Editor-in-Chief Farewell: Taylor Elliott

Taylor Elliott

My first day as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) was something I spent countless hours imagining. I practiced my introduction to the class in my bathroom mirror a million times — “hey guys, my name is Taylor, and I’m one of your EICs this year. Welcome to The Bark!” That was my line (with adjusted inflection and added hand gestures, of course). Needless to say, I was determined to make the right impression.

But, as fate would have it, I wasn’t there on that first day or even for the first two weeks. Instead, I spent the beginning of the year in Memphis, Tenn. visiting my mom in a rehabilitation hospital after she had an unexpected stroke. 

It was really hard. I can’t even begin to describe my fear. A fear for my mom’s health mixed with the looming feeling that I was disappointing everyone who had chosen me for this role. So, as I sat down to explain myself over text to Erin, our Bark advisor, and my co-EICs, Kent and Hollis, I was anxious for their response. But I didn’t need to be. The support I received from them and everyone who knew about my situation in Bark was overwhelming. 

In those first two weeks, not only did my fellow Barkies stand up and fill in for me, but they made me feel included from 2,000 miles away (cheesy, I know). But it’s true. I remember FaceTiming Kent and Hollis and getting every detail about how it was going, from what the kids in my class were like to their reactions after showing some less than flattering photos of Barkies in our introductory presentation. And when I finally made it home with my family and had my first day of Bark, it was just as amazing as I had imagined.

That feeling of being supported never left. Once I had found my bearings, new, more Bark-like, challenges surfaced. Like when Principal Sondheim invited me to speak about my article on the fentanyl crisis to a panel of more than 70 administrators, teachers and law enforcement officials. I wasn’t sure what to say or how to be a voice for students on the issue. But my fellow Barkies did. My co-writer Keely and I had a conversation in each Advanced Journalism class and received feedback that made us confident in our speech. 

So to my fellow Barkies and the generations of Bark writers to come, I leave you with this advice: take advantage of this community and the solace it gives. Use your next year or two to take risks, lean on your peers through emotional hardship, go to People’s Park and approach its inhabitants (or make another bold move in the name of journalism). 

I think about the confidence that Bark has given me a lot. The ability to walk into a room and command a group of people, to call the shots and field questions coming at me in every direction. Now reflecting back, I see that this confidence relies on a feeling of support, knowing that if I fail or can’t be there, I’m not any less of a leader. So thank you, Bark. We made it through.

Hollis Belger (left), Kent Goodman (middle) and Taylor Elliott (right)