Graduating editors reflect on experience writing for The Oracle, discuss “bittersweet feeling”

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Photo credit: Cadence Callahan

Nyah Fernandez (’22), Vaughan Anoa’i (’22), Thea Leimone (’22), Chloe Fidler (’22) and Gracie Doyle (’22) embrace each other during their celebration in one of their final classes. The former editors reflected on their time writing for The Oracle and the life lessons they learned along the way.

By Cadence Callahan, Senior Reporter

Countless hours spent leaving feedback, editing and reviewing numerous pieces. This is work that is required of all editors for The Oracle, a publication that has earned praise and distinction. This year’s graduating senior editors reflected on their time spent writing for the award-winning site.

Vaughan Anoa’i (’22) reported for The Oracle for three years. Throughout her time writing, she held the position of staff reporter, news editor and in her senior year, she served as the editor-in-chief.

“I read and [edited] any piece regardless of what section it [was] in. In comparison to the role I took on when I was a junior, I would only edit news pieces, but when I became EIC my senior year, I edited every single piece,” Anoa’i said. 

Another important aspect of Anoa’i’s position consisted of connecting and working with Archer’s administration to facilitate a clear line of communication on upcoming events, news and information. 

“I [was] the liaison between The Oracle, the student body and the administration,” Anoa’i said. “I [was] in constant communication with them and continuously expressing my gratitude for going to a school that has press freedom so that we are able to report and write on virtually any subject we are interested or passionate about.”

Similar to Anoa’i, Grace Doyle (’22) reported for The Oracle for three years and was the sports editor for two years. As sports editor, Doyle kept in contact with the Athletics Department and reported on and kept scores for both middle and upper school sports teams. Doyle said a big part of her role consisted of being a cheerleader for Archer’s athletes. 

The value of being vulnerable has been something that I’ve learned from being a journalist and actively seeking the truth, and making sure that you’re telling things equitably and fairly has also been something that I’ve learned.”

— Chloe Fidler ('22)

“Before being sports editor, before anything, I’m a fangirl of these girls. They’re my classmates, but I see them doing such amazing things and putting in so much hard work,” Doyle said. “So to get the privilege to write about them, and highlight[ing] them has been the most rewarding part.”

Chloe Fidler (’22) has been on The Oracle staff for three years holding the title of voices editor for two years. As voices editor, Fidler worked with reporters to craft opinion pieces, commentaries and whimsical pieces. Fiddler said that before acquiring the position, she didn’t understand what it meant to have a voice. 

“I think my experience as an editor can be mushed into this self-growth journey of mine, and it’s been such a privilege to be in a position where I am trusted to edit people’s work,” Fidler said. “Every single time I get a piece, I feel like my own writing and my own personal voice is further refined and refined and refined because I am exposed to so many different types of stories and things like that.” 

Former features editor Thea Leimone (’22) joined The Oracle in her freshman year and before holding this position, Leimone was culture editor. As features editor, Leimone worked with reporters to craft articles that focused on personal profiles or explored important topics, such as food allergies or vaccinations. Leimone said a facet of the role she appreciated was the opportunities for collaboration. 

“I tend to be a very independent person, so I think learning how to walk an intro student through all the steps and dealing with the mistakes and misunderstandings taught me to be a lot more patient and understand everyone works at a different pace, and everyone works differently,” Leimone said. “Something so unique about writing for The Oracle is that it’s all four grades, and you don’t get that anywhere else.”

Fidler said once she discovered her voice, the most challenging part of being an editor was separating herself from other people’s opinions and not projecting personal bias. 

“The hardest part of being an editor was making sure that I could allow every single person participating in the voices section to have their own voice journey – to grow it in the way they wanted to,” Fidler said. “I can’t kick start their journey for them; it was pulling back the reins and letting everything happen organically.”

Doyle said that thanks to The Oracle, she has acquired social skills that have increased her confidence and will take her far in life.

It’s been wonderful – it’s definitely improved my writing skills and social skills and boosted my confidence. I’ve grown into someone I’m really proud to be and that’s credited to The Oracle.”

— Gracie Doyle ('22)

“I’ve learned to be a lot more confident in myself, and that’s really only come through years of hard work. Whatever skills it is – whether it’s time management, being able to have a conversation with someone, being able to go up to a total stranger and ask them questions – it’s all really built up my confidence for better or for worse,” Doyle said. “It’s all built up my confidence in ways that, now going into college, whether I pursue journalism or not, I have this really versatile skill set that I know is going to carry me through my years.”

Nyah Fernandez (’22) held the position of multimedia editor for two years. Fernandez worked with staff members to create articles with interactive media components. Fernandez said a valuable lesson she learned throughout her time writing for the publication is realizing the importance of asking for help.

“I learned that asking for help is not always a bad thing. I learned that when you’re alone, you’re not always alone, and that’s one life lesson I [carried] through The Oracle and even outside, and now I’m going to do it within college and my life,” Fernandez said. “You don’t have to feel ashamed to ask for help when you need it.”

Similarly to Fernandez, Fidler encourages the new editorial board to lean on each other for support and guidance. 

“We have this weird notion that the second you become an editor you’re going to be perfect at everything, and that just isn’t true. My advice would be to still reach out when you need help and to not be afraid to lean on others, especially the rest of the editorial board when you come to hardship or when you’re struggling in any way,” Fidler said. 

Anoa’i reflected on two pieces she’s written that she is most proud of: a feature piece she wrote her sophomore year, which focused on heightism, and an opinion piece she wrote examining microaggressions

“I wrote an op-ed my junior year discussing the harmful effects of microaggressions in relation to the college admissions process for people of color. It was really powerful for me because as a junior, specifically at that time in my career, the college process was beginning and there were a lot of microaggressions that even in middle school, I had heard or the experiences of some of my peers and friends,” Anoa’i said. “I know that if I weren’t to have written that piece,I would be doing not only myself a disservice, but so many other students of color who had endured and had to experience some ignorant comments in the past.”

Anoa’i reminisced on her time spent writing for the publication, the bond she formed with her peers and the nurturing atmosphere of the staff.

“The Oracle is what I’m going to miss the most next year – the culture and family environment we’ve been able to nurture over these past three years. I truly do feel like The Oracle is a second home,” Anoa’i said. “At Archer, given the amount of extracurriculars, affinity spaces and clubs, there are many students who can suggest places where they feel comfortable and safe within, but for me, I really do consider that The Oracle because I consider it the place where I grew up.”