Senior Column: Chief Technical Officer reflects on end of an era


Alex Drum

The banner above was created by senior staff member and Chief Technical Officer Alex Drum. The banner was designed to highlight his brand throughout his career. “I’m excited to pass the torch to next year’s staff,” Drum said, “so from myself, and all of the seniors of the 2022-2023 Eagle Nation Online Staff, thank you for reading Eagle Nation Online this year.”

Senior year is quickly coming to an end. It has been four years since I started my high school and nearly 12 since I started my education. I’m sure this story may be blasted by the editors for poor grammar and bad word choices, but that could stand as my entire goal here.

Journalism isn’t just important news stories, and the latest and greatest in the world. It’s about a voice for every person. It’s about making sure that every person can have their voice heard. It doesn’t need to be a journalist turning one person’s words into a writer’s style. It’s about taking that person’s words – and showing their individual style.

However, the creation of news and articles for Eagle Nation Online is not what I do, and I guess I should do an introduction first. Hello everyone, I am Alex Drum, a senior at Prosper High School, and the Chief Technical Officer for Eagle Nation Online. My job is to make the website fast – and pretty. I spend my time developing the tools that run both the side you, the readers, see, and the side that the staff of Eagle Nation Online use to create the articles you read. The things that you all see published are just the surface of ENO, so I decided to take you all behind the curtain, for my final act as CTO for ENO.

There is a lot that goes into making the content you all see on ENO, and I mean A LOT. Each story has a ton of people making it the best story it can be. A few guidelines that ENO follows for publication are as follows:

  • Each story must have a featured image that follows the theme of the story.
  • Each story must have three edits for each article that publishes, and at least one must be an editorial board member.

Now that seems simple. Those guidelines aren’t anything strict, but the amount of steps to accomplish them is long. Let’s start with the image. ENO staff have cameras, lenses, batteries, bags and so much more to keep up with and use to take the best images possible. To organize these, I spent the last year and a half developing a tool that is built into our website that allows the staff of ENO to manage all of the assets that go through the team. They can easily check out and check in different assets so we can make sure everyone has the tools they need to succeed and give you all the best content we can produce.

Next up is edits. We want as many edits on each story as possible. The way we handle systems like that is we require three edits for each of the stories published on ENO. We also require one of the three editors to be one of the editorial board members. Our adviser, Lisa Roskens, also reads and/or advises the writers or editors before each piece publishes. The goal of all of our edits remains to ensure that the quality of every story meets the high standards we’ve set.

So what is my job? What do I do? What do I spend every day in ENO doing? I work on the tools, the website and the features you all see every day. The countdown at the top of the page, the speed of the website loading, the size changes for each platform, and the edits to the Source App that allows people to have ENO in their pocket, are some of the things that I do every single day.

Now, I have a few people I want to call out, so I figured it’s about time to do that before I close. First of all, Mrs. (Lisa) Roskens, my adviser. I am probably your least favorite student considering how many ideas of yours I have to shoot down. It’s been a wild three years, and I thank you for all the things you have done for me, and all the things you have taught me. I have learned so much from you, and you have given me so much, so thank you.

Next up, Mr. Kincaid. I’m finally leaving, huh? Finally stepping out and not bothering you anymore. Thank you for everything, all the years, all the learning, all the fun. I hope you’ll invite me back some day so I can laugh at you messing up code even more.

Now my family. Thanks guys, it’s been a wild ride, and I’m excited to get into the final chapter of my education career. Thank you all for the support, and I’m eternally grateful for all the assistance you all have given me in going through this adventure.

Now, my  final shout out, my lovely girlfriend, and fellow ENO staff member, Lauren. You’ve given me the ability to get through this year, and all the rest to come, I’m so excited to see you finish off high school in your senior year, and I’m excited to share my life with you, I hope you excel with next year’s staff, and I can’t wait to see all the articles you publish next year. Thank you for everything.

Now, I am so excited to bring you all the staff of next year’s Eagle Nation Online. They have so many amazing things to offer and to bring to you and so many differing opinions and angles to cover the next year of content in Eagle Nation Online. I hope that you all continue to read and follow Eagle Nation Online and all of the amazing things that next year’s staff will cover. I’m excited to pass the torch to next year’s staff, so from myself, and all of the seniors of the 2022-2023 Eagle Nation Online Staff, thank you for reading Eagle Nation Online this year. We hope you all enjoyed all of the content that went up this year, and we hope you are excited to embark on the next adventure Eagle Nation Online will go on. To the staff of the 2023-2024, I am already so proud of all of you and everything you will accomplish. Take ENO and run with all of the amazing contributions we have left you. Congratulations to next year’s editorial board, and good luck to every single one of you.

And now, to sign off for the final time, thank you all for following Eagle Nation Online, and as CTO of Eagle Nation Online, thank you, and have an amazing summer.