The good, the bad and controversial

Ellie Jordan, Managing Editor

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Photo Illustration by Lucia Bosacoma

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I find it easy to overcome the infamous case of writer’s block.

I’ve spent the last three years writing opinions columns for the Torch with all the enthusiasm of a hyper-opinionated, droll and world-weary high school student, fervently expressing my outlook to be shared with all of you. Column writing came naturally to me. I had a lot to say about a lot of the things that got me riled.

But now, as I write my final column for the Torch, I am at a loss for words.

I’ve had quite a few opinions I never wrote about because they seemed almost too taboo or controversial to share. And maybe it’s true, that not everyone at Glenbrook North would appreciate or even want to read those columns because they sparked the wrong kind of fire, — the angry, coming-to-your-door-with-a-pitchfork kind of fire — but there’s something to be said about having the platform through which to share these candid opinions anyway.

Now more than ever, I see the value in what we do as a newspaper staff. We look at our community, and we accurately transcribe its events, incidents and stories into bite-sized pieces for the public to read. We share our honest viewpoints in columns and editorials, and we face whatever backlash we receive because that’s part of the deal when we express ourselves publicly.

I know our platform is not very far-reaching in the grand scheme of the wider world, but that’s not the central goal of what we do. The point is not the extent to which our voices are heard, but rather how deeply our words touch the hearts of those who hear us.

Through Torch, we’ve made changes within our community by writing opinions that aggravated people, that caused people to cheer in approval or gasp in surprise. We’ve made changes by pointing out problems within the populace, and our voices have been heard.

Torch has been my soapbox from which to share an odd assortment of opinions on everything, but the ones that really mattered were the ones that elicited a strong reaction.

I wrote about the power of a vegan diet, about my sister’s homosexuality, about women’s rights, about what it means to embrace our youth. I wrote about introversion and wanting to be alone. I shared my truths. I shared my beliefs. Many of you reached out to me regarding the things I wrote, and for that I am tremendously grateful.

People have been asking me lately if I’m sad about high school ending. I always answer with a definitive, “No,” sometimes a, “Heck, no!” and most of the time a snort of laughter for good measure. But the question neglects to acknowledge individual aspects of high school that were, for lack of a better term, more than just high school. Aspects that go beyond the classes and the drama and the stress and the awkwardness. Aspects that will transcend high school, that will persist throughout the years to come.

Torch has been more. It has been so much more.

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The good, the bad and controversial