Reporting & Writing
From writing stories and captions that truly capture the year to stepping out of my comfort zone by interviewing our students, reporting and writing is one of my strong suits. Originally wanting to become a writer for a publication like The New York Times or Vogue, writing has always been my first love. Although I have thoroughly edited almost ever story we have printed over my past three years on the editorial staff, read through some of my personal favorite stories and captions I have written in addition to some of my published works with Idea File Magazine and Walsworth Publishing's blog.
Click on the layout below to swipe through some of my yearbook stories and captions.
Idea File Magazine
This magazine is Walsworth Publishing's biannual magazine featuring the latest yearbook trends, and a copy of this magazine is sent to every school Walsworth represents and is featured on Walsworth's social media accounts and website. Idea File's editor asked me if I would write an article regarding how to create a new yearbook after falling in love with your previous one, so how could I refuse the offer? This piece was published in the Fall 2021 Issue.
Although I edit nearly all of the stories and captions in our yearbook, below are some of my favorite stories and captions that I have written over my career. From sports to current events, my writing is truthful no matter the topic.
2021-2022 Spring Current Events, No Matter What
Too Close to Home
Senior Vladyslav Dribnokhod and sophomore Liubov Gavriliuk share their respective Ukrainian and Russian perspectives on the Russian military invasion of Ukraine
When senior Vladyslav Dribnokhod checked his phone before pulling onto ELCO Drive on the morning of Thursday, February 24, he scrolled through horrifying messages from his friends in Ukraine: his country of 13-and-a-half years had been invaded by Russian troops in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military invasion on baseless claims of Ukrainians committing genocide on other Ukranians.
“I’ll never forget the moment that I got, like, 65 messages from my friends saying to pick up my phone. I was shocked and angry [that Russia invaded Ukraine]; I’m not gonna lie. At that point, I just wanted to spread awareness of what was happening because of my family members and relatives that lived in the Donbas region. That’s the region [Russia] annexed in 2014, so I know what it means to live under the shelling and bombs, and I just wanted everyone around me to know what was going on,” Dribnokhod said. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea believing that it was rightfully their territory. Although Russia tried to invade Dribnokhod’s hometown and second-largest Ukrainian city, Kharkiv, they were unsuccessful, taking the cities of Donbas and Lugansk instead. This caused many of Dribnokhod’s cousins to flee as they lived in those cities. Because of the 2014 invasion, Dribnokhod; his parents; and his brother, junior Bogdan Dribnokhod, emigrated to America, settling in Newmanstown as his grandparents had already lived there for over 20 years. Fast forward eight years to Russia invading Kharkiv.
“The city of Kharkiv has 216 school districts...the school districts are smaller because it’s condensed, so it’s about 1,000 people per school district. So at this point, 120 schools have been destroyed completely, so that means about 120,000 [students] have nowhere to go now. So, I’m not even talking about 53 kindergartens and 21 university campuses that have been destroyed--it’s [an entire] city, and the amount of pain and suffering is just insane, and the scale is really big,” Dribnokhod said.
According to the Washington Post, NATO estimated that there were 18,600 Ukrainian casualties as of April 8, while Russia had lost anywhere from 7,000 to 15,000 troops. WWII-esque, Ukrainians sheltered in subway stations to survive Russian bombs, while other Ukrainians stood on the frontlines along with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“One of my Sunday school teachers was hiding in the basement and just a regular bomb hit their backyard, so all of the windows in the house shattered, and...my church building where we used to go also had shattered windows...nothing major though. Although, the house where my grandparents used to lived was destroyed completely, so it burned to the ground,” Dribnokhod said. As 4.5 million refugees left Ukraine as of March 18, thousands of healthcare workers and civilians stayed to help their neighbors in need and fight to keep their democratic freedoms.
“...you see how everyone is united, how old people are helping young people, and young people are helping old people. Everyone, no matter who they are, is helping each other. It’s beautiful to see people from Western Ukraine accepting refugees from Eastern Ukraine,” Dribnokhod said.
Although the majority of Russians supported the invasion of Ukraine, some, like sophomore Liubov Gavriliuk, supported the Ukrainians. Living in Siberia until she was 13, Gavriliuk and her family waited three years until receiving papers for their move to the United States, although the Russian government did not play a role in their move. Even though Gavriliuk expressed her love for Russia, she was shocked about the invasion.
“I was not expecting it because Russia and Ukraine are really close. They look the same, and some Ukrainians can speak Russian. I can actually speak a little bit of Ukrainian. I was shocked when it heard it, and I was like really? A lot of people asked me about it like Do you think its going to be--No, [Russia and Ukraine] are like brothers, and I have a lot of friends that are from Ukraine. My dad is actually from Ukraine, my mom is half German-half Russian, and I’m mixed, so there is nothing bad about Ukraine, and I was shocked [when I found out],” Gavriliuk said.
Throughout the unknowns of the conflict, the one constant for both Gavriliuk and Dribnokhod was their Christian faith.
“I’m not [supporting the invasion] because I’m Christian, and the thing is that we are all brothers and sisters. We cannot kill anyone because we [are Christians and] could not support this, so I don’t support anything like that...People want to live without war, have a good time with their families, and be together, and not be in war and be separated from their families. A lot of parents lost their kids, and it’s not good in Russia and Ukraine. This conflict hurts everyone in this world, so it should stop,” Gavriliuk said.
“Personally, I’m a Christian, so I’ll always look at this [conflict] from a biblical perspective. If God is in charge, he is sovereign, so he knows what’s going on. For me personally, I see this as an opportunity to serve people, and a lot of my friends in Ukraine [see it the same way]. They are volunteering and delivering food, medication, and water because a lot of people don’t have running water. Some don’t have food, so I know a lot of people from my church right now are very busy trying to deliver all the supplies. It’s an opportunity to serve, but at the same time its just so painful seeing the amount of pain and depression...[In Bucha], they have been liberated a couple days ago from Russia, and now we’ve discovered dead people, dead civilians shot in their heads. I think it’s very unethical for politicians to play big political games while people are dying, so I think we should focus on the importance of humans lives, and how important it is that humans are dying. People are dying; it’s not the time to play political games,” Dribnokhod said. Story by L. Bickel
2019-2020 Boys' Basketball, What Now?
The Boys Are Back
First win sets the tone for an 18-4 record in regular season
Tensions mounted as the Raiders were tied 53-53 with the Lebanon Cedars in their first game of the season.
“The game had really loud energy. It was our first game of the season, and we were already down one of our starters, [senior Bryce Coletti], so we had to come out and really get down to business because we didn’t want to lose to Lebanon,” senior Benjamin Horst said.
With seconds flying off of the clock, junior Braden Bohannon shot a game-winning three pointer, leading the team to a 56-53 victory over the Cedars.
“Right when I made the shot, I felt pretty good, and when I made it, the whole team was running at me, and it felt amazing,” Bohannon said.
Even though the team pulled out several wins, like against Manheim Central, 73-71, and against Octorara, 49-42, the team suffered a 55-69 loss against Lancaster Catholic in a game that would determine if they would be first or second in the section.
“We knew it was one of our most important games of the whole year because of the rivalry, but when we lost, we knew we left it all on the floor,” senior Bryce Coletti said.
Although the team lost to Lancaster Catholic, they won against their competitors in other games, like during the Gold Rush game against Northern Lebanon where they won 81-33 in front of a packed gymnasium. Ending their regular season 18-4, the team headed to playoffs.
“Lebanon was first game of the season, and it set the tone for the rest of the year, like we can beat anybody,” senior Evan Huey said. Story by L. Bickel
(In What Now?, all of our lead-ins were the time the each photo was taken, representing what was going on in that exact moment to represent the "now" of our theme).
1/3, 7:43 PM Intent on keeping the ball, senior Bryce Coletti jumps holding onto the ball while Octorara defenders attempt to steal it away. "It was a tough game. We knew they're a good team, so we had to come out ready to play," Coletti said.
1/3, 7:52 PM Dribbling towards the net, senior Benjamin Horst prepares to pass the ball to a teammate. Four of the five starters, including Horst, were seniors. “We’ve dreamed of this moment since fourth grade, and ever since then, we’ve just worked towards it,” Horst said.
1/10, 6:29 PM In the midst of the Gold Rush game, 1000 Point Club member junior Braden Bohannon shoots to extend their lead against the Northern Lebanon Vikings.
1/3, 7:47 PM Squaring off against an Octorara defender, senior Angel Martinez dribbles the ball down the court.
1/17, 7:43 PM Headed towards the net, senior Asher Kemble dribbles past a Lancaster Catholic defender.
1/10, 6:23 PM Playing in a packed gymnasium filled with both Raider and Viking fans during the Gold Rush game, senior Evan Huey dribbles away from a Northern Lebanon defender.
1/31, 7:48 PM Smiling on Senior Night, senior Jordan Fernandez attempts to shoot in a game against the Garden Spot Spartans.
2021-2022 Winter Raider Rowdies, No Matter What
Boys’ and Girls’ basketball teams compete with Raider Rowdies cheering from behind the net
Seconds flying off of the clock, the Raider Rowdies glanced at the scoreboard to find only “1.4 seconds” glowing back at them in the boys’ basketball game against Lancaster Catholic.
“I was so nervous, and it was so nerve-wracking. If [sophomore Dallas George] didn’t make the foul shots, we’d lose,” junior Kamryn Hine said.
After hearing the swoosh of George’s foul shots going into the net, the student section, in a sea of blue in honor of Coach Blue’s coaching legacy, erupted into a cacophony of cheers.
“Oh my God, it was crazy. I can’t even describe the adrenaline rush that happened. When Dallas went up for the layup, they called a foul on the ground, so the points didn’t count, but he still got foul shots. When he ended up getting the foul shots, I felt that same adrenaline rush,” junior Camryn Lehr said.
Earlier, the Raider Rowdies travelled to their cross-county rival, Northern Lebanon, to support the boys while dressed in their Christmas attire.
“It was a really good atmosphere, and [sophomore] Kody Boyer’s mom gave us all beanies. We were really loud, and we talked to some of the players afterward, and they loved the energy we brought,” junior Zane Ruth said. Story by L. Bickel
Screaming and yelling, the Raider Rowdies distract Lancaster Catholic.
Rushing the court, sophomore Ira Gensamer and the rest of the student section congratulate the boys’ basketball team on their 86-61 win over Octorara. “The energy was hype. Someone just rushed the court, and then we all went. It wasn’t a popular thing with Mr. [Douglas] Bohannon, so we had to back off. Now, they announce that no one can rush the court before each game,” Gensamer said.
Hard hats handy, sophomore Benjamin Stohler, junior Landon Gettle, and seniors Nathan Henson and Max Bricker cheer on the girls’ basketball team as they play Donegal on “Construction Night.”
Looking Octorara's benchwarmers dead in the eyes, junior Ricardo Lebron Muniz questions their players while senior Erin Miller cheers alongside him.
Spirit fingers waving in the air, junior Zane Ruth participates on “Jersey Night.”
2019-2020 Social Media & TikTok, What Now?
Tiket to Fame
Students become famous overnight with new app
On July 4, 1776, the founding fathers created the Declaration of Independence. Fast forward almost 250 years to July 4, 2019 when sophomore Andrew Fields created his Tik Tok account.
“I watched a business guy on Instagram, and he said it was a good opportunity for kids to do [Tik Tok], so I started posting everyday, and I got to about 13,000 followers right now,” Fields said.
Launched internationally in 2017, the app Tik Tok opitimized teen culture, as a survey of 100 students concluded that the average time a student spent on the app per day was 38 minutes. However, the app only gained its fullest popularity in 2019, showing that the student who sat next to you in Spanish could become the next social media sensation.
Since creating his Tik Tok account, Fields gained thousands of views on his posts, with one of himself stapling a Pop Tart to a tree reaching 1.6 million views and over 35,200 likes.
“I saw a thing on Reddit about stapling bread to a tree, so I was like I might as well change this up a little bit, and I took my staple gun out, and I put that Pop Tart right on the tree,” Fields said.
In addition to Fields, several other students gained popularity on the app, including freshman Zane Ruth, who “fished for compliments” in one of his Tik Toks, and sophomore Dean Bozman, who posted a video reaching over 3.1 million views and surpassing 611,400 likes. Opening his Tik Tok account in June, Bozman’s followers exceeded 17,300.
However, in junior Sabryna Rodriguez’s case, Tik Tok became a platform for herself to gain popularity on the app.
“I thought [Tik Tok] was really cool because I didn’t think something that stupid could go to three million views,” Rodriguez said.
Since the founding fathers posted their independence for the world to see, Tik Tok provided students with an opportunity to post about their daily lives, furthering the question: “What’s next in our future?” Story by L. Bickel
2019-2020 Fall Current Events, What Now?
What’s Up with Politics
Fall-Winter Edition: Iran Crisis
News update: Ever since the overthrow of Iran’s leader Shah by an Islamic revolutionary government in early 1979, to the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran by Iranian students on November 4, 1979, to the Iran Hostage Crisis lasting until January 20, 1981, US and Iranian relations had been on shaky ground. However, tensions escalated on January 3, 2020, when President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike to hit Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Soleimani died due to the airstrike. Because Soleimani was revered by the majority of the Iranian population, the Iranian government fought back on January 7 by stating that they were considering 13 different revenge scenarios on the US. On January 8, Iran carried out with one of their possible scenarios by launching attacks on two Iraqi bases housing US troops, the Ain al-Assad base and a facility near Erbil airport. However, the damage was minimal and no one was injured.
Additionally, on January 5, 2020, Iraq entered the situation by calling on the US to expel their foreign troops from Iraq and by cancelling its request from the US to fight against terrorist group ISIS. With tension between the US and Iran & Iraq, what will our government do now? Story by L. Bickel
Students share their opinion regarding the US and Iran
(Since there were no quotes from students in the story, I chose to include students' perspectives on the issue in an alternative coverage).
"We should be concerned because the situation could get worse and cause war possibly." -Freshman Hope Lutz
"Of course, I think anyone involved should be worried. This situation could start a real war." -Sophomore Zachariah Svatko
"The United States should be concerned. We hurt their people, so they want to get us back." -Freshman Sophia Irvin
2020-2021 Musical, Phases
Headlines Don’t Sell Papes
Cast of Newsies performs musical in front of socially-distanced audience
As the red, wavy curtains of the stage opened and the orchestra began the overture on opening night, Friday, March 5, approximately 1000 people at their own homes gazed at the live-streamed performance on their personal devices. Each cast member received two tickets for their in-person performances on Friday and Saturday night, while everyone else watched the Newsies seize the day in a pre-recorded version of the musical via ShowTix.
“I really liked the idea of the streaming service. It made things a bit more nonchalant. We had room to mess up because we could get a better take the next day, not saying that’s the way to go about doing it, but knowing that we had multiple takes made a lot of the jitters go away,” senior Conner Stauffer, playing Pulitzer, said.
Soon, a purple haze fell on the stage as senior Jeremy Eck, playing Jack Kelley, and sophomore Meredith West, playing Crutchie, sang “Santa Fe” atop the two-story set. As Eck was on the Blue Team and West was on the Gold Team, musical provided the cast an opportunity to perform with the other half of the alphabet, something they had not had the chance to do since the week following the previous musical, Annie Get Your Gun.
“I felt like this show brought a sense of joy to not just ourselves but to the crowd, as well. This show allowed all of us to forget about what is going on in the world and brought a revived sense of excitement to everyone. Having an in-person show was truly amazing because hearing that live reaction to the performance is something that can’t be described,” Eck said. Story by L. Bickel
Awaiting the day’s headline, the Newsies cast peeks their heads through the gate.
Performing “Watch What Happens,” senior Grace Ginder, playing Katherine, belts out the chorus of her solo, “Watch What Happens.” “When I first found out I was playing Katherine, I was excited but nervous, but then I was talking to Mrs. Fair, and she really calmed my neves and showed me that Katherine and I are actually pretty similar,” Ginder said.
Reaching out to the socially-distanced audience, senior Shae Parham, playing the role of Medda Larkin, sings “That’s Rich.”
Getting a trim by senior Molly Gray, senior Conner Stauffer, playing the role of Pulitzer, prepares for “The Bottom Line.”
About to strike, the Newsies cast hits their final pose in “Seize the Day.”
Singing “Santa Fe,” senior Jeremy Eck, playing Jack Kelly, belts the ballad before the curtain closes for intermission.
2021-2022 Opening & Opening Divider, No Matter What
No Matter What, we’re putting our challenges behind us so we can look forward.
Our school has been rising above our obstacles for the past 60 years, and that’s not stopping with us. Entering the third school year in a pandemic, facing new administration, and fearing homecoming getting canceled haven’t stopped us from persevering. If anything, these unknowns have made us even more determined to live every day as if there’s a shutdown the next. We know that our school year could be taken away in an instant, so we’re going to make the best of it…
...no matter what.
We’re taking that shot to try out for Ariel in The Little Mermaid. We’re screaming “blue and gold” as loud as we can back in the Raider Rowdies stands when the cheerleaders ask us, “What’s your favorite color?” And, we’re trying our hardest to do our algebra problems instead of watching Devious Licks on TikTok all night. We don’t know what challenges we’ll face next, but we know we’ll come out the other side better, stronger, and more determined than ever.