Senior column: Executive graphic designer glances at high school journey, thanks friends


In a collage of photos made on Canva, senior Maya Contreras shares memoirs of her friends and family. She will be attending Texas State University and majoring in Marketing. “I never knew high school would fly by this fast,” Contreras said. “Newspaper has been a great part of my journey.”

Not long ago, my mom found a box of sticky notes covered in 10-year-old handwriting. Those scribbles were written by my younger self detailing memories in my own version of captions. Reading those notes made me realize newspaper was where I was supposed to be. From writing short stories, plays and games with my sisters to writing for the school newspaper. Writing has been in my mind for as long as I can remember.

Reading has always been my comfort. I’ve been reading since I could understand what the words meant. I can still remember the crisp pages of my first Cris Golfer book, “The Land of Stories,” and talking with my middle school friends about every chapter.

My first few years of high school were rough, so it was no surprise that I always had a book by my side. If I finished my homework – I read, if I had no friends – I read, and if I wanted an escape – I read. Constantly being tagged as ‘quiet,’ ‘kind,’ and ‘reserved’ by my friends and classmates, I easily went on to be that label.

The next two years of high school I kept on with my label, unknowingly proving that I really was quiet. It wasn’t until my junior year, while I was reading my book, when my graphic design teacher, Mrs. Roskens, asked me if I wanted to write a book review. I was timid and reluctant because no one had ever given me an opportunity like this before. She doesn’t know is that that same day I went home and scrambled through my bookshelf and the Eagle Nation Online website for inspiration.

After two days of writing and harsh editing by my parents, I decided to turn in my first opinion article to Mrs. Roskens. I don’t think I had ever had a teacher more excited to read my work than her. From then on I knew newspaper was something I had to continue, and better yet, I can continue to work on design.

At the end of junior year, Mrs. Roskens offered me another opportunity to be the executive graphic designer of Eagle Nation Times. I knew this was something I could not pass. The next year I worked with senior and ENT Editor-in-Chief Cate Emma Warren and we created the school’s first print magazine, learning from our mistakes after each issue.

After joining the newspaper, I had the opportunity to apply for the Scripps Howard Foundation Emerging Journalist. As one of the few journalists selected in Texas, I was able to attend classes at the University of North Texas and complete an internship at Community Impact Newspaper. This helped me see what professional journalism is like.

Working on design also helped me to become the manager of the men’s soccer team, where I was able to create graphics for their Instagram account. This also helped me to learn more about photography. Without this opportunity, I would not have met some of the close friends I have today.

There is nothing that can compare to the love of the staff from the newspaper. I could not have made it here without my friends and family and I hope to find the same sense of family at Texas State University. Joining the newspaper was one of my greatest accomplishments and I wish I could be with them forever.

Leaving Mrs. Roskens will be one of my hardest goodbyes. She has helped me discover my voice and given me a chance nobody else would. She has encouraged me to try new things and I will always remember that. She means so much more to me than she could ever imagine.

I would also like to thank the staff for an amazing time. And Cate Emma for always sticking with me through my crazy ideas and mistakes. Eagle Nation Times has great potential and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Then, I would like to thank my family for always helping me throughout high school and for always listening.

As the school year comes to an end I hope to have left an impact. If there is anything high school has taught me is to never take anything for granted. I hope to continue journalism, design, and photography in the future.

Signing off,

Maya Contreras