It’s time to say goodbye

The power of Journalism, Hi's Eye and Room 111

Abby Jarecki, Iris Editor-In-Chief

As the Hi’s Eye staffers reach the end of their journey on the newspaper, they reflect on what room 111, the WHS journalism room, means to them. Each staff member has had a unique experience, so take some time and click on the photo below to see the slideshow and hear firsthand about the immense impact that the Hi’s Eye has had on the 2019-2020 staffers.

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  • “Room 111 was always one of the few places in WHS that allowed me to feel free. It is a place where my peers and I can be productive, conversational, curious and innovative all at the same time! It is a place where I have reached important milestones in my life, as well as long-lasting memories and connections. And by connections, I of course mean Ms. McDonald, who is by far the best, most accepting and most encouraging teacher in WHS! I will miss this experience and wish everyone the very best with their time spent in college and their future careers!” - Viggo Jabon

  • “I will miss shivering when the AC was cranked up, hiding snacks in the closet, scrubbing the marker off my hands after scribbling a poem on the white board. I will miss seeing my writing in print on Friday mornings and grabbing a stack of newspapers to distribute to the school. Thank you to Room 111 for the haven it gave me daily—the laughs, the podcasts, the satirical poetry, the scalding hot chocolate, the lasting friendships. As I leave Room 111 one last time, I am not the same person as the one who first entered. This place challenged me as a writer, a leader and a friend, and although it drove me crazy at times, I genuinely wouldn’t trade it for the world.” -Jessi Schlewitt

  • “Being a member of Hi’s Eye was easily the best thing that happened to me at WHS. I developed a love of journalism and hope to continue writing in college. Whenever I walked into Room 111, I knew that I was welcomed and had people who genuinely cared about me and others within the class. Moreover, we felt like a family—sure, it was complex, and we didn't always come to the same conclusion, but we all worked together.” - Colin Sumner

  • “Being a member of Hi’s Eye has been such an influential part of my life as a high school student. I went into Room 111 not knowing what to expect, but came out with a love for journalism. Room 111 has shown me teamwork, responsibility and how to get out of my comfort zone. Hi’s Eye has truly shown me that, ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link;’ we all needed to do our part in order to create a meaningful product. Room 111 is like an escape from the stress of life; when I went in, I could write about stories I wanted to write and feel comfortable that I had the support from everyone in that room.” -Jake White

  • “My Hi’s Eye experience was a succession of unique and memorable experiences linked together by a lot of writing and rewriting. From interviewing a local celebrity to figuring out how to pH test the school water to exploring an almost-open megamall, I was constantly learning and experiencing new things. My peer editors helped me grow significantly as a writer, and the subjects that were assigned to me frequently challenged me to think as I hadn’t before. But most memorable were the amazing friends I made in Room 111 while planning new stories, writing satirical poetry, playing Club Penguin and debating Westfield Diner vs. Vicky’s.” -Kathryn Bartlett

  • “I never thought a class that I took to fill a graduation requirement would become such an important part of making me who I am today. The Hi’s Eye team is much more than just a student run newspaper; we truly are a family. Through all of the busy Tuesday layout days to the fun goofing around and drawing on the boards, I will forever cherish every memory I have made with this family. I want to thank everyone in Hi’s Eye—I have made some of my best friends and best memories of my life here. Thank you for making me more confident, a better writer, editor, journalist and above all a better person. When I look back on high school, I don’t remember what number my Italian classroom is, a class I have been using for all four years, or my history class or math, but Room 111 I will always remember, not as a classroom, but as a home.” -Jackie LaMastra

  • “From the day I started at WHS, I knew I wanted to be a part of Hi’s Eye. However, I never knew how much the paper and, more importantly, the people in it would mean to me. Room 111 became my home away from home. I have so many memories with my fellow Hi’s Eye staffers: from Starbucks runs and Harry Potter movie marathons during lunch to ordering pizza during late-night editing and layout sessions at the school. Whenever I needed a good laugh or a place to get things off my chest, I knew I could always turn to my Hi’s Eye friends. Not only has Hi’s Eye given me some of my closest high school friends, but it also gave me a voice. Due to Hi’s Eye, I have learned how to be a better writer and that there is no better way to make a difference in your community than writing about issues that are important to you. It’s hard to say goodbye, but I know I am ready to move on to the next phase of my life because of all I have learned from Room 111.” -Lauren Oligino

  • “My time here at Hi’s Eye was truly unforgettable. Writing for the school’s newspaper was outside of my comfort zone, but going to Room 111 was one of my favorite things to do every single day. I loved talking to old and new friends, being part of a team and seeing a newspaper come out every Friday knowing that everyone in that room helped make it happen. The one thing that Hi’s Eye and journalism have taught me is that, ‘if a dog bites a man, that is not news, but if a man bites a dog, that is news.’” -Hank Shapiro

  • “Being a part of Hi’s Eye has been a dream of mine since middle school. I feel so honored to have worked with such a talented group of writers, editors and advisors. These people have become my family, and Room 111 my safe haven. I will miss the days when I had to scramble for quotes, write a poem about an avocado shortage and stay after school until dark working on my page. Hi’s Eye has taught me so many lessons about comradery, hard work and how to be a good and ethical person. The moments I’ve been lucky enough to share with the 2019 to 2020 staff will be what I remember and cherish most from my time at WHS. I would trade anything in the world to do it all over again.” -Tate Fallon

  • “Walking into Room 111 every day was a constant reminder of many things. First, it reminded me that I will always have a strong support system no matter where we all end up. Second, it taught me the importance of being an ethical journalist and how sometimes stepping out of a comfort zone is necessary. Lastly, it showed me how the combination of both passion and dedication are needed to succeed. Being a part of Hi’s Eye has been such an honor, and the memories created and lessons learned will stay with me for a long time.” -Grace Sacco

  • “Being a part of Hi’s Eye is so unique since it is one of the last print, uncensored high school newspapers left in the nation. Over the past couple years, I have learned countless lessons about teamwork and leadership and have been able to express myself through my writing. Most importantly, Hi’s Eye has created a community of people who will always have my back.” - Greta McLaughlin

  • “I love Hi’s Eye and I can’t wait to continue my passion for journalism in college. Room 111 is the best environment in WHS and there will never be a better place to work and write articles. I will never forget the most amazing people I have written stories with and I wish everyone the best of luck at college. I am truly thankful for all the experiences I’ve had through Hi’s Eye." - Morgan Boll

  • “I have had the best experience writing for Hi’s Eye. Room 111 has given me the opportunity to write for a well-recognized newspaper and I am so grateful for that. The friendships and bonds I have built over the years are ones that will last a lifetime. I have made some of the best memories while in Room 111 that I will never forget. I want to thank the staff and Ms. McDonald for making my senior year writing for Hi’s Eye amazing.” -Grace Friedberg

  • “Sophomore year, I chose journalism as a way to improve my writing. I was never a fan of writing until I stepped foot into Room 111 and saw the positivity and amazing people that were a part of journalism. I soon learned that journalism isn’t just about writing, but it is about meeting new people, learning new things and pushing yourself no matter how difficult something gets. My experience as a Hi’s Eye staff member challenged me to be a more confident writer, and it showed me that there is so much more to writing than the typical five paragraph essay. Three years later, I am very glad to say that I made the decision to continue journalism at WHS as I have had such a memorable experience.” -Emma Karp

  • “I’m so grateful that I was able to write for Hi’s Eye during my time at WHS. I got to experience so many new things, like interviewing notable figures, documenting my experience at the mall that took 17 years to build and even utilizing pH testers and agar plates for various investigations. Because of people I’ve never met, the people that started this paper back in 1935, I got to write for one of the few uncensored high school newspapers in the country. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.” - Emily Greenzang

  • “Room 111 served me with a cafeteria, a closet, a coffee shop, a play house and a work space. My time spent in the journalism room took up almost 50 percent of my time at high school and provided me with memories that will last a lifetime. Writing for Hi’s Eye helped me find my voice, and along the way, I learned valuable lessons both academically and socially. The newspaper taught me many things about professionalism, managing relationships and, most importantly, how to have fun while working.” - Zach Rever

  • “I loved being a member of Hi’s Eye, and it was one of the most memorable parts of my time in high school. I stepped outside of my comfort zone when I decided to take journalism in my sophomore year, and it was one of the best decisions I could have made. I was able to interview so many different people and improve tremendously as a writer over the past three years. I will never forget all of the memories and friendships I made in Room 111.” -Caroline Dwyer

  • “Journalism has allowed me to express my feelings and thoughts in a creative way that so many people around me could read. I am so thankful to have received the audience and support for my articles from the Hi’s Eye community. I’ve grown to love journalism so much that I’m pursuing journalism as my minor in college. I will truly never forget Room 111 and the experiences it gave me.” -Demi Tsavekou

  • “Room 111 was more than a classroom or a place where the newspapers were created. It was a place I wanted to spend my time when I wasn’t required to be there. This room, along with the people in it with me, allowed me to grow in so many ways. I became a stronger, more confident person and that was all because I was surrounded by people who motivated and leaned on each other when it was necessary. The positive atmosphere that surrounded me was an overwhelming feeling of acceptance and joy. The people who made up Room 111 came from so many different friend groups and interests but we all came together to produce Hi’s Eye. And truthfully, what is more memorable and meaningful than that?” -Sierra Byrne

  • “Room 111 provided me with an atmosphere where I was able to come out of my shell and write stories I never would have imagined writing. Room 111 taught me how to be professional, mature and independent as well as work well with my peers. I owe it to Room 111 and Hi’s Eye for the amazing friendships and memories I will forever have and I couldn’t be more thankful for these past three years spent in Room 111!” -Claudia Millwater

  • “In high school, it can be hard sometimes to find your place, to find a group of people who you feel one trillion percent comfortable around, but the newspaper gave me that. It gave me a second home in the school, and a new family who accepted me for me. Staying till six after school laying out a paper or editing stories would have been a hard no from me freshman year, but now there is nowhere I would rather be. It is such an honor to drop off the paper in classes on Fridays and get to say I am part of Hi’s Eye. It amazes me that I get to carry on a legacy that has been going on since 1935. Hi’s Eye is a group of people who seem like they wouldn’t go together, but they have become my family. Most of my friends ask me how I am close with all of these people, but it is because they are my newspaper family—a random group of kids who have changed my life forever.” - Colm Slevin

  • “To me, Room 111 was a place where I discovered so much about myself and so many of my interests. The journalism room gave me the chance to engage in opportunity and express my ideas to an incredible group of people. Room 111 is not only where myself, but our journalism family, was able to undeniably be ourselves no matter our high school stereotype or backgrounds. We became not just classmates and friends but a true family who was supportive, motivating and loving toward one another, which is something I will always cherish the most. Room 111 was our safe place, and I am so grateful for the time I spent there with all the amazing people who came with it.” -Audrey Pucciarelli

  • “I loved being a part of Hiʼs Eye. Not only was writing articles and having people read them a challenging and awesome experience, but I became friends with incredible people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I also want to thank Ms. McDonald for running Hiʼs Eye with such an energetic and caring style that encouraged all of us to make the best product possible every week. I’ll miss the Iris layout days, debating sports in my free time and hanging out in Room 111 during my free periods. Good luck to everyone next year!” -Alex Weinberg

  • “Above everything else, being a part of Hi’s Eye has given me a voice. It has empowered me to speak up about issues I care about and to pursue the truth, no matter what anyone else tells you. It has allowed me to become more confident in myself as a writer and as a leader, and I am extremely proud of every single issue that I presided over this year. Finally, I have met some of my best friends in the world through Hi’s Eye, and when I’m with them in Room 111, it’s one of the few times where I feel like I can truly be myself. I will forever be in debt to what being on Hi’s Eye did for me as a person and as a writer, and I know I will cherish the memories I made here for the rest of my life.” -Annie Cerria

  • “Writing for Hi’s Eye has been one of my favorite high school experiences. I was able to work with a lot of great people achieving a common goal. I enjoyed writing a variety of pieces, and editing and designing the R2 Sports page. These experiences have helped me grow both as a person and a writer.” -Adam Perez

  • “Hi’s Eye has taught me what it is like to have a family. We’ve all grown up together but this was really the first time we all got to be together every day. It’s really cool to see how we all have bonded over random things in the last year. Room 111 has allowed me to create friendships that I never thought I would.” -Abbie Knaul

  • “It’s not often that one gains a home away from home, but I am one of the lucky people that has one: Room 111. I will miss this newsroom that has so much significance to me, and I wish to be back in there as soon as possible: the room where it happens. But what made Room 111 special in the end was not the room itself, but the people in it. My amazing Hi’s Eye staff, you brought the environment of teamwork, creativity and fun to that room. I am so thankful that I got to work with and get to know you all. I am also thankful for Ms. McDonald and Ms. O’Connor for being the best mentors, as they helped in the climb to my true potential. I am coming out of this experience as a stronger leader, worker and friend, but my work is not done yet. My passion for writing remains stronger than ever, and even though my time as a Hi’s Eye writer and EIC is over, I plan on taking the skills I learned into college next year, and into the rest of my life. I am forever thankful for this amazing experience.” -Abby Jarecki

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