Peace Out, Maize South

After two years with the Bullseye, Editor-In-Chief Piper Pinnetti says goodbye before her graduation this Monday.

After+graduation+this+Monday%2C+Piper+Pinnetti+plans+to+attend+Wichita+State+University+to+major+in+journalism.+%22I+cannot+wait+to+be+a+Shocker%2C%22+Pinnetti+said.+%22I+love+the+vibrant+yellow+and+everyone+on+the+campus+is+super+friendly.+I+am+excited+to+take+my+writing+experience+a+step+further+and+make+it+my+life.%22++

After graduation this Monday, Piper Pinnetti plans to attend Wichita State University to major in journalism. “I cannot wait to be a Shocker,” Pinnetti said. “I love the vibrant yellow and everyone on the campus is super friendly. I am excited to take my writing experience a step further and make it my life.”

As I write this, there is literally one day left of school for the 2020-2021 senior class.

Where did the time go? Throughout the high school experience, the graduation day seems light years away, now it is right around the corner. 

My high school career has been centered around writing. From an introduction class in Kansas City, MO., at Staley High School, to Maize High’s Play Magazine, and finally, ending my time with Maize South’s Bullseye Online staff.

Two stories high, the hallways filled with pine tree green, and deemed above average in the state of Missouri, Staley was the beginning of my journalism bubble. Unfortunately, the Journalism I course taught me nothing but how to transfer photos from a camera to a computer, which a majority of the class did not know. 

About halfway through the course, I showed two girls how to navigate through the photo folders where we stored our galleries. The day after I helped them they stole my photos and then accused me of stealing. It took two and a half weeks of defending myself despite me being the only photographer to check out a camera and to get coverage of the rehearsal of the school’s play.

Luckily, I had a witness who was with me when I took the photos. This witness even went as far as giving a twenty minute explanation of what occurred that day: the Secure Data (SD) card, a type of removable memory card, to the camera was having some sort of issue, and he took out the card from his phone and put it in the camera. I took photos of the rehearsal and he taught me how to adjust the camera settings to get good photos despite the odd auditorium lighting. 

Because of this, the teacher did not believe me when I told her I was the photographer that night and not the girls despite me having the camera and explaining what had happened. 

It was not until one of the girls confessed, however, did she believe any of this. My teacher ignored my explanations and evidence and temporarily ruined journalism for me until I moved to Wichita for my step dad’s new job opportunity in the military.

My sophomore year, I decided to sign up for another journalism class: Newsmagazine. At this time, the Bullseye was on an 18 month hiatus due to lack of student interest and recruiting for the course. My first semester on staff,  I found myself traveling from Maize South to Maize High to join their staff in the spring of 2019. I was the only Maverick in the class full of Eagles and never really created any content that was memorable, award-winning or meaningful towards the Maize South community.

Every day, the class made a reference to the comedy show “Cheers” when the character Norm Peterson walked into the room and everyone cheered “Norm!” After arriving late from the bus, I walked in to be greeted by “Piper!” 

It was a nice reminder that I was still a part of the staff despite being from another school, and constantly out of the school’s news loop. Specifically, I remember writing a review on who had the best fries. To this day, I still believe Chick-Fil-A has the tastiest fries, but Freddy’s has definitely climbed up the best fries ladder since then. 

The final magazine during the semester was the senior edition that was reserved for the senior class of each year to reflect on memories and their favorite high school experiences. I was excused from this project because I had no knowledge of the culture in Maize High and their respective senior experiences.

My time on the Play staff was great, and I learned a lot from the advisor, Dan Loving, and the co-editors Abby McCoy and Casey Loving. In fact, I learned more on my first day when we were planning stories for the first newsmag of the new year than I ever did in the introduction class my freshman year. 

In the long run, it was not meant for me to finish my high school career there. I found out when I was informed that I wouldn’t be joining the Play staff’s trip to Washington D.C. due to Mr. Hickerson and Maize South’s efforts to rebuild our newsmagazine staff internally at Maize South. 

I said my goodbyes on my last day and still follow a majority of them on Instagram to this day, two years later. The following school year, I met Spencer O’Daniel, who started as adviser of the Bullseye in August of 2019.

2019-2020 senior Brianna Jones-Rupp was on the Bullseye staff her freshman year just before the magazine was temporarily gone and was named the Editor-In-Chief. She was kind and brought the staff together. We went out for what is now a traditional MOXI Junction trip during the mornings where we enjoy cold drinks, bakery items, and take pictures together.  

I started the year as Social Media Manager and the Advertising Manager. Basically, I posted Maize South news, content, and more on our social media while raising money to afford our printing our newsmagazine, staff t-shirts and plenty of food/pizza parties.

We all became closer friends as the school year went on, and I even went to work with our Design Editor, Ryan Dolph, at Pizza Hut. I discovered my love for food reviews during the first semester when I reviewed Bella Luna Cafe, and realized how amazing working with a closed staff is. 

To know everyone’s names, to see them in the hallway, and work together and collaborate is what made me begin to love journalism. 

Photo Illustration by Lakin Zamorano

 

Dolph and I worked together to create the first newsmagazine in almost two years( no pressure, right?) and I remember it as if it was yesterday. The whole spread was dark green with Christmas lights across the top of my double page spread. I had asked students what their holiday plans were for travel at the time.

I was so proud that when I visited my family in Boston, I brought a few copies of the magazine to show them. I still have every magazine I ever worked on. 

Following my last normal (pre-COVID) Christmas, Jones-Rupp left and pursued culinary classes to end her senior year, which ended in me being the new Editor-In-Chief. I was so excited, I felt like Rory Gilmore. I told my whole family immediately. My grandparents still brag about it to their friends. 

We worked on one final magazine right before spring break, and for the first time I was introduced to the Kansas Scholastic Press Association (KSPA) contests. I had no clue that journalism students had competitions and could win awards for their work. 

We spent the day at Wichita State University (WSU) where we competed in contests all day, and each contest, I was the final student to walk out of the room. Always be the last one in the room, check your work for any errors, and write nice because they pay attention to neat handwriting. Dolph and I, a month before I worked at Pizza Hut, had a personal pan and shared breadsticks for lunch. 

I finished Regionals with first place in feature writing, second place in cutline writing, and honorable mention in advertising design.

However, our season was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic right at the Spring Break mark. We cancelled the creation of our final magazine of the year and competed at state online.

No one placed at state, but this was the first time any of us competed for any sort of writing, design or photo competitions. The fact that we won so many regional contests was amazing enough. Although it was sad no one placed at state, that just made us excited and hungry for the next contest season. 

The year ended quickly and newsmagazine became harder when no one checked their emails, responded to messages, or would flake on interviews at the last minute. 

With the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, I tried stepping out of my comfort zone. I put up a popover recipe, took photos of a football game for the first time, and took my multimedia to a new level. Due to COVID-19, we were no longer putting out any print newsmagazines and fully invested into taking our Bullseye Online to the next level.

Sydney Endicott, Ty Rains and I were the only members from last year’s staff and new people joined with various talents. By the second semester, we had Lakin Zamorano from the OneMa1ze show who is a skilled videographer. Shiah McLain joined the staff as well bringing her photography skills from the yearbook staff. Cevin Montgomery is great with news writing, and Bridget Johnson is an amazing writer and award-winning photographer. However, Rains temporarily left staff to do virtual learning until the 2021-2022 school year. 

The competition season came sooner than I thought and before I knew it, it was time to compete at regionals where a majority of the staff placed in a category. I took three wins and continued to state. 

On the first Saturday of May, the state winners were announced during a Saturday afternoon virtual ceremony. It was during my opening manager shift at Pizza Hut. At 11 A.M. I celebrated and continued for the next four hours as our staff members continued to place throughout the day. 

For the first time in Maize South history, Maize South journalists and videographers placed in the state contest. I watched as our staff rebuilt the website from scratch to celebrate as we placed at state. Our six devoted team members team accomplished and created like a staff of 25-30 kids. We earned awards for our website, monthly contests, state and national awards.  

About a month ago, the staff and I were interviewed by Jillian from Good Morning Kansas on KSN. We were not only featured on live television, but were also able to see some journalism action in real life. 

Weeks ago, I interviewed a set of twins, Braden and Hunter Niemann, and wrote a feature story on them. Not even 24 hours after it was published on the website, I won a Best of SNO national award for superior storytelling and coverage within our school.

The Bullseye has been with me for the past two years. It makes me sad to finish up my final piece ever for the website. Friday we will all join together at Olive Garden to have a staff dinner before I graduate and to celebrate our EPIC wins this school year (see what I did there, KSPA?)

Finally, I am leaving with the Bullseye in my heart. Thank you, O’Daniel, for showing me how to be a strong editor and for teaching me how to bring my writing to an award-winning level. 

Peace out Maize South,

Piper