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 a look back by outgoing “Mustangs Ahead” senior editor Manoela Dos Santos.
Manoela Dos Santos– Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- As the 2019-2020 school year comes to an end, it is now time for me to step down as senior editor of “Mustangs Ahead.” It is safe to say that it has truly been an unpredictable journey.
During my time as senior editor of Mustangs Ahead, we published our 6000th story, had our 150,000th reader, and sometimes published up to ten stories a day. This could not have been achieved without the extraordinary leadership team I worked with this year.
Outreach coordinator, senior Cameron Willis, acted as the public face of “Mustangs Ahead.” Willis attended every LRHS orientation and open house to inform the community about our program. She also planned every “Mustangs Ahead” fundraiser to bring in the donations that keep us up and running.
Podcast editor, senior Chloe Nelson, successfully pieced together a weekly podcast with her team, featuring LRHS staff and students. Each one with a unique theme that highlighted life at the Ranch.
Our first ever engagement editor, Zian Mahfuz, expanded our social media activity across every platform. Mahfuz incorporated infographics, comic strips, Instagram stories, and short videos, opening new doors for “Mustangs Ahead.”
Associate editors, senior Kaylee Eckelman and junior Shea Murphy, were the first to edit every story that came in this year. Without them, my job would have been nearly impossible. They worked above and beyond to ensure story quality was nothing but the best.
Finally, both staff classes did an incredible job this year. Without their hard work, there would be no stories to publish for “Mustangs Ahead.”
Looking back to the beginning of the school year I could have never imagined all that we would accomplish. I also could have never imagined that our time would be cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March when the school year went online, journalism teacher Tom Honsa called a conference with editors to explore the idea of keeping the program running. In this time of uncertainty, we knew it was our responsibility to update our readers and the LRHS community on important information and narratives from our students and teachers.
In a weeks’ time we were able to transition to a fully online operated “Mustangs Ahead.” Since then we have published at least two stories a day and even managed to create one last podcast for listeners.
Our quick and smooth transition only attests to the dedication of the leadership team and staff. This makes me confident that our incoming leadership staff will do an amazing job next year under new Senior Editor, Murphy. I look forward to seeing how they will take “Mustangs Ahead” to the next level.