Chris’s Curtain Call

Chris Shields, Head Editor

After four long years it’s hard to believe that my time as a high schooler is at its end. Looking back, it seems all I remember are the dragging class periods spent mindlessly staring at a whiteboard, anxiously anticipating the moment when I’d walk across the graduation stage, diploma in one hand, busying the other with handshakes. Now that the time has come for me to close this chapter in my life and open another, I can’t believe that four years went so fast. 

For my final article, Ms. Walsh, the newspaper adviser, proposed I write a goodbye letter to high school. However, I am going a slightly different route. Of the many things I involved myself with through my time in high school, no club, program, organization, or extracurricular impacted me quite like my time as a newspaper writer. Therefore, I have chosen to instead write my final goodbye not to Helena High, but to the Nugget Newspaper.  

Prior to the introductory journalism course I took sophomore year, I was, for the most part, directionless. I had no idea what interested me besides my personal hobbies and wasn’t sure what to pursue in life. I hadn’t given much thought to writing beyond the few competitions I entered and essays I wrote here and there. It didn’t take long at all before I became hooked on journalism in its variety of forms. 

After finding something truly special in the way journalistic creativity allowed me to express myself, I signed up as a writer for the school paper the following year. Never did I expect to find myself as the paper’s Head Editor this year, and the honor continues to humble me up to these final days. 

While I’m not sure what it is about journalism and writing for the paper that speaks to me so strongly, I feel as though my life has been changed for the better since its introduction in my life. As the social butterfly I am, conducting interviews has stated my craving for human interaction. I was able to use my people skills to interview both friends and strangers, then make friends of those strangers.  

Newspaper also satisfied my yearning to be involved in my surroundings because it gave me a reason to attend events, games, concerts, gatherings, and everything in between. It also gave me an outlet to word vomit all my inner thoughts, concerns, interests, and every other random thought that popped into my chaotic mind. This newspaper gave me a purpose I didn’t know I needed, and I am eternally grateful.  

If you’ve followed the paper this year, you may have stumbled across a few of my articles. This year I published articles on my personal experiences with the Covid-19 pandemic, like “Mealtime Madness” where I overexaggerated our unfortunately short lunch breaks, “Transportation: Trials, Troubles, and Tribulations” regarding my struggles of riding the bus everyday as a vehicle-less senior, and “Chris’s Christmas Corona Conundrum” where I recapped how weird it is to be trapped in quarantine over holiday break. Maybe you enjoyed my articles that highlighted teachers’ efforts to persevere during this challenging year, like “A Study of Film Study,” “Remote Teaching,” or “A New Challenge.” Or perhaps you tuned in to the 36 entries in “Chris’s Cereal Column.” 

Through the years I posted movie, music, and TV show reviews, event coverage and advertisement, student and teacher profiles, and random editorials that literally no one but me would care about at all. Like everything else around us, newspaper class was also affected this past year by the coronavirus scare.  

My fellow writers and I can attest that this already challenging year made keeping a continuous flow of quality articles somewhat difficult. Events like dances, sports games, and concerts were either restricted or eliminated altogether, and in-person interviews were nearly impossible to achieve. 

Unfortunate circumstances aside, I can honestly say that I am proud to have written as many articles as I did, and even more proud that I did so with so many other great people by my side. We only got to be all together in class for less than three months, but I care a great deal for the fine folks around me.  

Annabelle, Emmi, Spencer, Jackie, and Ms. Walsh have all inspired me in so many ways and I’m thankful I got to know them. I am so incredibly proud of all these people, everything they have achieved, and all they will undoubtedly achieve in the future. I know wholeheartedly that every one of them will go on to do great things and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish. 

For trivia’s sake, I am currently enrolled at the University of Montana for the upcoming fall semester, with a declared major in journalism. I owe it all to this newspaper, my peers, and the awesome art form that is writing. I’ll greatly miss my time writing for the Nugget, and I have no doubt that even when I’m old and grey, and assuming the internet is still in existence and my elderly brain can figure it out, I will regularly type into my search bar to witness the next generation of writers find their purpose. Goodbye Nugget, you mean a lot to me.