Senior goodbye: Falling in love with the stories


Carter Bryant

Senior Mandy Halbert has a way with words and will continue to pursue her love of storytelling as a journalism major in college.

Mandy Halbert, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: Senior goodbyes are student pieces that reflect on their past years in high school. These pieces take very different perspectives and the prompt was meant to be vague to inspire creativity. 

I’m a storyteller. Everyone who knows me knows that. From the moment I started talking, I’ve always had something to say.

I remember sitting in my car seat, probably 5 or 6 years old, always having some story to share. My mind moved faster than my mouth. I remember my mom turning around at a stoplight and saying, “Manda, take a breath!” But of course, that didn’t stop me. Breathing wasn’t really my thing.

Before I could hold a pencil, I was writing. I illustrated construction paper books and told my mom exactly what to write on each page. So you could say writing came naturally.

As I grew, my writing grew with me. I slowly graduated to research papers and argument essays. I realized that, unlike most kids, I enjoyed those more than fiction and creative writing. I found my passion in the power of a real story. Finally, in high school, I learned how to tell those stories. I learned how to tell my stories.

I tried so many different things growing up. Soccer, choir, band, shotgun shooting, video production, you name it. Nothing really stuck. Not until writing.

I only joined the news staff to take pictures. I thought that was all I was good at. I would sit in awe at the amazing work these other students would produce. I’d read every story that was published. I’d read them and wished I could do the same. I wanted to write.

So I gave it a shot.

Junior year, I needed one more elective for my schedule. I’d already taken every other class that interested me. My mom, who has always been my biggest fan, suggested I try journalism. So, reluctantly, I signed up.

It felt like it clicked instantly. I gave every assignment everything I had. I loved every second of it. I was ecstatic when I was offered an article to write for The Red Ledger. I took that assignment and never looked back. I fell in love with the stories.

In high school, I’ve learned that there are stories everywhere. Some are happy, some are funny, some are heart breaking. But all are beautiful. All of them deserve to be told.

I’ve learned that while I may not be the best writer or the best storyteller, that’s where my passion is. I’ve learned that you don’t have to be the best at something to enjoy it. As long as you’re passionate and willing to work at it, I say pursue it wholeheartedly.

When I tell people I’m majoring in journalism, I get weird looks. They see journalists as those stupid talk show hosts or the invasive paparazzi. They always ask me why I want to do that.

The thing is, I don’t want to do that at all. I don’t want to be a “journalist.” I want to be a storyteller.

High school taught me that amidst all the pain in this messy world, there’s beauty. It’s in every story. Through faith, I’ve been able to find that beauty in my own stories. Both the painful and the happy, the bitter and the sweet.
My writing and my faith have shown me this kind of optimism. It taught me how to look at the world from a less worldly perspective. I’ve learned to search for the bigger picture and work to comprehend God’s plan. So look for the beauty in every circumstance. I promise it’s there.