To Fivay, With Love, and Hate, and Desperation


Daniel Sterbens

Daniel Sterbens, Editor in Chief

    To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation. That’s the name of my all time favorite news article and as I come close to the end of my time here at Fivay I am reminded of one of the things that helped me fall in love with journalism in the first place. Putting aside for a moment any emotions you may have for the namesake of the article, read what the article was about.

    Throughout his administration, President Obama would read a few letters from the thousands he received daily. The article told the story of how one letter, one voice, got it’s way to the most powerful man in the world. The true beauty of the entire article and the entire letter opening process, was that there were no filters on any of this, just ordinary Americans calling out into the dark night hoping for someone to yell back. Some letters were heartbreaking, some letters were not, but behind it all was a voice asking for change.

    Though one of my biggest goals is to strive for originality in what I write and do, there are no substitutes for perfection. So I began the process of writing this in a similar way to my favorite article. I opened up my music, started a new playlist, and in the description wrote (paraphrasing a line in the letter writing process) you have one week to make an impact in the life of a Fivay student.

    I’ve had a long four years at Fivay high school, I think the entire class of 2019 really has. What once felt like years inside of years has appeared to slip through the cracks of time. It’s forced me to stand and face the music. Looking back at the trials and tribulations of that freshman year, all the things that seemed so important seem so insignificant now.
         That mindset leads to my first piece of advice to Fivay; what seems to be awful today will be the easiest part of tomorrow. There are a lot of things this world and this school will throw at you, but above at the end of the day be  sure to learn to roll with the punches, take life in strides, and NEVER pass on a chance to seize the moment.
We waste a lot of time in life and we don’t even really know it until we find ourselves looking for more of it. Whether it’s at school or in life, be sure to use this time to the fullest.

Take a chance and put yourself or your idea out there. The best things that I have seen happen at this school have been because people lived for the moment. Too often we let ourselves get stuck in this mindset where we can put things off for tomorrow or that someone else can pick up the slack, but we complain when things don’t happen when we want them to. The devil is really in the details and to get the most out of your time here, spend your time trying to give the most you can and you will get the most back.

If not me then who, and if not now, when?

     Humility, humility, humility.
One thing that this school never ceases to do is remind you how lucky you are. For that reason, when you do things do them for the right reasons. Act out of kindness to each other and work not for recognition in clubs or sports, but because you know it will help the people around you. Be willing to give something up for someone or something at this school and I promise you will get something back. There are a lot of things we can do in small ways to make this place better and all it takes to spark it all is a single act of kindness or selflessness that will ignite a fire that will burn for the ages.

    Love what you do, do what you love, love who you are. Find a passion here. To go through four years of high school without giving a shot at one of the many opportunities it (especially Fivay) offers is a disservice to yourself. Put yourself fully into the work you do and you will get more out of it than you expected. Find a subject or class or club you love and envelope yourself in it. This is the time and these are the chances to find out who you are and what you love. When you find what makes you happy, your days seem brighter and when you do something for a thing you love you’ll never get tired of it.

Not every subject or every class will really excite you, Sometimes it might even anger you, but don’t try to be too cool or too important to give something a try. I have put hours and hours of time and poured out my emotions into what I have done and it’s made me feel so strongly that it’s gotten me to hell and back.

       And another thing, just because you haven’t been to hell and back doesn’t mean you have to. The story of the trip should be enough to keep you away from it all and make you try to ensure no one else will too. A lot of people you walk past in the halls everyday are going through things you couldn’t even possibly imagine. If you stopped and really listened to the problems you or I or the people around us at this school have you’ll start to see we really are going through similar things, just in different ways. Be a voice for one another and soon you won’t feel so alone when you speak.

        Set out with the goal of achieving a goal. I have seen so many ideas and plans never come to fruition at this school for countless reasons. Sometimes they were out of our control and sometimes they were not, but that should not stop you from getting to a goal you truly believe in. We have to be realistic with ourselves and one another to truly work together and get things to be the way we want them to be. Change doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without any slip ups, so be able and willing to fight through it all to see the change you want to see.

    Last year, I did a TEDx speech at a district event representing Fivay. At that speech,  I said “when we all come together, we can do incredible things.”  I believed it then and I believe it now. We can do incredible things if we all come together.  This is a message that I found repeated in the letters in my favorite article.  I feel it’s a message that has worked for our school during my time here. At the worst moments we experience, we become greater. As I worked as a hurricane shelter volunteer I saw first hand just how far some of you were willing to go in a dark hour to be a beacon of light coming up on the morning horizon.

I’ve seen this philosophy lived out through my senior year and taking control of the Talon Newspaper. Being a part of Fivay’s journalism program has been one of the most challenging things, I had to do during my senior year. You may not know it but for roughly 5 months, I had to become the teacher of the newspaper class as we looked for a new advisor. During that time, I learned several things about Fivay and myself. Most importantly, I learned how important it is for students to respect the effort your teachers put into the classroom. I also have a bit of advice for teachers. Try and respect your students and all they have to go through in and out of Fivay’s halls.

Newspaper has been the biggest thing I have had to handle this year, but I would not have gone through it all if I did not believe that we have some of the most talented students in the state and are one of the best programs too.
To my classmates, I am sorry I could not have done more. Though many may not be returning next year, take the lessons this class has taught you with you in all you do. Never stop looking to tell the stories of those around you and let your creative spirits fly high. As we say goodbye to an era of journalism at Fivay, we welcome a new one that I know will be bright and I know that I leave The Talon in amazing hands.

    Building the culture of this school and being a part of it has been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. It scares me to death having to walk away from it all and see if what I’ve done can stand on its own two feet. In all my editorials and stories I have written, I’ve carried this bit of hope and optimism I’ve had for the school and I hope that at least part of it has rubbed off on you. It pains me to say goodbye to Fivay, a place I have loved and has frustrated so, but so long as there is heart there is hope, and so long as there is hope there is change.
I would be lying if I said I had achieved all I set out to do here, but I know that the change I hoped to see does not come overnight and requires a great deal of change in all of us. My biggest regret is that I could not give more to Dr. Stanley and the staff here at Fivay; I find myself wishing there was more that I could have done. But the torch that shines the light on the future of Fivay has been passed on to a new generation. The changing of the guard is an emotional transition but a necessary and beautiful one. Every year we have the chance to begin anew with a fresh mind and perspective and in each changing of the guard one thing stays the same, there are four years of high school, and it is the drive and dream of those below us to shape it into reality.

A reality filled with love, hate, and desperation.