A farewell letter from Editor-in-Chief, Riley Hazel

Riley Hazel, Editor-in-Chief

Dear readers,

The time has come for me to say goodbye to The Bear Truth and Winter Springs High School (virtually speaking). The past year has been incredible for my reporters and I as we revived the paper edition of The Bear Truth and welcomed our “new” sponsor (even though she originally founded the paper in 1997), Dr. Paula Vickers. Because of this, I am deeply saddened to say goodbye to an organization that I was lucky enough to call home for the past two years. 

After hearing the news that WSHS had a newspaper back in 2018, I immediately signed up. The thought of becoming the true image of “Rory Gilmore” from the Gilmore Girls delighted me. It was a small staff of four reporters, but we all got the job done. To think less than a year later, I would become Editor-in-Chief continues to blow my mind. 

This year brought many challenges as we had to adapt to new programs and shift to working from home. The staff learned to embrace these differences and put full faith forward. 

The amount of hours that I’ve spent painstakingly scrolling through final copies of the paper or editing articles in Room 7-210 is too many to count and way beyond the time spent on (close your eyes mom) my academics. 

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is this girl putting this much effort into something like this?” The answer simply is because I love it. I love to write and inform my student body. I love leading my staff into something that has never been done before.

There has never been a day where I haven’t felt the weight of the work we do and the impact that our reporting can leave. The importance of The Bear Truth has revealed itself, as we receive enormous amounts of positive feedback every time we release a new edition of the paper.

Over the past two years, I have written 35 articles, topics ranging from Women’s History Month to a three-part series on the ever so changing industry of journalism. This school year alone, The Bear Truth has produced over 100 articles. Personal favorites would include highlighting our bowling team, the severity of climate change, and a spotlight on the voter registration assembly that occurred in the auditorium this past fall.

To my staffers, that I overwork on the daily, I will miss all of you dearly. Our briefings at the table to the staff parties, all the memories that I made this year will be cherished. Embrace your differences and do “live in the moment” as cheesy as it sounds. You will be in my place soon enough.

To Dr. Vickers, thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t myself. I would be lying if I said that at times, I felt the pressure and succumbed to my own self deprecating thoughts on being a leader. You have taught me the ins and outs of journalism and hard lessons that I wouldn’t get anywhere else except in The Bear Truth newsroom.

To Mr. Gaffney, I cannot thank you enough for your continued support this year. You greeted us with a warm welcome in the beginning and for that I am forever grateful.

And finally, to our readers, The Bear Truth will be welcoming you back next fall, whether it be virtually or in print with new and returning members continuing to be the voice of the students.

I have thought a lot over the past few months as to where The Bear Truth will go in future years, but when looking at the underclassmen that have already proven themselves as journalists, I am not afraid to leave Room 7-210. 

I know that I will miss my staff, Dr. Vickers, even the newsroom more than I’d like to admit. Thank you for making it so hard to say goodbye. Always know that I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.


Signing off for the final time in Bear Truth style,

Riley Hazel, Editor-in-Chief for the 2019-2020 school year