Chief’s Farewell — Bella McWhorter

Bella McWhorter

Growing up, I moved a lot. I lived in Phoenix, Carmel and now Marin, all the while hopping from house to house. I made friends and lost them to distance. I found interests in basketball, cross country, piano, flute, acting, soccer, and lost them with each transfer to a new school.

Nonetheless, my first year on the Bark I felt that I had found a niche. In room 177 I discovered what I wanted to do with my life, because oddly enough my childhood dreams of creating world peace or solving poverty had yet to pan out.

I relished in racing from computer to computer, lending my expertise to editors as I worked toward making something bigger than myself. Even through the chaos and stress of making deadline, I knew that with every moment at the Bark I was finding a way to spark change.

My junior year, I traveled with the Bark to Washington D.C. for a journalism convention. When we visited a museum dedicated to news coverage history, I found one book in particular that would inspire me to pursue writing in an entirely different way.

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Decked with photography displaying war zones and natural disasters on its front cover, the book’s purpose was to reveal the dangers endured by admirable reporters who cover impactful global events. My eyes scanned the pages, my mind delving into the adventures of people I had never met, yet now felt so close to. Whether being taken as prisoner of war or getting trampled in protests, all of the reporters’ had something in common: They risked their lives on a daily basis. What prompted writers, of all, people, to lay their lives on the line—to be held at gunpoint, arrested, and even killed—and risk everything, not for oil, or water, or the resources that wars are fought over, but rather for words? Change.

Through my time with the Bark I have learned to love words and the power that they hold, while also learning that, when I use words correctly, I am a step closer to indeed achieving my childhood dream of changing the world.

These are the years I will never forget. Though my memories with the Bark and Redwood are not all picturesque moments, I cannot imagine having spent these pivotal years anywhere else. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and in under two short weeks we will branch out to continue on our own paths. For those of you who have stuck with me for the past 420 words I will leave you with these last words I write for the Bark: Though we all may battle with inner turmoil, we can count on the stability of knowing that our lives are in our hands and we can make change.