Farewell from Tiger’s graduating seniors

Click on a name to jump to to each graduate’s farewell.

Jokes, journalism, and JV scoreboard

Story by Preston Sharkey

Illustration by David Sohn
Associate Design Editor

Tiger is like the SPHS track team of school newspapers. Year in and year out, more Scholastic gold medals are added to the wall, the seniors go off to top-tier colleges, and the staff always manages to put out a quality issue each month. So stepping into the role of EIC this year made me anxious. Would I be able to continue the long tradition of success? Would I make the right decisions to avoid major hiccups? 

In my first year on staff, I dove into what I enjoyed most — writing sports articles. I paired up with my friend and fellow first-year staff writer, Noah Parker, to cover the football team in the fall. Football season helped me find my footing in Tiger. While our team effort did produce some of the best game coverage South Pas football has seen (in my humble opinion), the content of our articles is not what I’ll remember most. It’s the joking around on the sidelines with Noah, catching the extra point kicks behind the goalposts, eating late-night post game meals at fast-food restaurants across the SGV, and asking Matt over the phone to post our article in the midst of his lively Friday night that made Friday night lights some of my favorite (and most tiring) high school memories. 

I admired the work of Brandon Yung as a quintessential journalist – chasing down cop cars and writing important opinions on community issues –  but I knew my interests were different. I spent the vast majority of my time in class trying to think of new spreads, rankings, or unique articles to inject some fun into the sports section. When I wasn’t writing for sports, I was either contributing to an occasional feature spread or pushing the boundaries on how humorous a normal print article could be (shoutout to Axel for making my SPMS recruiting rankings idea a reality). Hearing Noah or some other editor tell me, “Preston, that’s more of an April Fool’s idea” became a weekly occurrence. 

Being on Tiger comes with its perks. Your English teachers may think more highly of you, you get to see your name in a published newspaper, and quite frankly it looks good on college applications. But with all the boosting that Tiger may do to your writing ego, being on staff has been an extremely humbling experience. I have always been amazed (and slightly intimidated) by the sheer intelligence and abilities of my peers that surround me in Room 615. Even as a senior and Editor In Chief, I’m astonished on a daily basis by the talents of other people on staff. Whether it’s Adam and Noah (Kuhn) diving deep into local news, Claire and Cloe writing poetically about an album I’ve never heard about, or Maddie and Tallula designing a stunning graphic, every person on staff has their own unique strengths and skills that come together to make an incredibly thorough and compelling product. 

Over the past few months, I’m proud of how our staff has responded to COVID-19. Content-wise, we haven’t missed a beat. Our news writers have been able to put up timely, important coverage, while our other three sections have continued to publish content online as usual. When it’s all said and done, however, I won’t have strong memories of any particular articles (except Filmgate). What I will cherish the most is the off-topic conversations at deadlines, the slightly awkward team bonding games, joking around with Noah, Axel, and Raymond at the sports table, and everything that I’ve learned from my time on Tiger that has made me both a better journalist and a better person. I loved my time on staff because of the people I’ve met and the experiences we’ve shared together. Although I’ve continued to check in with editors and lead zoom calls over quarantine, in a way, it’s almost like I said farewell to Tiger months ago. 

At the end of my time in charge, I’ve come to realize that Tiger will never boom or bust because of one individual. Every year, older students pass down procedures set by previous staffs and a strong passion for Tiger to the newcomers. This has created a culture of consistency and made the transitions between years seamless, thus making my job easier. Looking ahead to next year and beyond, I’m confident that the paper will continue to succeed for years to come.

Before I sign off for one last time, I would like to finish my farewell by thanking Mr. Hogan. One thing that makes Tiger unique at SPHS is that it is truly a student-run organization. Mr. Hogan is always there supporting us with his knowledge about student journalism, providing snacks at deadline, or putting us in contact with someone for an article. He gives students complete authority in making decisions in everything from personnel to day-to-day operations. This responsibility that he entrusts us with is something that has helped me and my peers grow as leaders and gives us more ownership over what we do, so for that, I am extremely thankful.
Thank you Tiger, and thank you South Pasadena. P Shark out.

Vegan meatballs

Story by Caroline Kimbel
Print Managing Editor

Illustration by Nick Forman
Staff Illustrator

Every time Cat Flores comes to my house we’ll eat the vegan meat from my freezer with barbecue sauce and talk about politics. I’m not sure when we really started doing this, but I know for sure this tradition wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Tiger. 

I joined this publication as a junior and I didn’t believe I was good enough to be a part of it. I also didn’t have any close friends on staff at the time, which made becoming a staff writer all the more intimidating. While I still am constantly humbled by everyone’s pure talent and contributions to this newspaper, I’m also so grateful that being part of Tiger has allowed me to befriend some of the most intelligent and skillful people I’ve ever met, many of which I probably wouldn’t be friends with otherwise. 

As a junior staff writer, I practically drank everything I heard Rachel, Oona and Maya talk about like I was taking notes in a history class. I kind of like to think of Tiger as a class. It certainly takes the same amount (or often more) work, and lets everyone become an expert on whatever content they’re covering. But, Tiger isn’t actually a class. To me, it’s a lot more than that. I probably learned more about social issues and the world around me through this school newspaper than I have in any class I’ve taken. 

Publishing a newspaper in the midst of the chaos of high school is a huge challenge, and the stress of Tiger definitely pushed my limits at times, but it also made me into a better person and critical thinker. When I was forced to cover sports last year, which I absolutely dreaded, I began to realize that the appeal of being on a sports team is very similar to the appeal of being on Tiger. Although everyone likes to play the game in the same way everyone likes to contribute to the newspaper, the best part of it all is the people you meet along the way. 

I know I’m going to miss Tiger next year, but that’s mostly because I’m going to miss the people on staff. I’ll miss seeing Preston wear a suit every other 5th period during his basketball season; I’ll miss listening to Claire analyze a social issue like it’s nobody’s business; I’ll miss Dominic’s talks about having integrity in journalism; I’ll miss bonding with Hyun in the glassroom (when he was there); and I’ll miss eating vegan meatballs in my kitchen with Cat, but I don’t think that tradition will end anytime soon. 
There’s a lot more people I’m going to miss from the staff once I’m off to college, but if I tried to name everyone I probably wouldn’t have any word count left. I can’t wait to see this newspaper continue to thrive once I’m gone. And with that, farewell to Tiger.

Putting things in perspective

Story by Dominic Marziali
Online Managing Editor

Illustration by Talulla Chow
Design Editor

I put off writing this for weeks. 

When I sat down for my Tiger interview, I was unbelievably unprepared for the questions that were about to come at me. And they were basic questions. To compound that problem, I was sitting in a lonely classroom chair, perturbed by how exposed and vulnerable I felt. A panel of editors, yawning in size with too many names to keep straight in my head, sprawled in front of me. 

My first worry was whether or not my interviewers would like my answers, or even be interested in listening to what I was saying. Then, I worried they might base their choice on their assumptions of me, the freshman who had just walked in wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt.

My fears were unfounded, as I’ve spent three years discovering. Roughly a year ago, while cleaning out the inside of my desk, I stumbled on a notebook filled with Brandon Yung’s (an icon) impressions of interviewees from my first year on Tiger. I thumbed through it, curiosity unbridled, finding a page about myself.

What I read was evidence of a community committed to objectivity. It reinforced what I’d barely glimpsed my first year on staff: a community guided by values and beliefs. As I found out, the people that surrounded me on Tiger, and many of whom I looked up to, never let whims cloud their judgments. The people that interviewed me three years ago were people guided by their morals, committed to dignity, as are the people that fill room 615 now, virtually or otherwise. 

The people I worked with this year continued that legacy. Preston was the figure of neutrality, but never complacency. Countless details would have slipped through the cracks in our transition to online without him. Caroline, a stalwart of morality, asked all the right questions. She was often the first person to question the personal effects of a story, while keeping us in check and striving to uphold our ideals.

Alex, Adam, Luyang, Cat, Nicolas, Matt, Christine, Claire, Talulla, Maddie, and Oscar all demonstrated remarkable resolve when the coronavirus scattered us. This year’s commendably adaptable staff is ready to take the reins. Cat, Christine, and Matt are more than an equal match for whatever hurdles the future throws at them. 

Now, on the eve of graduation, I’ve finally come to terms with why I avoided this for so long. For one, I had no idea what to write, but more importantly this farewell is me letting go of and saying goodbye to something that has been part of my identity for three years. Tiger is an integral piece of my foundation, and while I know I’ll thrive with what I learned, the feeling of being without what’s been a second family lands somewhere between disorienting and terrifying.

Like everyone else, I’d hoped to avoid being sappy, but, as farewells are doomed to, I’m languishing in sentimentality. This distillation of my time on Tiger doesn’t nearly do justice to everything this paper and its people taught me. Thanks, Tiger.

A greeting and goodbye from the quiet side

Story by Nicolas Liu
Opinion Co-Editor

Illustration by Talulla Chow
Design Editor

My decision to join Tiger was akin to the kinds of choices you make in the heat of the moment, the kind where you think saying or doing something is a good idea at the time and then the next day (or in this case, a few years later) you look back and think to yourself, “wait, what?” People who know me don’t see me as some hardcore intellectual or journalist, and even people who meet me for the first time probably get the impression that writing is at the end of my (albeit short) list of interests. In fact, this farewell might be the first indication to my friends and classmates that I was ever on Tiger

Since this is probably the case for you, dear reader, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nicolas Liu. I am a graduating senior of SPHS, a two-year staff member of Tiger Newspaper, and by far one of its worst editors of all time.

Tiger essentially took all of my worst fears from high school and compiled them into a neatly-wrapped conglomerate of anxiety. To this day, my hands start to shake whenever I hear the words “brainstorm” or “interview” (both items I should probably be proficient at by now), and my junior-year staff writer description of myself even included the phrase “not one for conversation”. I’ve never been a good public speaker or leader, and, surprise surprise, placing myself in a situation that required these qualities did NOT help me get better at either of them.

Still, while my shortcomings may have hurt Tiger in the Opinion section, I was blessed with an immensely talented group of individuals that I am honored to call associates. My fellow Opinion editor Cat has always been great about picking up my slack, and I couldn’t have gotten very far in my own senior-year journalistic endeavors without her direction. Then there’s the rest of the editing team, each person far more productive and intelligent than myself, and the battalion of strong-willed and independent staff writers who made my job way too easy. If I had to identify a personal takeaway from my interactions with these groups, it would be that being an Opinion editor doesn’t necessarily mean being great at having opinions, it just means that you get to brag when you get to help the people with opinions worth sharing.

Since that takeaway sucked, here’s a better one. So what is the point of writing this last goodbye to a readership that has probably never known of my existence or any of my work, including this one? Why spend so much time in service of a final product that, at best, might make only half the school mad? Because it’s fun. Because people like me feel fulfilled by calling things out for what they are or what we want them to be. Because even in spite of all of the doubt and deserved criticism I’ve endured thus far, I can say I tried and did so passionately. Frankly, that’s all I need for now.

I’m not sure how to end this other than by providing an honest assessment of my feelings. I am regretful of my inability to act as a proper leader when it mattered, but I am more regretful in my possessing of the knowledge that, when Tiger inevitably grows in leaps and bounds beyond what I have witnessed it become, I will no longer be a part of it. I am frustrated that I could not prevent Tiger from entering a polarizing environment I was vastly unprepared for, and yet I find myself more frustrated that there were words left unsaid about the same issues that we as a society may have to confront for good one day. Finally, I am embarrassed to say that my final exit from the Tiger staff is not completely unwelcome, but I am infinitely more embarrassed to confess that it’s because I’m not sure who or what I would be without it.

Honesty is the best policy

Story by Aanji Sin
Senior Staff Writer

Illustration by Maddie Yoo
Design Editor

I like honesty. I will give my opinion whether someone asks for it or not, I love having the unpopular opinion way more than I should, and I am a fantastic essay proof-reader because I will mark it up in Google Docs like it’s no one’s business. There’s something I find strangely profound in making people feel uncomfortable, because it means that you’re making them think. After all, what truth worth telling makes everyone happy? 

Upon entering SPHS, I was drawn to Tiger for this very reason. Fifth period in room 615 was where one could find the highest density of raw talent and zeal on campus, people who lived their truths and were unapologetic about it. I wanted to be a part of that more than anything. So when they sat me down with a reporter’s notebook and told me to write as honestly as possible, I was happy to oblige.

And therein lies the reason for my love for Tiger. Honesty is expected. Honesty is required. I threw myself into scathing reviews for Feature and fell in love with the very concept of Opinion. This year, I got “Opposite over Hypotenuse” and manifested it into a window into my slightly aggressive, overly sarcastic brain, and I adored it. I upheld my belief that any decent journalist with the guts to report on anything real, truthful, and meaningful is going to have more than a few enemies, and I thrived off that. Tiger became the greatest platform for all of my candor. It forced me to become more eloquent, and it forced me to know exactly what I was talking about (at least for a span of about 3000 characters).

Despite the haters and all the ups and downs that come with that, my two years spent in room 615 have given me so much. Tiger has helped connect me to a community that I have spent my whole life living in, but otherwise would have remained clueless about. Tiger has given me a voice and a platform on which to project, and subsequently helped me gain confidence in myself as both a writer and a thinker. Tiger has even given me a newfound appreciation for the game of basketball (though my game coverage quite sucked and I find immense joy in never having to write another Sports article again). 

More importantly, Tiger has given me the opportunity to really learn from other people. Room 615 is a safe, collaborative space that allows students to share their ideas, and thus creates a harvesting ground for new passions. I have every person on staff to thank for keeping me educated and constantly questioning, and for sharing their own truths that gave me the courage to share mine.

So thank you Tiger, for all the love and the incredible college resume boost. This farewell was supposed to do you justice, the perfect combination of poignancy, eloquence, and most importantly, honesty. I know that I have succeeded in the latter.

The man behind the screen

Story by Alexander Parra
Webmaster and Videographer

Illustration by Alicia Zhang
Staff Illustrator

Most of my life has been spent behind a screen, both camera and computer screen. The real world is cool and all, but computers provide me with the creative outlet I constantly long for. I’ve gotten to physically travel across the country to competitively program computers, and I’ve gotten to metaphorically travel the world, meeting new people who have taught me a lot along the way. 

I have loved everything being the Tiger Webmaster has had to offer these past two years, from fending off Russian hackers to crashing the Tiger website multiple times on accident (both true stories). I’ve gotten up close and intimate with the website’s code, and made enough substantial edits to feel proud of my time with it. 

This year, I also got to love being the Tiger Videographer. My camera captured the life of the student body, and boy was it lively: the roaring of the crowd echoed through the gym as the girls volleyball team won Southern Section finals, and the sweet smell of teachers wet from the dunk tank permeated my Homecoming video. I spent many sleepless nights rewatching clips, selecting the best of the month or event, and editing them into a bite-sized video for everyone to enjoy.

I won’t remember my time with Tiger as one of long and hard hours, but as a time of creating works that will weather the decades and beyond. Many students will come back to my videos to see themselves or their friends enjoying the camaraderie of youth and revelling in the time-perfected traditions of South Pasadena. I will come back and see not the editing that went into the website and my videos, but the memories I captured in HTML and 4K.

The most important thing I learned from Tiger was not how to properly edit a video or maintain a website, but that we, as humans, live forever through our art — or code. Although my name is neatly tucked away in the description of my videos, I will forever know that I was the man behind the screen.

Hyun Kim

Story by Hyun Kim
Business Manager

Illustration by David Sohn
Associate Design Editor

Thank you for the awesome memories and lessons we have shared together during my time on staff. I will cherish every moment and I know all of us will go on to do great things. Farewell Tiger!

Don’t ask me to write. I just get the money

Story by Joseph Lee
Ads Manager

Illustration by David Sohn
Associate Design Editor

In my junior year, Aanji Sin told me that Tiger Newspaper would be great and I would have the time of my life as part of the stellar staff. My first quarter in the class I received a well deserved D because of my terrible misunderstanding of my role as the Ads Manager.

Although I had a rough start, I carried on as a leader in reaching out for funds every month for the newspaper. I talked with so many businesses, Kyles, and Karens. Eventually, I’d like to say I got the hang of it and got ads on time every month. 

Tiger was rough. At times, I regretted some of the things I did, but other times the class gave me quite a laugh — especially my table. Thank you to David for being sarcastic in response to everything I said; thank you to Jaden for being real with me; thank you to Oscar for just being there; thank you to the person who I completely disagree with politically; thank you to the person who let me have their cookies; thank you to Ella for selling me Samoas. 

Although my time in Tiger lasted just one year, I had fun. Maybe not the sweetest of my senior year, but definitely one of the best classes throughout my entire school career.

So, thank you, Tiger and staff. I don’t think any of you knew my name, but I got the money for the class. Remember me next year when you see a loud dork in the corner of class making calls — that’s my successor.

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