This Isn’t The End

I didn’t expect that on my first day of high school I would ever find solace in all the chaos of competitiveness, of great expectations, and of surviving the college admissions game. Nor did I expect to sit in the wrong class for an hour, dazed and confused, before realizing that I had read the wrinkled schedule printout in my hand wrong. I remember thinking to myself in that moment, “How will I ever survive the next four years?”

Yet here I am, still dazed and confused — but not lost. These hallways, the same ones that kept me from arriving to the correct class as a freshman, slowly but surely (and without me noticing) became my home away from home.

I jumped into journalism not knowing that I would discover my niche in the world. Writing became my safe haven, my go-to when life got difficult. I threw myself into my hopes and dreams, believing wholeheartedly in my potential, in the possibility that someday I would become someone that my freshman self would have been proud of.

When I became the Harbinger’s Managing Editor, I didn’t realize how far I had come until, in the blink of an eye, it was time to pass on the torch. I started off as shy, reserved, and unsure. I’m still all of these things, and perhaps rougher on the edges, but with more certainty of who I am, what I stand for, and what I want out of life.

Nonetheless, it has been an amazing experience witnessing this year’s young staff writers, with the same excitement and uncertainty I first had, take a hold of the challenges the pink room had to offer. In no time, they made the newspaper their own, becoming seasoned writers, photographers, and reporters. I know that while I’m adjusting to life after Cambridge, the Harbinger will continue to educate, inform, and empower young minds.  

With that being said, the most valuable thing I’ve learned from my time here is that life is too short to dwell on the future or the past. I learned how to live in the present, to enjoy and appreciate all of life’s firsts: My first drive, my first music festival, my first near-death experience with friends (I swear it was funny).

Despite the stress of all the newspaper deadlines, the pressure of continuing its legacy, and my desire to leave an imprint of my own, I managed to enjoy the moments that made the stress of senior year worthwhile — Getting lost in my fits of laughter with close friends, basking in the sun during lunch, having philosophical conversations under the courtyard palm trees.

I will miss these moments, but I refuse to be sad.

In the span of four years, I’ve had moments of triumph, of bliss, and excitement as well as moments that made me question every decision I’ve ever made. Though I didn’t expect it, these hallways became the backdrop of my coming of age story, complete with a beginning and middle, but not an end.  

Sunfest 2017: Where Music Meets the Waterfront – OUTLOUD Multimedia

 

In the quaint downtown of West Palm Beach, where the streets are embellished by a variety of shops and restaurants, a vibrant music and arts festival comes to life every year in the first week of May. The five-day affair brings people together from all over the state to share their passion for food, art, and most importantly, music. And this year, the festival was bigger than ever.

Source: Sunfest 2017: Where Music Meets the Waterfront – OUTLOUD Multimedia

Miami LGBTQ Pride Parade and a Baptism by Glitter

Meandering my way through a crowd splashed in the colors of the rainbow, I found myself fully immersed into a parade that not only celebrated the pride of being fabulously different, but also the bond of a community bound by their love of loving freely.

Miami’s yearly Gay Pride Parade, a weekend-long celebration, once again proved that the Magic city is the home for unapologetic misfits. Throughout my re-exploration of Collin’s Avenue, where the streets were closed off to make way for extraveggant floats and dancers, I came in contact with people of all ages, ethniticites, and religions. That weekend, only one thing mattered: unity.

The crowd sparkled in the sunlight with their vibrant costumes and glitter. A man, sporting the latest makeup trends while holding a sign that read “Free Glitter” approached me as I was merely participating in the parade as a speculator through the lens of my camera.  Before I knew it, my face, clothes and hair, was drenched by a silver waterfall.

And just like that, having arrived as a stranger, I emerged from the crowd illuminated by glitter and as a member of the family.

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The Artists You Must See at Sunfest 2017 – OUTLOUD Multimedia

The folllowing link leads to an article I wrote about the next music festival I’ll be covering. If you haven’t already, check out my coverage on Okeechobee Music Festival and Ultra Music Festival….It’s been quite a year!

Source: The Artists You Must See at Sunfest 2017 – OUTLOUD Multimedia

Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival Media Coverage

From March 3 to 5, I was granted the opportunity of attending Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival as a reporter for the Miami Herald. I wrote two pieces on the event, each with their own set of photographs. The first is very news-oriented while the second is a personal account…. Next up? Miami Ultra Music Festival! 

Source: Young fans travel from all directions to enjoy Okeechobee Music & Art Festival | Miami Herald

Source: Okeechobee Fest 2017: I’ll Be Back – OUTLOUD Multimedia

Why I Write

There is nothing that keeps me awake at night more than words. Because of them, I toss and turn ceaselessly, hoping not to disturb my mom as she snores softly beside me. I try to stop the words from flashing through my mind as they build phrases then sentences then paragraphs until, finally, I give in. The words don’t stop unless they become something I can’t wait to put on paper.

“I’ll write this in my next article,” I think to myself. “Maybe, just maybe, I can make a difference.”

And that’s what I can do with words. Every day I walk into my journalism class, though I am exhausted by the strings of words that kept me awake the night before, I choose to use them for good. Some people find freedom speeding down the highway at midnight, but I find freedom in my writing. What I cannot say, I know I can write. I use that freedom not only to express my innermost thoughts but to try and move the people in my community to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.

Whether I’m writing about teenage homelessness in South Florida or the endless bloodshed in Syria, I find great satisfaction in keeping the students of my school and the local community educated about issues going on in the world. Creating conversation excites me. It moves me to write even more, seeking to find local stories in the globality of my writing and, vice versa, scavenging ways to make my local stories more global.

I spend most nights sitting in front of my computer screen, fussing over comma splices and fragmented sentences because I want my message to come across eloquently; I work hard so that my readers can indulge sentence after sentence without interruption as I immerse them across seas and into the battlefields where the greatest violations of human rights occur. Then I shift them back into reality, showing them that there is something that can be done, something that they, themselves, can do.

And so, as my mom sleeps quietly beside me, I rise from our bed and pick up my laptop. I sit in the bathtub so that the click-clack of the keys do not wake her and I turn down the harsh glare of the brightness to a soft glow. I allow my thoughts to take hold of my fingers and I type away into the night where the world unfolds before me, beckoning to be put in words.