Letter from the Editor: A Final Farewell


Photo credit: Linlin Zhang

An eight-year-old me poses behind the podium of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. My first taste of journalism came on that trip, where my parents and I visited a family friend, who was a former White House correspondent.

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means” – Joan Didion, “Why I Write” in The New York Times Magazine, Dec. 5, 1976

I never thought the day would come where I publish my final article on the Oracle. But somehow, that moment is upon us.

It’s surreal to be a senior, surreal to rehearse graduation songs and surreal to hang the pennant of my dream school on National Decision Day. As this year, and my time at Archer, comes to a close, I can’t help but feel nostalgic looking back on the indelible memories I’ve made within these walls.

Archer has given me the means to craft the unique voice I have today, but more importantly, the Oracle has given me the confidence and platform to share it.

I vividly remember going into former Upper School Director Samantha Coyne Donnel’s office at the end of my freshman year to discuss my class schedule for the upcoming school year. I took the “ambitious” part of Archer’s motto a little too seriously and wanted to take nine classes — a logistically impossible feat. But in my struggle to put together that overcrowded, over-committed schedule, I’m forever grateful that journalism found its way in.

And so a few months later on an August 2015 morning, I walked into room 266 ready to learn all there was to know about journalism. And it exceeded every expectation.

Photo by Mere Horan
Myself and Khuyen Dinh pose at Allen High School’s Eagle Stadium after covering a Texas High School State Football Championship Playoff game for the National Scholastic Press Association. Dinh is one of many friends I have made through the Oracle.

I can confidently say that joining the Oracle has been one of my most formative Archer experiences. This newspaper has changed me in so many ways, and now I can’t describe myself without “journalist” because reporting shapes my worldview.

Journalism has taught me to look deeper at people, places and circumstances. It has given me a nuanced perspective on my own Archer community and has encouraged me to learn more about my talented peers like Alexa Kretchmer ’18 and Locke Luhnow ’18. The Oracle has introduced me to inspirational athletes, such as Jerry West and Kim Smith, and it’s given me the tools to live out my wildest Texas football dreams. I’ve been there for the highs of historic championships, and the lows of tragic fires

But most importantly, the Oracle has given me the courage to fight for what’s right — whether that’s the importance of protecting federal land, the injustices that face the Native American community or the horrors of the often forgotten Japanese InternmentJournalism has been my formal outlet to share beliefs.

I always joke that editing or writing articles is my “fun homework,” but it really is true. The newsroom is a place of safety and comfort for me. It’s where I’ve made some of my closest friends, and it’s the place where I’ve taken the biggest risks. It’s where I can be my most genuine self.

Photo by Cybele Zhang
My journalistic debut in the Los Angeles Times, albeit in the Comics section. I submitted the joke in 2011, but it was published to my surprise in 2015.

Despite the long nights scrambling to publish and the daunting task of transcribing an hour long interview, what keeps making me put pen to paper (or in this case, my fingers to the keyboard) is the sheer enjoyment of writing. Each time I write, I expose a new layer of my own identity and my outlook on life shifts ever so slightly. 

It’s been a pleasure to share the class with all fifteen of you editors and staff writers this year. I can’t believe it has gone by this quickly, but each one you truly have enriched my Oracle experience. Your dedication and enthusiasm makes me excited to come into class each day, and I can’t wait to see what you do next year.

So for you lower-classmen reading, here’s my advice: find your voice. We all have a unique perspective, and it really is worth sharing. Some might find it performing in the Festival of Dance, and others might find it through speech and debate  — but really consider giving writing a shot. When I look back at my time at Archer I may not remember every calculus quiz I took or the date of each battle I memorized, but I will certainly remember the articles I wrote and the people I met along the way.

Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur (all things change, and we change with them).

Thank you for an unforgettable three years,

Cybele Zhang

Editor-in-Chief 2017-2018