The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

Column: Student Carries On Vanguard Traditions

Some things come naturally.

Maybe it’s a specific ‘talent’ that has been passed down through generations.

Or maybe you’ve been nurtured into obtaining that skill from your parents or grandparents.

Maybe it’s just “in your veins.”

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Writing.

It’s in my veins.

My passion for journalism runs back much further than a nervous freshman checking off the box that read: “Sophomore Journalism” on a class sign-up sheet.

Writing has always come naturally to me. I’ve been writing my whole life, from sitting at the kitchen table typing on my dad’s old work computer, to grabbing a forbidden piece of printer paper and scribbling out stories that became books I self-published with a messy stapling job.

It was just part of my daily life.

My dad, with his bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on writing, made sure I was reading books that challenged me and encouraged me to leap outside the creative boundaries of an eight-year-old.

Creating artistic masterpieces through words has been a crippling passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I had always assumed my adoration for writing had simply and passionately been implemented into my brain through my parents.

My freshman year of high school was far from exciting. Most of it was spent half listening in on Zoom calls from the annoying comfort of my bedroom. When finally, nearly three quarters of the way through my school year, I was able to re-enter the classroom…for two half days a week. I was fortunate enough to have previously established relationships with my teacher, specifically Mr. Todd Fletcher, Kalles Junior High’s profound English teacher, adviser for the yearbook, head girls cross country coach and head girls basketball coach.

To all of his students and athletes he was simply just “Fletcher.” He led his classes and teams with precise instructions and a monotone sarcasm that only a few of us truly appreciated.  But nonetheless he never left a single student out to dry, ever.

Although three quarters of my freshman year was spent online staring blankly at empty gray boxes on a screen, when the day rolled around to sign up for my sophomore classes it was spent in Fletcher’s room. Three boxes under the “English” section of the sign up paper, the classes read Pre-AP Sophomore Journalism, Pre-AP Debate and regular Sophomore English. That day I trotted myself up to Fletcher’s desk, seeking advice on which box to put a check mark in.

“I’m thinking about Debate; I think it would be interesting to learn how to argue with style,” I say to him as I plopped myself down on the chair by his desk.

“Weaver, that’s a terrible idea. You’ve got Debate tournaments that you’ll never make it to because of basketball,” he says, staring me down behind the pair of spectacles that rest on the tip of his nose.

“Well, then my only two options are regular English and Sophomore Journalism. I don’t want to take regular English that would be too easy and I don’t write from a journalistic perspective; I’m a creative writer,” I say to him, finishing my sentence with a deep sigh that read ‘all hope is lost.’

“Ms. Weaver, with all due respect, I’ve been grading your writing all year. Quite frankly, you are too good of a writer to not give journalism a shot,” Fletcher said.  

“The teacher is Mrs. Coyer; she’s hard core but she knows what she’s doing. I think you’d do well.”   

And I promptly checked off the box that led me to where I’m at today.  

From day one, being in that class felt like I was meant to be there, designed to be there. Most things came naturally, creating interview questions, interviewing strangers never felt scary, but rather fun, and creating art from those stranger’s stories put me on cloud nine. I knew my work was good, and it felt good to be feel so accomplished about something I was scared about.  

Flash forward to my junior year and I am leading the sports section of our school newspaper. Producing articles every month brought me an uncontested amount of joy. And finally, it’s time to produce my favorite edition: the famed Alumni Edition. This is year, I am going all out.  

I ended up interviewing a trio of best friends who had created a bond through football, their friendships was woven together through years of being on the same teams and winning together. One actually ended up having a career in journalism.  

“I credit my success to my journalism teacher, Mr. Stan Brewster…”  

My head tunes out as to what the alum in front of me says. Stan Brewster? I certainly knew that my great grandpa was a teacher at Puyallup High School, but the adviser for the school newspaper? That information had never been relayed to me.  

After that interview, mentally things started to click. My great grandpa was a journalist, an adviser for a newspaper. But not just any newspaper, he was the head adviser for the very newspaper that I held an editorial board position for. The very newspaper that I was currently thrusting my heart into.   

Funny enough, I hadn’t known for many years of my life. I hold vague memories of him where I would sit and enjoy lunch at his intimidatingly large dining room table. But he passed away when I was around four. There wasn’t enough time in my life to create a bond and certainly never enough time for the famed Stan Brewster to institute any qualities of a professional journalist to me.  

But something felt right about knowing I had lineage to a prolific writer, and a former adviser for The Viking Vanguard. I felt like my passion for journalism and writing had come full circle. Maybe my talent and love for journalism and bringing others’ stories to life was in my DNA. Maybe it was somehow coded and passed down from my great grandfather to me.  

Even if the talents and skills I carry with me were not genetically passed down to me by him, there is something fun and comforting about believing that I have writing in my dreams. It also created a challenge for me to live up to the standards my great grandpa laid in place 60 years ago.  

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About the Contributor
Maddy Weaver, Sports Editor
Junior Maddy Weaver is taking this course because she found a passion for sports journalism and telling people’s stories. Her favorite media project to work on is On The Sidelines, the sports section of the news broadcast show. She also loves writing for our school newspapers sports section. When you don't see her around the hall of PHS you can see her polishing her basketball skills or working at Picha Farms.

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