Goodbye, Lamplighter…

PLD Lamplighter's 2017-18 co-Editors-in-Chief, Sharon Chen and Abigail Hendren, sign off for the last time.

May 30, 2018

Sharon Chen

Lamplighter holds a special place in my heart. The impact it had on my experience at Dunbar can’t ever be fully expressed.

I remember my first time hearing about Lamplighter. It was my freshman year, and my friend Caroline was telling me about a class she was taking called Broadcast Journalism. Being curious, I decided to sign up for it my sophomore year. This was the same year Lamplighter took over WPLD. From the beginning, everyone was so welcoming, and working on WPLD became something I grew to love.

The very first segment that I ever worked on was a football segment. That was the very first time I ever recorded anything, and I even got complimented on my b-roll! That experience was exciting for me, and I met Mercedes Adams, one of my best friends, because of that experience.

I started off editing segments. I didn’t know how to edit at first, but I was determined to learn and to get better.  I once stayed after school until 9 p.m. to learn how to edit from Rain Fisher who was the broadcast editor my sophomore year. It was the first time I ever did anything like that, and I’ve been editing segments ever since.

Lamplighter became my favorite part of school pretty quickly, and I wanted to share the fun with my other friends. I practically begged them to join. I’ll admit, I was relentless about it. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. That’s when Vicky Chen, my sister, and Katherine Lin, my best friend since we were little, decided to join.  Lamplighter wouldn’t be the same without them.

You see, Lamplighter is special. It has this crazy ability to bring people together. Through Lamplighter, I’ve met so many amazing people and made friendships that will last a lifetime. Without Lamplighter, I never would’ve met Edith Cruz or Kaden Gaylord, who along with those I’ve already named, are some of my very best friends. Thanks to Lamplighter, I got to meet the people that made high school so memorable.

With such a great community, we were bound to come up with some great ideas. Now I wouldn’t say I created Geek Squad, but I think I helped make it what it is today. I hope Geek Squad continues entertaining everyone long after I graduate. I became close with Jack Stokley my first year with Lamplighter and because of that, I helped him create Geek Squad my junior year. I was basically the cameraman. When I was still learning the basics, Jack guided me and helped me improve a lot. I always saw him as a mentor, because I knew he would always be there for me if I ever needed help.

And let’s not forget Sports Boys. Now I can’t say I created Sports Boys either because Kaden will get mad, butttt…I helped Sports Boys become what it is now. Sports Boys combined the laid back with the funny, and they never failed to make us happy. I gotta admit, I miss the old sports boys. I got pretty close to them when I was their maestro leader last year, and after filming for them for a while, we became really good friends. Let’s hope Mike Rosen, Gbutue Vorkpor, and Matt Jones are having as much fun in college as I had with them at Dunbar.

I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to be Sigma maestro leader last year. Everyone worked really hard and so well together that we won story of the week for a month straight! Katherine always says #teamalphaforthewin but honestly Sigma always and will be the best team. #sigmasthebest! And I think Yousef Agoub, this year’s Sigma maestro leader, can agree on that one with me.

I going to be real with everyone, last year I didn’t even think about applying for the Editor-in-Chief position but with all the editors, friends, and Mrs. Turner pushing me, I decided to apply for the position, which I’m really glad I did. The past and present staff of Lamplighter are my family.

I’ve been with Lamplighter for three years now: that’s 618 blocks and 55,620 minutes in room 203, not including the extra time I’ve put in during and after school. You could say Lamplighter’s my second home. And that home wouldn’t be the same without Mrs. Turner, my school mom. I appreciate all she’s done for me, and how she encouraged me throughout my years in Lamplighter. She taught me so much and put so much effort into showing me my strengths and weaknesses, and even though I don’t say this as much as I should, “Thank You, Mrs. Turner! I’m gonna miss you and all the good time we’ve had. Lamplighter wouldn’t be what it is without you.”

I’ve gotten to do so many things around the school like senior awards night, pep rallies, the lip-dub last year, using the video board at games, and covering events. So many things I enjoyed, and so many things I will miss. They made me appreciate Dunbar for what it is. Lamplighter made me become deeply connected to the Dunbar community, and being on staff raised my school spirit. 

And as I pass the torch to the next editors, I ask them to create their own memories of Lamplighter. I hope that they all make new friends through Lamplighter and share new experiences with them. I hope they meet their own version of Jack, Abby and the Sports Boys, and anyone else that makes their time here worthwhile. 

And in the end, I hope next year’s staff finds a home in Lamplighter just as I did.

And I just want to say this one last time…Well, maybe not the last time, but…”Love you guys!”

Your Editor-in-Chief,

Sharon Chen

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Abigail Hendren

So, I really procrastinated writing this article. I honestly think I’ve been dreading it since the day that we published last year’s Editors-in-Chief farewell. And this entire year, I haven’t been able to figure out why I’ve been dreading it so much. But recently, I’ve realized that it’s because this article–right here–is my formal goodbye to Lamplighter as Editor-in-Chief.

Because regardless of every snide remark I made to you guys, or every time one of you caught me asking myself why I got myself into this, I have and will love my experience in Lamplighter these past few years endlessly.

As a freshman, I was convinced that there was no other option for me other than to graduate early and get out of Dunbar as soon as possible. School felt incredibly pointless to me and I felt as if I had no reason to go. I lacked a purpose– a reason to want to do well. Now, in my final days of being a student at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, I am absolutely in awe of the overwhelming love and attachment that I’ve developed for this school. Because that’s what Lamplighter gave me–as soon as I joined the staff, I found that driving force that I needed to make my experience here incredible. The reason for me to want to get up every day and do better, and to cherish the time I have here.

I won’t lie and say that I loved every second of it. We all know this has been a tough year and frustration has been visible in each of us at times. But I will say that I am amazed at how privileged I am to have been a part of this crazy, unique, and soo soo important organization. So thank you in general, to Lamplighter, for being the most diverse, hard-working, and in my opinion, important organization in the school.

The relationships I’ve formed here are truly ones I’ll never forget. Santi and Cristina, thank you for being my best friends and partners in crime in this for the past two years, from being the three musketeers to editors, I’ve enjoyed every second with you two. Yousef, thank you for allowing me to throw you into the deep end this year and force you to join our little family, simply because I assume you know everything. Also thank you to YouTube, for ensuring that Yousef could figure out all of the things I asked him to do.

To Julia and RORO, for being my pension pals and working and putting up with me through every emotion that comes along with a grueling piece such as that one. To Katherine for sitting with me through every painful moment of my common app, and also for “bopping” with me always. To Mercedes, for being the literal embodiment of our perfect human resources department. To Remy, for surprising me every day with the immense amount of potential you have yourself and bring out in other people. Matthew and Olivia, for somehow handling being thrown into our crazy editorial board mid-year and dealing with me forcing you all into being even more amazing and hardworking than you already are.

Kaden, for always joking with me and laughing instead of getting angry whenever I’m being hard to deal with, and also for letting me sleep on you our entire red-eye flight home from San Francisco. And Edith, because even though we beefed rather often, we always managed to get over it, and you never failed to surprise me with how much determination, passion, and resilience you hold. I’m unbelievably proud to call all of you my friends.

Sharon, I excluded you from this group because you became more than a friend to me. We promised each other at last year’s ceremony that we would always love each other, and not be fake in how we cared for each other, and that’s what we did. We became our own little family, some days we didn’t even have to speak to know what was going on and get the job done.

And last but not least, Mrs. Turner. Through all of the ups and downs that I and everyone else experienced this year, you were the one thing that remained constant and steady. You allowed Lamplighter to truly be a home for all of us and especially myself by opening your arms and accepting us as your children. I feel ridiculously blessed to have such an amazing person come into my life, finally tap into the potential I held, and show me what I wanted to do with my life, all the while trying to keep up with your own life. I truly could not be more grateful to have had you as my school mom, and my primary role model. I can’t wait one day to be one of the kids that you brag on to all of your new students, and I’ll hopefully make you proud.

And lastly, I just wanted to say good luck to next year’s editorial board. You can ask any current member, we all had many hopes and plans for this year, and promises that we would “never be like the ones before us,” but I hope that we have set a solid foundation for you guys to grow even more than you, or any of us, could imagine. Good Luck.

I love you all, thank you so much for being the highlight of my high school career. Now let’s get cracking. 🙂

Signing off as your EIC for the last time,

Abigail Hendren

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