pretty soon, I’m a senior and a young adult.

August 12, 2015- I’m walking onto the REV campus for my first day of school for the final time there.

To my surprise, some of my closest friends from my first year of high school, weren’t the ones with me as I headed into my last year. But I was completely fine with that, because the important ones were the ones who were always by my side.

Although I had grown to be quite familiar with the campus and people around it, this first day just seemed to be a bit different. All of the lessons from my previous three years had to now come together for my final year. I wanted absolutely no regrets for my senior year.

Sept. 10, 2015- A special day for not only me and my classmates, but for the whole Redlands Unified School District. After about a month of hard work from both REV and Citrus Valley High School, united through our fifth period News Production TelePresence class, the RUSD released its first ever online newspaper publication by the name of “ETHIC News.”

ETHIC has accomplished more than ever thought possible this year, as we have released a total of 13 online publications and one semester recap magazine thus far. I have had the honor of holding the title of “sports editor” for this historic first year of ETHIC’s existence.

Throughout this year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet different people, make new friends, and learn the skills of journalism along the way thanks to the help of ETHIC.

Nov. 30– The date of my last season opening basketball game. My team and I had trained nonstop throughout the spring, summer, and fall in order to get ready for the regular season, and now that it was here, we wanted to leave it all out on the court. We won this game in a score of 90-66, which would turn out to be our first win of 24 total this season.

Feb. 12, 2016- 22 wins later, and we’re now looking to clinch a share of the league title. On this day, we celebrated our “Senior Night,” in which all of the seniors of the program would be honored in their last home regular season game in the Wildcat gym.

Ironically, for all of the seniors who had played four-years at REV, we were facing off against the CBL team who we played first as freshman, Yucaipa.

After the pregame ceremony for the seniors, it was game time, and nothing was going to stop us from winning the CBL title for our school. We came out firing right off of the bat, and we never looked back, as we went on to win the game 55-27, earning a share of the league title in doing so.

Following my junior season in which we failed to achieve the CBL championship, this meant more than just a title, it was a representation of all the years of dedication us seniors, juniors, and sophomores had given to this program.

Feb. 23– A date that I will never forget. I didn’t know it then, but this would be the final high school basketball game of my career

It was the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Playoffs, and we were matched up with La Mirada. The game seemed to have a different sense about it from the start.

Although the game went back and forth, we lost in a final score of 63-50. After the game, emotions were shared as we all realized that was our last game together as a team. For us seniors, our high school basketball careers had now come to a close. Even though it was all over, we couldn’t help but think about all that we had achieved in these past four years for our school.

March 1- A few weeks later, my status for my future was confirmed when I was accepted to the University of California, Riverside.

UCR is a school that was attended by both of my parents, and while I’m sad to leave REV, I’m so proud and honored to be able to attend the university and call it my home for the next four years.

For me, high school wasn’t just a waste of four years. It was a time to help me figure out who I truly
am before I begin the next chapter of my life, while making memories that will last forever.

I hope that your senior year, you look back on your high school timeline with pride as well.

Column: Through My Eyes


First of all I would like to thank everyone who has been reading and keeping up to date with the Ethic Digital Newspaper and I hope you have fully enjoyed what we, the Ethic team, has shared with you.

This will be the last time that I share the many artistic things I enjoy with you so I want to make it a good one. I was pondering for a while before I decided that I wanted to share my years  here at Redlands East Valley with all of you. All the people here that have had and will always have a lasting impact on me along with areas around campus that hold memories for me. I am sharing this with you through the art form that I enjoy most…photography.

Please enjoy and thank you to all the readers and everyone here at Redlands East Valley High. Farewell and fun readings!

One last thing I would like to mention is my experience in the Ethic newspaper class, sure in the beginning it was a lot of work but in the end it was all worth it. I had an amazing time and I am so glad I joined. I started out joining just for photography but I ended up writing my own columns and that really helped me personally. I never felt like I was a strong writer but this class has helped me become more confident in my writing abilities. This class also gave me more friends. You have to collaborate with each other so as time goes on you become closer with each other. I now have friends from across town at Citrus Valley High School. I will truly miss writing for the Ethic newspaper and I also want to thank everyone in newspaper, we have accomplished so much this year together and I will miss all of you tremendously. I hope in the future we all make it to the places we dream of being. I bid you and everyone graduating good luck.

“Moving on is easy but what you leave behind is what makes it hard.”

Editor’s note: Photography that was originally published with this column is not included.

Column: Five Things High School Has Taught Me

Live to Inspire

They say high school is the best four years of your life. They say high school teaches you how to become an adult and teaches independence. They say high school is what you make it.

They were right.

​High school has done so much more for me, and it is because I allowed it be the best 4 years of my life. High school has taught me multiple lessons, but I will share with you the five most important things I am taking away from my high school experience.

1. Be Yourself: As cliche as this sounds, being yourself is one of the most important things high school has taught me. I had a tendency to want to fit in with the rest of the crowd and be like others around me. Overtime, I had a revelation that fitting in is completely boring and unsatisfying. Being true to yourself, despite what others have to say, is what really brings someone real satisfaction. Never settle for fitting in, we are all better than trying to be a replica of others.

2. Never set limits for yourself: Never assume you can’t do something. You will never know what you are capable of achieving until you try something. A personal example for myself, is my choice to take AP Calculus my senior year. My strength has never been math, but I was determined to challenge myself by taking it. It has been difficult, but I refused to set limits for myself.

3. Be as kind as possible to yourself and others: Throughout high school, it is normal to doubt yourself, but it is incredibly important to always be kind to yourself and and others around you. High school is a learning experience, from learning about yourself to learning about your peers. It is normal to become impatient, frustrated at times, and discouraged. But never stop being kind, as your actions and words have a lasting affect on others around you.

4. Say yes to the challenge: I was never in yearbook, I was never a part of the newspaper, but senior year rolled around and I was asked a question that would change my entire high school experience for the better. Our advisor, Mrs. Aranda, asked if I would be interested in not only being a part of a digital newspaper she was starting, but being the Editor-in-Chief of what became known as Ethic. I said yes. Without having any experience, saying yes to this challenge has done so much for me. So, if you are ever faced with something that seems challenging, do not doubt yourself and just say yes. The outcome will be so rewarding.

5. Focus on your Education: High school is meant to be filled with fun activities, but never lose sight of its main purpose. You are here to further your education first and foremost. Do not ever forget that. When senior year comes around, you will see all of your hard work over the four years pay off and it is the greatest reward.

I sincerely hope this advice helps anyone who is still in high school and even ones who are beginning college.

Lastly, I would like to thank the readers of TRUE Ethic, and everyone who made it successful in its first year! I am so grateful to have been apart of this, and will always be thankful for it.

We have accomplished an unprecedented amount in just its first year. I have gained new friends that I will have for a lifetime, learned about myself on a deeper level, and have discovered my passion for writing.

Thank you Ethic, staff, and readers for giving me one of the best experiences of my high school career.