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The Smoke Signal

Becoming an example for underclassmen

Madison Gallo, currently a PV junior and Editor in Chief of The Smoke Signal, reflects on her years at PV and the impact that the Class of 2016 has had on her life.

Alysa Mehl

Madison Gallo, currently a PV junior and Editor in Chief of The Smoke Signal, reflects on her years at PV and the impact that the Class of 2016 has had on her life.

Madison Gallo, Editor in Chief

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People always say that high school flies by, and I never believed that — until now.

An eager, nervous freshman walked into her third-period elective, Intro to Journalism, taught by Mr. Bill Rawson. The Editor in Chief of the school paper, Vanessa Rutigliano, was introduced to the class within the first five minutes of the period. Little did that freshman know that this one class and those two people would bring her into a club she grew to love and provide her with the chance to meet some of the most interesting, nicest people at Pascack Valley.

If it wasn’t already obvious, that freshman was me.

I won’t sugarcoat it—freshman year was a tough one for me. Between rocky friendships, new problems, harder classes, and having to adjust to being the smallest fish in a big pond, it was not the easiest of situations.

Lucky enough for me, I had Vanessa, a senior at PV during my freshman year, by my side. I looked to her for guidance in everything and not just Smoke Signal related things. You could even say I held her to  a high standard of God.

These few weeks as a junior have already shown me that I am now other people’s “Vanessa.”

That’s a pretty challenging concept to understand since I don’t feel like a junior. I feel as though I have not undergone any significant changes since freshman year. The biggest changes I can think of would be my lack of braces and my position in The Smoke Signal — everything else is basically the same.

I still look to Vanessa for guidance when I’m stressed or if I need advice. I have even called her frantically in need of editing help.

To be honest, I still consider the entire Class of 2016, Vanessa’s graduating class, to be upperclassmen. They all seemed so much bigger and more mature than PV’s current senior and junior classes. I feel out of place lumped into this category.

This can probably all be reasoned down to my perception and experiences I have had since being in high school. But that perception is making it nearly impossible for me to realize that this is real.

I am a junior. I am an upperclassman.

I am an example for the younger students in PV and I only have two years left of high school before I graduate.

 

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One Response to “Becoming an example for underclassmen”

  1. Vanessa Rutigliano on October 12th, 2017 5:28 pm

    Wow. Madi, I’m so proud of you and the entire Smoke Signal staff for the way this program has grown. You’re an incredible leader and it comes as no surprise to me that underclassmen look up to you and come to you for guidance.

    I am so grateful for the experiences and memories I’ve shared with you — I’ll never forget those 2016 Editorial Board meetings where we sat in the back room of the library, eating pizza and complaining about life and learning what it means to be journalists. You’ve worked so hard to get to where you are now and I know that there’s so much more to come. Can’t wait!!

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Becoming an example for underclassmen