We love our leader

Samantha Bradley

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The staff smiles at this year's memories (not pictured: Rachel Kadoshima). Photo by Beej Haas

The staff smiles at this year’s memories (not pictured: Rachel Kadoshima). Photo by Beej Haas

Thirty years from now, what will we seniors remember about high school? When we flip through the dusty yearbooks stacked in the attic, whose faces will remind us of our youth? I don’t know about the rest of the seniors, but the part of these four years I hope to remember is the teachers. They made us laugh, they made us cry – literally – and gave us the knowledge to succeed. One teacher stands out in particular: our newspaper adviser, our fearless leader, Jeanne Hanigan.

The first time I met Hanigan, I was a frantic freshman stumbling through the halls, hoping to avoid getting crushed like a grape. My brother had told me about Hanigan. After all, he’d had her as a freshman, too.

“You have Mrs. Hanigan? Nice. She’s great, you’ll like her,” he had told me.

On the first day of class, Hanigan showed us how she likes to pick up her keys with her feet. I decided that I liked this English teacher.

Throughout the next nine months I read, wrote and revised, and Hanigan helped me every step of the way. Plus we watched “The Twilight Zone” when studying short stories and we dressed up like poets during that particular unit.

Flash forward two years later, and I’m reunited with Hanigan as a part of the newspaper staff. I had remembered her telling us freshman year about being on staff, so I decided to follow in my brother’s footsteps and apply. I was glad to be back in A3; I had only seen Hanigan in passing my sophomore year.

As I navigated the tricky waters of junior year, newspaper class was an island in the sun. Writing journalistically proved different than writing essays, but Hanigan helped me find my voice. She was our staff’s cheerleader, whether we were scrambling to finish articles or perplexed about InDesign.

Finally: senior year. Out of all my classes, I was looking forward to AP Composition and Newspaper the most, and not just because I love writing. Hanigan taught both classes. Composition challenged my writing abilities with essays, especially long essays. Every time Hanigan called me to her desk to talk over our latest paper, though, she offered her comments and critiques. But she would always say, “Sammi, you’re such a strong writer.” With her words of encouragement, I felt more confident in my writing.

Newspaper brought on a whole new responsibility: editor. Despite Hanigan’s insistence that I can lead a staff well, I doubted my abilities when it came to leading a staff in assembling an entire print newspaper each month. Hanigan helped me develop my confidence with this skill set. My favorite part of working with Hanigan on staff, though, was coming in on the weekends to work on final layout, both of us singing along to Bob Marley songs.

I would not be the writer I am today without Jeanne Hanigan. She guided me from the beginning of freshman year and has motivated me to finish strong this senior year. On behalf of the entire newspaper staff, I would like to thank Hanigan not only for leading us, but for believing in us.

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We love our leader