Farewell From the 2021-2022 Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa, Long-Time Editor and Website Founder Bids the Paper Adieu


Photo by Jinny Lee.

Alyssa Chang, Editor-in-Chief

My case is a bit of an unusual one. I became head editor of our school’s journalism program in 8th grade – I was green behind the ears and barely on the cusp of becoming a high schooler, with not much to offer besides English fluency and a history of intense novel-reading. I was on the staff a year prior, and had experience. The only real achievement I had was an NHD win at nationals, but the Flyover advisor saw some potential in me that I didn’t recognize at the time.

Eventually, I received my promotion, becoming head editor despite my middle school status. Though my résumé wasn’t very impressive at that point, neither was the newspaper’s; the Flyover was relegated to a paper issue every other quarter, produced in hurried bursts after school every Thursday.

Before I became a writer, I remember being frustrated about lots of things; about not having an outlet to express myself through. I knew the campus paper existed, and that it could be part of the solution to my frustrations. But again, I’ll be real with you. The Flyover was in rough shape. Private-school press freedom tends to be near nonexistent, and things became worse with the pandemic; online school was unkind to any student-led organization, and the Flyover was no exception. 

I didn’t want things to stay this way. I stuck with it; writing book and music reviews, handing out papers, and sucking up to advisors.

I was left to manage middle and high schoolers alike. Though the task felt monumental at first, it became routine. And getting used to things isn’t always good – there was an air of stagnancy; of unchanging, constant boredom in the newsroom. Something had to give.

The newspaper had been on break for a year as COVID took hold of a neighboring country, then our nation, and then, the whole world. That was when I knew adaptation was necessary if the paper was to survive. To optimize content for a hybrid schedule, I suggested a website to host all our content. The site had been a seed of an idea for years as I had considered ways to improve our program, but the pandemic was the push factor that finally got me to stop being lazy and make the dang thing. Pre-pandemic, my hands had always been full with article after article and the task of teaching every fresh-faced 6th grader how to write from beginning to end. With all the time I had on my hands, I decided I would finally create something new.

Believe me when I say nothing is as easy as it sounds. The website was a behemoth of a project that I put my blood, sweat, and tears into for the entirety of first semester, and I do not say this lightly. Coming up with every single design, every single page, every single widget and chunk of code was a staggeringly large task that I took on virtually alone. With much-needed feedback from Mr. Lipsky and a class that became a full-time job, however, the website finally came together. And here we are today.

I look over what I have made, and I know I’m proud of what I have created – but just proud doesn’t begin to cover all the emotions I feel about the project that has been the Flyover website, and everything it encompasses.

All in all, wrapping up this year has been the definition of bittersweet. 

Coming to the end of my senior year, I came to the startling realization that this paper has had a place in my life for about a 4th of my existence. I have had the privilege of overseeing the Jets Flyover and its staff for 5 years now – and though I’d love to take responsibility for everything that has come of this publication, I have to give credit when credit is due. The Flyover staff are some of the most creative, funny, and spirited people I know, and they’ve kept the newsroom alive. Even when I was drowning in work, I could count on the section editors to take the burden on with me. 

Jade (our leading section editor and future editor-in-chief) is the one I entrust this paper and website to for next year, and she doubles as not only an amazing editor, but also one of the funniest, most creative people I know. She makes me laugh every class without fail, and her passion for every topic is commendable – I know she’ll be going places, and doing incredible things after high school. With her at the helm, I know the Flyover will be in good hands next year.

Yes, Mikey (copy editor and specialist in news and music) can be a headache – his specialty is loudly flipping water bottles onto people’s desks – but his copy editing and passion for music are nothing less than impressive (even after that one time I blew up at him for not doing his job, but hey, progress is progress).

Justin (sports writer, editor, and future engineer) will probably be my boss in the future – if not mine, then definitely someone else’s. He’s a great editor and an amazing friend, and one of my favorite distractions from editing. Outside of school time too, he has been one of the funniest (and most gossipy) people that I know, and I endlessly appreciate his presence in my life outside of the workroom, too. He says you should drop a follow at @jleepark2003 on Instagram.

Grace (a recent joinee and section editor), though a new addition to the team, is hardworking and sweet, and I can’t wait to see what else she does with her new leadership position. The ease with which she finishes investigative and thoughtful pieces leaves me inspired to write my own.

The editing staff have forgiven me for demanding – even rude – behavior in hard times, awkwardly comforted me during my mid-year breakdown when I couldn’t take the pressure, and encouraged me to create, work hard, and strive for the best.

Lastly, I’d like to extend a thank you to DIS for lending me your pupils – even if it was just for a brief moment during advisory when Mr. Lipsky’s emails would land in your inboxes, even if it was just for the second you spent scrolling through an article or comic. Serving as the head editor of this publication has been both an honor, a humbling experience, and an opportunity for growth like no other.