Ranch Reflections are articles written by students who want to share their experiences, thoughts, and concerns. This is a great opportunity for students to branch out beyond traditional news stories.  This edition features “Mustang Ahead” senior editor Dee Evans’ review of her experiences.

Dee Evans – Mustangs Ahead Senior Editor

Reflections icon (2)(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- As the 2018-19 school year comes to an end and LRHS seniors are preparing to graduate, it means that it is my time to step down as the senior editor of “Mustangs Ahead”.

Looking back to when I first started this job at the end of last year, I never could have imagined how much this program would accomplish.

During my time as senior editor, “Mustangs Ahead” published its 5,000th story, we had our 100,000th reader, and we also had our best day ever for views. Though this may seem like a lot, looking into the future I know this program is going to do so much more.

Journalism has been a part of my life for the past four years, which is what makes leaving feel so strange. I started out in this program freshman year as a pure coincidence. I couldn’t sing, play an instrument, or act, so going into Journalism 1 seemed like one of the few viable electives for me. After learning about all the different styles of writing and realizing that I am pretty good at telling a story in the fewest words possible, I decided to continue on that path.

Since then, my love for this program has only continued to grow due to all the amazing experiences I have gained from it. I have gone from working in a small classroom office writing stories on retirements and custodians, to getting the privilege of working on the district’s “Duette Project” and creating a ‘newspaper-styled’ activity book for a first-grade fieldtrip. Finally, I got the not-so-subtle suggestion from journalism teacher Tom Honsa to apply for junior associate editor, which is a two-year job that transitioned to me becoming the senior editor this year.

Without Honsa’s push to apply for this position, I never would have thought I had a chance. It was his beliefe in my abilities and my writing that brought me to where I am today: in an incredible program that has not only helped me grow into a more confident person, but also gave me a strong leadership position that helped me get into college. For all of this, I would like to say thank you, Honsa.

I would also like to thank my staff classes from this year. Without your stories to edit, I would not have a job, so it is your hard-work that truly keeps this program running. In addition to the staff, I would also like to thank my associate editors, senior Johnny Reid and junior Manoela Dos Santos. Without their help throughout the year, this job would have been a near impossible task and would have been a much more stressful experience; thank you both for keeping me sane.

One thing that does make leaving this program easier is the new leadership team I am leaving behind. I know that the new senior editor, Dos Santos, will do an amazing job as well as the rest of the team we picked. The highly capable group of individuals that lead the other journalism departments, such as Literary Magazine and podcast, are what make this program so special, so I look forward to seeing what they will create in the future.

They are all capable of pushing this program to be its very best and I know their dedication and innovative ideas will help to take “Mustangs Ahead” to the next level.

Moving into the future, I will attend the University of Florida in the fall where I hope to major in psychology on a pre-med track to fulfill my dream of one day becoming a psychiatrist. Though leaving LRHS and “Mustangs Ahead” behind is scary, I am looking forward to seeing where my future will take me.

Stay updated on important LRHS news and share what you like by following our Twitter @LRHSNews1Instagram @mustangs_ahead, and follow the Mustangs Ahead Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud.