My final headline


Ellen McKee

Our Knight Crier hybrid staff picture for the 2021 Accolade.

Goodbyes are meant to be hard.

As the magnificent A. A. Milne once wrote, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

As I write this, leaning on my desk in K239, I’m looking out of a door I don’t want to walk through. I don’t want to walk out that door today, on my final day of high school. I don’t want to walk past the “patio”, down the double flight of stairs, and across the building to gym. 

This room is the home of The Knight Crier. There are filing cabinets with decades of newspapers dating back to 1951 at one end of the room, a blank whiteboard that used to hold our story ideas and assignments on the other. Previous print editions hang on the walls, and the short-lived Crier on the Can hangs outside the front door.

Earlier this spring, I came into school about an hour early every day for a few weeks to organize those (to put it lightly) disorganized filing cabinets. Flipping through these documents, some that are decades older than I am, made me wonder about my legacy. In five, ten, thirty, or sixty years, will someone be flipping through the 2020 or 2021 print edition and see my name? And what will I remember most from my time here? I think I can narrow it down to two stories.

First is my documentation of the 50th Anniversary of NPHS Theatre in two acts, created through extensive interviews with NPHS Theatre Founder Cindy Louden, and current Co-Directors Andrea Roney and Debra Buckner. I have written a lot over the last three years, some of it lousy, and some of it excellent. But even when I knew something was ‘good’, it’s hard to always accept that and say “yes, this is legitimately good”. Not once did I have any doubts with either of these stories. I could see my words pouring on the page while I was still mid-interview, and I may be prouder of these articles than anything else in my portfolio. These will be historical documents to return to at the 75th Anniversary, 100th, and beyond. 

Second is my ongoing coverage of our school board. I learned very quickly, after attending my first Board meeting and shadowing then Editor-in-Chief Sameera Rachakonda back in January of 2019, how important it is to have a student there to disseminate that information to the NPHS community. At that meeting, the hot topic was the possibility of a ninth grade center. I know…it feels like that hasn’t been discussed in about a decade, but somehow it was just two years ago! Leaving that first meeting, I could never have imagined what I was in for over the next two years. 

Since the start of the pandemic, I have spent hours in my bedroom and basement watching worksessions and action meetings on NPTV’s Youtube, frantically making sure I was getting everything right. Especially in the fall, I felt a heavy responsibility to make sure I was informing our readers of the re-opening plan in a detailed but non-convoluted way. I even got a text from another senior in October who told me I was doing “god’s work”, since not many kids have the time to sit down and watch the Board meetings. I am extremely proud of how I have covered the Board through a truly (forgive me for using this word) unprecedented year, and once again, my articles are historical documents that can forever be used to look back on how North Penn got through this pandemic school year.

In our Senior Spotlights, we end each profile by asking the senior “To the Class of 2022 I leave…”  I leave the empty whiteboard on my left. There’s a baseball schedule poster, a Gatsby project, and Manero’s recently acquired Teacher of the Year plaque. Normally, there would be erased story ideas, still visible under each staff member’s name. I so hope that next year will be a return to normal, so our editors can stand up there every Monday morning and lead another great staff.

Now it’s time to load this into the site, hit publish, and walk out the door. I owe so much to The Knight Crier and everything I have learned in this room.