Letters from the Co-Editors-in-Chief

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Elizabeth Hudak and Tess McArdle have served as editors-in-chief for the 2020-21 school year. Photo by Erick Sun ’24.

Elizabeth Hudak

Stuck. Stuck at home, stuck at school. Stuck. Stuck between gratitude and grief, normalcy and insanity, between high school and college. This suffocating immobility has been the defining sentiment of my 6th form year, of our 6th form year. It has been easy to feel helpless. It’s easy to feel helpless amid the squall of political turmoil, shootings, hate crimes and plagues. But, admittedly, it’s also easy to feel helpless against the everyday flurry of exams, 6th form traditions or lack thereof, against college decisions, difficult DEI discussions and the ticking clock that is our time left in high school. 

I often consider what there is to do about any of it. My mind spins, weighing validity and anguish like some sort of equation. And I have no notion of a solution. What could we possibly do against the weight of the world? What has provided me solace, though, is writing. Over the past year, I’ve written furiously-scribbled subpar essays on activism, collaborated with friends on a story about @BlackatHill, and pored over essays and speeches in an attempt to digest my own identity in front of the school and to faceless college representatives. This year has been a turning point in a decade-long journey that is the evolution of my writing, a catalyst in a phonetic reaction, miraculously transforming the process from a chore into a relief. Words became an act of resistance, an outlet when, in all other ways, I felt stuck. But if writing became an outlet, The Hill News became a solace. The unsolvable equation becomes clear when I’m writing, but it becomes even clearer when I’m editing. Designing layout, anxiously sending out an absurd amount of emails, meeting countlessly with Tess and Ms. DeOrnellas, bantering in afternoon activity all provided a beautiful distraction from the hellscape unfolding below the proverbial Hill. However, beyond the late nights and to-do lists lay something more profound. When personal connection was quite literally limited, I found humanity flourishing between the pages of the paper. The Hill News became a home for passion, anger, frustration, and joy for others who may have felt the same helplessness as me. This precious role is one I have tried my very best to cultivate. 

Over the past year, we’ve written about sexual harassment on campus, mental health, the mass execution of Asian women, and a volatile election and inauguration. We’ve discussed democracy, debated APs, reflected on and analyzed polarizing world events in real-time from across the globe. This has been the crux of the meaningfulness I found in the Writing Center. The Hill News and the people that comprise it have been, in many ways, an inspiration to me, a light at the end of a tunnel. As I ready myself to sign off in a short few lines from now and conclude an essay four years in the making, I truly hope it has served as the same for you. Because when we use our voices and amplify others’, we don’t have to be stagnant. We will no longer be stuck.

Tess McArdle ‘21 

For all Hill students, their first moments on campus are some of their most memorable. I first arrived at Hill on Sept. 3, 2017: 1,361 days ago (if you’re reading this on the day of its release). And what I remember more than dragging all of my new blazers and skirts up to the third floor of my Dell Village dorm, or getting lost on my way to the Dining Hall, is how I felt so young. I looked around at older students and even my own classmates and felt as though I was so much more naive than everyone around me. 

I admired the 6th form and thought about how my feelings of smallness would slowly disappear as the days ticked by, and I became older. I thought that the confidence and maturity that the older students displayed was simply because they were older. 

When I arrived for preseason three days before my 15th birthday, I was sure that my 4th form year would be marked with feelings of maturity and experience. I was quickly met with the same overwhelming emotion of being younger and less mature than those around me. Despite the year that passed, my 15th birthday was not the life-changing event I hoped it to be. 

The first time I remember losing this overwhelming feeling of being young was when I became a prefect in my 5th form year. As I stood talking to a group of new third formers, telling them about when I was in their same shoes, I suddenly realized that to them I was one of the old and mature students that I saw when I first stepped onto campus. 

It was then when I realized that although I was two years older than the version of myself that first came to Hill, what really made me appear older and more mature was all the experiences throughout those two years. The new friends I made, the tests I failed, the articles I wrote, the races I ran, and all of the other highs and lows that shaped me into the person I am today. 

While I have spent many days on Hill’s campus, the days that have gone by since my first September are just that, days. They are not what has changed me and shaped me into who I am today. What grows us and what challenges us as people is not the number of days or the period of time over our four years of high school, but the experiences within those four years. The simple act of going through the days at Hill is not what causes us to grow up. 

The clock will tick by faster than you notice and before you know it, you will find yourself experiencing all the things that help you to build your confidence. Soon you’ll find yourself trying new things, like playing a new sport or running for honor council. Maybe you’ll even start writing for The Hill News and apply to be Editor-in-Chief. So forget about the clock and the days, and remember that your time at Hill is about much more than the years you spend on campus; it’s about the moments and experiences within those years.