Telling the story of LHS mattered

Senior says farewell after two years as editor of student newspaper


By Zia Kelly

To conclude my tenure at The Budget, I thought it would be the most appropriate to complete my farewell letter like I completed most of my published work: at the last possible second.

On the morning of senior skip day — joined by the company of 14 of my classmates who spent the morning in ISS — I came to school to finish up my final remarks after four years writing for the paper.

I parked next to the football field, where I have memories of covering our all-star senior class from the sidelines as they dominated the Sunflower League during an undefeated regular season. I remembered seeing the same field vandalized with racially-charged graffiti and leading my staff in covering not only the crime itself, but the underlying narrative about race and socio-economic divisions between the two high schools.

I entered through the newly-renovated front doors, which my staff followed in every step of construction as well as scrutinized it as a solution to school security

I walked past students and staff whose stories I have gotten to tell during the past four years.

As a member of The Budget staff, I have gotten to be a part of it all.

When I joined the journalism staff my freshman year, I had no clue what sort of responsibility student publications had to their communities, nor what impact they could have. Telling the stories of Lawrence High has been my primary focus ever since.

When I became editor of The Budget my junior year, I took on a role that challenged me more than anything or anyone ever has. My focus, patience and work ethic were tested. But more importantly, my moral compass and sense of responsibility to others were developed quickly and prolifically.

For this, I have 15 print publications, a slate of multimedia coverage and a severe caffeine addiction to show for it.

In this publication, we strived to publish the stories that needed to be told — no matter how big or small, how light-hearted or sensitive. I took my duty to inform the LHS community seriously, and worked to treat each subject and source with the respect they deserve.

We strived to be representative of the entire student body — not just the easily-visible. We worked to ensure that we gave voices to those who need them, and spoke on behalf of those who couldn’t themselves.

We strived to provide clarity in the face of uncertainty. In high school — where rumors often dominate the narrative — we took The Budget’s position as a credible source very seriously.

We strived to publish a newspaper that was meaningful to students, staff, parents and community members alike.

Although my final goodbye to Room 139 is hard to accept, I know the publication will be in good hands in the years to come. I have full confidence in the print editor Kansas Gibler and online editor Meredith Chapple, as well as the rest of the rising editorial board, that the standards I have strived to achieve for The Budget will be met and exceeded.

Though I have had the privilege of working with many phenomenal teachers who have prepared me for college and helped me develop as an individual, I believe the most important thing I have done at LHS was learning the rights and responsibilities granted by my role as a journalist. For this, I cannot thank my staff and our adviser, Barbara Tholen, enough.

And thank you, Lawrence High. It really has been a pleasure.