Editor-in-Chief Farewell: Shannon Donelan

Shannon Donelan

Today my friend said something that stuck with me: “This time of year feels like when I’m walking down the street on my phone and look up just as I am about to run into a pole. I think I can see where I am going, but then I look up and boom.” For seniors, graduation is that pole, and as I walk closer with each passing day, I can’t help but wish I had put my phone down sooner and looked up.

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For the past couple of years, Bark has been the part of my life that made me look up every once in a while. It pushed me out of my routine and brought me into a world of excitement and enthusiasm alongside individuals with similar interests. Bark gave me experiences that I never would have had otherwise: seeing the inside of prison, witnessing the aftermath of a heartbreaking fire, investigating breaking-news security threats and so much more. It transitioned my high school experience from learning regular curriculum to experiencing something purposeful. From discussing Trump’s most recent outrageous tweets, arguing over the Israel-Palestine conflict, watching Janelle Monáe’s newest music video, to singing along to Mamma Mia during paste-up, room 177 quickly became the place where I learned the most about myself and the world around me. While on the Bark staff, I have been most proud of the stories we have published relating to issues of injustices within our community and beyond: stories of social isolation, gun violence, sexual harassment, domestic abuse and more.

Bark has lead me to one of the most influential experiences of my entire life. When the opportunity to go into San Quentin to write an article about a man who has been in prison for 40 years came my way, I had no way of knowing the impact this would have on me. Spending five hours sitting in the visiting room with a group of over 50 convicts and their loved ones was the most moving experience of my life. I have never felt more like a journalist than I did in that room, frantically scribbling notes on scraps of paper with a dull blue colored pencil. Hearing this convict’s story of redemption solidified my unwavering belief in second chances. I had found something I could do for the rest of my life: working in the field of criminal justice. For the first time, I truly felt that I was making a difference. This experience was the greatest honor of my high school career and will be something that I will take with me wherever I go. Bark gave me this gift, and for that, I am sincerely grateful.

So, thank you Bark. Thank you for helping me run into less poles along the way. Thank you for reminding me of the value of looking up. <3