The Student News Site of Sir Francis Drake High School

Jolly Roger

Letter from the Editor

Aaron Silverstein

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Former Jolly Roger Editor-in-chief Erin Hollander looked at me with a tired expression as then lead sports writer, circa 2014, Tannan Silva tried to explain to me how to layout a story using InDesign. It was the end of my sophomore year and my Nonfiction class was creating the Cub issue.

I had no idea what my path in life would be, no clue what my passion was. I felt like I had no real world experience to base my opinions on. Yet here I was, tripping over how to create a text box for a page that would include my first published in story in a published newspaper or Magazine.

Few experiences give as much joy as seeing people walk around school holding newspapers that I spent 20 plus hours putting together. My journey through the Jolly Roger years hasn’t been the straightest path but probably one of the most defining things in my short “professional” career. It gave me the real world experience I so badly needed and created my passion for journalism.

It all started by random chance my sophomore year. After a day and a half of Chemistry I went into my counselor’s office and told her Chemistry  wasn’t the right class for me. She switched me into the only other 7th period elective class at the time, Nonfiction. For the rest of the year I built my journalism foundation.

After that signing up for the Advanced Journalism class the following year was a no brainer. I had a passion for investigation, and I saw the importance of the student paper on campus.

“The Jolly Roger gave me responsibility, ownership and pride at a time when I needed the experience of all of them” said former sports writer Josh Gosliner (aka Goose) in email this year to our adviser.

My junior year I was one of 15 new reporters in a 16 person class with a new adviser. It was chaos. During our first issue I realized the real world is not all “fill in the blank worksheets” and memorization “quizlets.” Designing a Jolly Roger news magazine is about determination, communication and hard work. Three attributes that can be applied to any job in life.

I quickly emerged on staff as the lead InDesign expert, except I knew nothing. My skill came from the help bar in Adobe, and I could remain more patient than anyone else on staff. So I was charged with answering questions and basically doing all layout that first semester.

Towards the end of the 2015- 2016 school year, I had my first encounter with free speech rights. We stopped the presses while printing our senior issue because a parent was worried about using her daughter as a source in a news article about about antisemitism.

Assistant Principal David Rice was very kind in helping us figure out a solution that was timely and effective. This incident was a great introduction to learning how to use my rights as a journalist to protect myself. As a youth I rarely ran into situations where real lawyers might actually have to get involved to solve a problem involving intellectual ideas.

And then this year rolled around and I took over the reins as co-editor-in-chief. I had big plans to elevate the Jolly Roger to a more prominent place on campus. I had a fantasy of it having the impact the Bark has at Redwood. 

Jolly Roger left me with the knowledge that in the real world you don’t get anywhere asking for extensions or turning in half-hearted work. The way to be successful in life is to see two steps ahead of everyone and look for a solution before the problem even comes up.”

— Aaron Silverstein

But I quickly learned that big projects like a newspaper are hard to control. It’s inherently hard to distribute tasks when I know that entire staff but more particularly myself would be solely responsible for errors in the published project. But I couldn’t do all the work by myself so like any good boss in the real world I had to trust my employees.

When we returned from Christmas break I was told that a district issue barred us from printing. They had found a way to take away one of my favorite classes in the school. The big task in front of me was to motivate a whole staff whose motivation was dwindling with a loss of actual deadlines. And, on top of that, to make sure we could print our hard work. I channeled all my anger into a solution instead of complaining about what was going wrong.

I hope people will remember this incident as my legacy for Jolly Roger because this event had the largest impact on me. It left me with the knowledge that in the real world you don’t get anywhere asking for extensions or turning in half-hearted work. The way to be successful in the life is to see two steps ahead of everyone and look for a solution before the problem even comes up.

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The Student News Site of Sir Francis Drake High School
Letter from the Editor