Jackie Cannon ’20
As we were putting the final touches on our final edition of the Spire for the year, I began to think back on my four years writing for the Spire, and how they have shaped my experience on the Hill. It would certainly be an understatement to say I never imagined finishing out my last semester from my bedroom at home, but here we are.
I find it difficult to accept that, after four years leading to this point, I won’t have any print editions of the Spire from March, April, or May 2020 to remember and celebrate the hard work of the editorial board that I have cherished working with all year. Yet it’s also difficult to be disappointed as I continue to receive enthusiastic emails from section chiefs, photographers, and other editors who are more determined than ever to bring our campus community together through journalism. Despite the difficult circumstances and the heavy cloud that has been lingering in my and my fellow seniors’ lives for the past six weeks, the Spire has served as an inspiration as the entire staff demonstrates a relentless passion and excitement for the work we are doing.
I’ve been wondering since September how I would say goodbye to the student organization I love so much and have poured so much of myself into. Would I go out with one final front-page article culminating from an extensive investigation, would I simply fade away after putting out our May edition, or (following the shock of the announcement we would move to online classes) would I finish on a random day in February without even knowing I was working on my last edition? I started crafting this farewell letter a thousand times over in my head as the year progressed and I continued to experience new things and meet new people. But, in the end, I always came back to the idea of sharing about what I learned and the relationships I formed, and hoping this might encourage underclassmen to embrace unexpected opportunities for growth.
As an editor, perhaps the greatest privilege I experienced was to be on the front lines of the events that would come to define our four years on the Hill for the class of 2020. There was no point in attempting to keep track of the number of events, lectures, faculty meetings, interviews, and more that I got to cover on behalf of the Spire. I was there for our name change from the Crusader to the Spire, as well as the College’s decision not to change the school’s mascot. I was there to cover all of the sit-in developments, and to stay up-to-date on the aftermath during the next school year. With every event I covered and every student, faculty, or staff member I interviewed, I became increasingly grateful for the opportunity to engage so much with the campus and the community, and to share what I learned with everyone.
If there is one piece of advice I would give to underclassmen, it would be to engage with the campus as much as you can while here. This will look different for everyone, but no matter what you get involved with, there is a community to be found. You don’t have to go out and join a bunch of clubs; one of the most eye-opening things I have done as a Spire editor is to attend different events and lectures where I had no connection to the clubs sponsoring the events. We are all a part of an amazingly diverse, interesting community of students, faculty, and staff, each with a story to share, and exploring as many opportunities as you can will open your eyes to so many of these incredible stories.
I applied to be a news editor on a whim during my second semester of freshman year. I wanted to get more involved with clubs and get back into journalism from what I had done in high school. Somehow, this turned into several years of leadership positions and a community of editors who taught me so much, as friends and as mentors. Now, as a graduating senior finishing up my third semester as Editor-in-Chief, nothing gives me more joy than working with the underclassmen on the Spire staff, who are so eager to learn, grow, and publish the best possible student newspaper for their peers. If I could, I would never leave the newspaper staff, but I also know the Spire is in safe and competent hands, and I cannot wait to see what they will do next year in a world that will undoubtedly be changed from what we were all used to in years past.
Together with my incredible co-Editor-in-Chief, Billy Fitzpatrick, whom I cannot thank enough for his support and incredible energy this year, I now take my place in a long line of graduated Editors-in-Chiefs for the Holy Cross student newspaper. It has been an honor and a delight to lead a team of fantastic editors, and to carry the tradition of a 96-year-old publication that has always been at the forefront of reporting campus news. From learning to write semi-successful eggplant articles to learning how to confidently interview high-ranking members of the administration, the Spire has taught me so much that I will carry with me as I move into the world outside of Holy Cross. I can decisively say my four years with the Spire have made me who I am today and taught me to be an active, engaged, passionate member of every community I belong to, and to always pursue truth and knowledge. I am forever grateful for the Spire and the editorial staffs for each of my four years, and I cannot wait to read the Spire for years to come.
Photo by Hui Li ’21.