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Goodbye to The Forge’s Senior Editors

As the 2023-2024 school year comes to a close, students across the school must face the fact that they’re saying goodbye to another round of seniors. At The Forge, we’re forced to look ahead to next year knowing that we won’t have the help of our three senior editors from here on out. After years of writing articles and editing content for the newspaper, these students have battled senioritis to make one last contribution to their time here at Santa Barbara High: an homage to their fellow seniors in the very paper you’re holding now. 

Viviana Ruiz joined The Forge in her freshman year when the class was still being held over Zoom. She signed up for the class because, “I didn’t want to do anything else…I didn’t even know what journalism was. I honestly had no interest in anything until I joined The Forge.” Though she became the features editor this school year, Ruiz admits that as a freshman she never thought she would become an editor. While there have been challenges with learning how to do layout and working under a deadline, Ruiz has found the paper to be a great way to meet new people and hear their stories. “It’s really fun most days. We’re all close,” she said. Being on the paper since freshman year, Ruiz has seen growth in her writing and in her ability to communicate with people. Planning to attend Santa Barbara City College and later transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or San Diego State University (SDSU), these skills will come in handy as Ruiz is a journalism major hoping to become a journalist or broadcaster. Ruiz has always enjoyed writing for the sports section, and her favorite articles that she’s written have been for the basketball team and the football team. While she’s excited for graduation, Ruiz is going to miss the paper. She said, “I’ve been in it for four years so it was like a routine every year, it’s going to be weird not doing it…I’m glad I made a lot of friends on The Forge.” Her advice to future or prospective Forgers is that even if you don’t think you’re a good writer, spending time on the paper will make you better.

One of The Forge’s co-editor in chiefs, Charley Raymond, also joined Journalism in her freshman year and has stuck with it ever since. After ending up in Computer Science on the first day of school, Raymond asked her counselor for a switch and ended up in Journalism as it was the only class that had any openings. Raymond became layout editor her sophomore year due to her experience working in the MAD Academy. She says of the position, “When I knew that it was an option to be an editor I just really wanted to do that, because when I do something, I like when there’s the ability to continue to improve…that was really nice, that there was an opportunity to grow.” As the co-editor in chief, Raymond has learned how to be a better writer and how to deal with high-stress situations. Aside from what she’s learned, her favorite part is, “…that you become more involved with the school…When you graduate you feel like you know that we’re a part of something.” Some of the moments that have stuck with Raymond include her time working the camera at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), especially when The Forge interviewed Angela Bassett. “That was probably one of the most special moments in my entire life. I feel like I changed when I did that, I grew as a person immediately when I met her [from] what she had to say during that interview.” Following graduation, Raymond will be attending SDSU as a double major in sociology and communications, and plans to continue writing for the school newspaper there, The Daily Aztec. Due to her position as layout editor, Raymond hasn’t had as many opportunities to write as she did when she first started on The Forge. However, her favorite article that she’s written was her last one about “Senior Assassin” because it reintroduced to her how much she loved the writing process. The best part of the paper for Raymond has been, “The staff. I love everyone on the forge…I feel like it’s just one big family…There’s never a quiet moment.” For the future writers of the newspaper, Raymond advises that they be open to sharing their ideas and growing within The Forge. As her departing words Raymond says, “I learned my passion for people and working with people in this class…I’m going to miss everyone…this has been the most important thing I’ve done all four years. I say this as someone who’s been in a lot of clubs and academies but for some reason this random class I joined has just been the most pivotal thing in my life for the last four years.”

The Forge’s second co-editor in chief, Kelly Meeder, joined the paper her sophomore year because she needed to fill her third period. After writing for The Condor Press at Santa Barbara Junior High, Meeder found The Forge to be the perfect place to continue her writing career. Meeder became an editor her junior year after starting the Student Section with former editor in chief Anya McCue, which was inspired by the UC Santa Cruz’s comedy newspaper, The Fish Wrap. “We saw a lot of student-centric things that were entertaining to us even though we weren’t students of Santa Cruz…we were like ‘oh my gosh, we want to be that for Santa Barbara High,’” Meeder shared. Some of Meeder’s favorite memories from her time on The Forge include reporting for SBIFF and being surrounded by high quality journalists. She also enjoys the feeling of being a “fly on the wall” at events happening around Santa Barbara, which has made her recent coverage of the SBUSD and SBTA conflict some of her favorite work that she’s done. For Meeder, the best part of The Forge is the sense of unity and purpose she gets from it as “it’s a thing that the twenty of us get done every month. We’re carrying on our school’s legacy…It’s kind of like a recording of regular student life through the decades, which I think is so important.” Meeder will be attending UCLA in the fall and majoring in biology, and she will also continue writing for The Daily Bruin. Though she’s not studying journalism, Meeder thinks the skills she’s learned on the paper will be vital to her future career because, “as a science major…It’s going to be really important in my science career to have people be able to understand me and be an effective communicator, and that’s what journalism is.” Meeder is going to miss The Forge along with all of the friends she has made on the paper, and is thankful for the doors that have been opened for her as a student journalist. Meeder concluded, “It’s been the highlight of my high school career. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed with the paper, but…I just couldn’t get through high school without it. It gives me a sense of purpose on campus and it’s just something I’m excited to do every day…Trying to tell somebody else’s story is why I really like journalism…I just like hearing what everyone has to say…I’m inspired by people who are passionate about the stories they have to tell.”

As we get closer and closer to June 13, the class of 2024 can look back at the year as a record of their many achievements and a symbol of their four years here. For Viviana, Charley, and Kelly, this year serves as a reminder of the time they have dedicated to make The Forge into the great paper it is today. 

[The Forge’s three senior editors, from left to right: Viviana Ruiz, Charley Raymond, and Kelly Meeder. Image Credit Mary Moses]


  • Mary Moses

    Mary Moses is a junior at Santa Barbara High School and has been a member of The Forge for three years. She also plays for the tennis team and enjoys reading, going to the beach, and spending time with friends in her free time.

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