Senior Goodbyes


Soncheree McCampbell, Specials Editor

Hurelayn Abdu – Editor-in-Chief

University of Maryland

I’ve been here forever. Really. I’ve been in journalism since my freshman year when I begged my counselor to add me to the class even though she repeatedly told me that it was a majority upperclassmen class. It was kind of odd at first, being in a class with so many upperclassmen, but joining the class is not a decision I regret.

Mainstream has provided me an outlet to express my many, many opinions, whether they be political, social or just some random thing I read about. Through this class I have not only been able to grow as a writer but also as a thinker. The freedom I was given to write about anything – well almost anything – has allowed me to further discover myself. I can say without a doubt that it is because of this class that I was able to discover my passion for politics and social justice, leading me to decide to study politics in college.

However, beyond academics, Mainstream has been somewhat of a safe space for me in this rather large school with the office serving as a place where I can always come and do some last minute cramming, work on an article or chill during lunch. Mainstream has also allowed me to meet and befriend some really great people that I otherwise might not have ever talked to in such a large place. I’d like to thank Mr. Woodward who put up with my last minute articles and sometimes controversial article topics, but most importantly served as a mentor to me for the past three years. I’d be lying if I said that Mainstream is all fun and games because it does require some work. But it has hands down been my favorite extracurricular, which is saying a lot considering that I’ve been part of quite a few. So, if you happen to have an opening in your schedule try out journalism, you won’t regret it.


Katelynn Morgan – Center Editor

Oral Roberts University

High school. Honestly, the time of my life. I didn’t say it was the best. Nor did I say it was the worst. But it was a time. Throughout these years, I have seen the growth. The childish ways that I left behind in order to meet the woman I was to become – one who is still in the process of cultivation – was an important step. The woman is in me, but I’m in the early stages. The stages where I’m not sure of what I’m sure of, but I know what I want. The stages where moving on is exciting but it hurts just a little. The stages where I’m scared, yet excited, of what the real world has to offer. Leaving everything, the only things I’ve ever known behind.

But what is life without a little fear? It’s a normal emotion to have, but one cannot live in it. I learned that this is when you hold yourself back the most. But I’m not going to lie, I’m excited to leave. I’m excited to meet my future, to see what God has promised, what he has in store. I’m excited to leave the haunting four walls that creep memories in my mind, leaving me in an unsure state of being. I’m excited to see the world for what it really is, not through the media lense, but my own eyes that allow me to develop and enhance my own opinion. I’m excited to say goodbye, to the walls of PB, to the building of 1500, to the state of Maryland. I’m excited because my life has just begun. I’ve been prepared; I’ve been taught; I’ve been trained. I’ve been watered, and now it’s my time to bloom. So I say goodbye to the past and good morning to my future.


Nyasha Marufu – Features Editor

Towson University

“Hello, my name is Nyasha Marufu, I’m 9 years old and I love to play with my toy cars and draw comics about my superhero, ND, in his crazy adventures in ND World. ND and his friends, Adam and Ally, fight against evil and save the world. One day I hope my comics will be the most popular thing ever created…”
It was 9 years ago that I wrote that for my future self. In that time, my mindset has changed; it is completely different. It’s pretty easy to see your old dreams as corny and stupid, but those old dreams help you to create the person you are now. It did for me. The past four years have taken me to a place that I never thought I would be at this point. Being part of the newspaper, tennis team, NHS, and other clubs and organizations has changed how I interact with the world. The most important part of all of these is writing; I never saw myself as a writer when I was younger.

I thought writing was my true weakness because of my horrible grammar, but somehow it became my passion. I never knew that writing can be so powerful. Expressing my emotions on everyday things became an exciting piece of my life, but my fear of failure once prevented me from even trying. But once I joined Mainstream, I realized that failure is a part of life and if you don’t notice it and keep working on fixing it, you will never improve as a writer – or a person. No matter how bad things get, you can always get up and keep moving. Procrastination can be a dangerous enemy and it might be impossible to avoid it, but we can’t stop. We must keep going to improve and, one day, finally reach our goals. That’s what has helped me get through the stressful four years of high school. Now I ask you, what’s motivating you right now? To those freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who I leave behind, I wish you good luck and will see you in the real world.


Doris Bull – Opinions Editor

Montgomery College

Senior year has taught me many things about myself. For one, I’ve learned that I’m not really a procrastinator, I’m just really lazy. I will calculate how much my grade will go down if I don’t do my work and still end up not doing it. I’m quite sure it’s just senioritis… hopefully. This year was full of stress, anxiety, and a lot of mental breakdowns; but along the rough and painful journey there was fun, some new discoveries about myself, some wonderful new friendships, and some unforgettable memories.

Journalism also had some impact on me this year. It showed me that I’m actually not as crazy about writing as I thought I was, but also that I like to touch on sensitive or “touchy” subjects when I do write. I’m not big on politics or sports or the latest news, but I do like to write about things that appeal to my emotions, things that others might feel the same about. Although I have a long way to go in my writing, I’m proud of some of the pieces that I’ve written during my two years taking journalism.


Sam Opuni – Sports Editor 

University of Virginia

Veni Vidi Vici. As my first and last year of Paint Branch journalism ends, I would like to thank Mr.Woodward for teaching me how to edit and pushing me into a position of responsibility as an editor. I have enjoyed being in a newsroom that was filled with an interesting group of people. I looked forward to coming to this class every day during seventh period to write, goof off, and have interesting discussions about news and politics. The stories my classmates have written have exposed me to new ideas, topics, and viewpoints.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my year here and plan to continue being part of a newspaper when I get to college. I hope to continue to write stories about international politics and expand the content that I both read and write about in my work. I have enjoyed the process it takes to research a story idea and bring my thoughts together, and I have learned a lot about news writing – all skills that I hope to build upon in the future.


Abrahim Karzai – Staff Writer


These past two years in Mainstream have been great. The spectacle of sports was always something that, for as long I can remember, was going to to be a career choice of mine. The only problem was that, as an unathletic 6’3” tall-for-nothing, I needed a way to get involved without actually playing. The solution: write about sports. In no way did I see this as “settling” though, as I learned that writing about sports provides real satisfaction. Every sports story can be viewed from many different angles to the point where a simple touchdown pass, dunk, move in free agency, or postgame press conference can be examined from many angles. I’m extremely grateful that Mainstream gave me the opportunity to be a part of the great wonder that is sports coverage.

While the various pieces I published are something I look back on and smile at, it was only a small part of a bigger gift. It was the 14 people that chose to be part of this team that were truly the best part of the experience. We all had different interests, hobbies, and opinions. We all came from different backgrounds. We were all different from each other, but for 45 minutes a day, we experienced something real. We experienced something that is all too rare in four years of high school: people being their true selves. There were people who had something relevant to say. There were people who could actually hold down a conversation for more than just a few minutes before starting an awkward silence. There was serious dialogue. There were new perspectives on issues. It was real. That’s what Mainstream gave to me, and I am forever grateful for it.


Donald McElveen – Staff Writer

Millikin University

I’ve always considered myself a writer. From the time I decided I was going to be the youngest person on The New York Times best-seller list (spoiler alert: that didn’t happen) to now when most of my writing is done for school or for fun, I’ve always seen myself as a writer. But it wasn’t until I took Journalism 1 during my sophomore year that I realized what I could do with my writing. I wouldn’t consider myself a journalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that as a writer I have grown tremendously since taking journalism.

I remember one of the first articles I wrote for journalism (specifically my second). I wrote about which was better, Apple or Android. I spent a little longer than I should have crafting the perfect argument for why Android was better. It was a “controversial” opinion and one that I was passionate about. The thing about writing – especially for a newspaper – is that it gives you power. You get to decide the entire narrative of the article without a rebuttal or a second opinion. You’re free to be authentically you, and that is something that’s hard to get anywhere else. I am so grateful for my experience in journalism, and it’s sad that this short-lived love has to come to an end. The people I met, the stories I got to write, and the feedback I got from other people about something I poured myself into have all been invaluable to me. So, to all of you reading this; take the class, find out what you’re passionate about and just write. You have a voice and it deserves to be heard.


Jocelyn Wade – Staff Writer

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Journalism 1 and Mainstream have been the best electives that I’ve taken in my high school career. I wanted to take journalism in tenth grade, but I had a full schedule and had to wait until junior year when I had space to take it. This class gives a welcoming and supportive environment and that’s what I like most about it. The class is close, family like. I love the random outbursts that are always followed by discussions regarding it.

I’ve been able to write about almost any topic I want, and this has resulted in me going through phases regarding the types articles I write. I’ve gone from sports to opinions to features to “Word in the Hall,” a simple question and answer forum. I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer features and “Word in the Hall,” over any other of my phases because I like talking to people and hearing what they have to say whether it supports what I write or contradicts my thoughts entirely.

I greatly appreciated having the opportunity to be in this class, not only because it allowed me to voice my opinions and explore new areas, but also because it afforded me the chance to gain a greater understanding of my future career.


Shahadah Tobias – Staff Writer

Maryland Institute College of Art

Journalism was a class I’ve always considered taking, but never had the time or chance to do so before. When I had a free space in my schedule this year, I took the opportunity to finally take Journalism. In the beginning I didn’t know what to expect from the class, but I eventually found my stride and realized that I regretted not taking this class sooner. Mainstream helped me get back in touch with my inner writer and gave me the opportunity to articulate my thoughts and opinions, as well as write about topics that I was passionate about and actually cared about. Journalism gives you the freedom to to this, and it unleashes a type of creativity that cannot be expressed in other classes.

One of the things I enjoy in this class is the close, comfortable environment. It is easier to have a personal, one-on-one with the teacher, being that this class is on the smaller side. There are times where we can make jokes and have a good time, while still being able to have conversations about serious issues.

As the last few days of my high school career quickly approach, I’ve been spending a lot of time reminiscing on my high school career. High school has not been the easiest or most pleasant journey, however, there were moments that made this experience memorable. High school helped me mature and grow as a person, as an artist, and, through Journalism, as a writer.


Jennifer Johnson – Staff Writer

Montgomery College 

My one semester of Journalism was short, but it was still a journey. I walked into the classroom expecting to be so inspired to write, throwing out articles every week, but that was most definitely not the case. I struggled finding topics, I struggled writing about them, and I struggled with all the other distractions. Getting to know the ins and outs of journalism had to be quick, but I still haven’t completely caught on.

One of the first things I noticed about my classmates was how independently they worked, and even though it wasn’t always efficient, they always had something for Mr. Woodward. It was difficult for me to even find a first piece to write, because I had no idea what would be interesting to read or write about. I doubted every idea I had, because I didn’t know how to go about writing it. But in the end I would explore one idea, and it would take time, but I’d have the piece finally written.

The lesson I learned in journalism applies to my life as well. I constantly doubt myself and every little idea I have, and I miss out on opportunities that could have helped me. I am learning to be more creative every day, to execute my ideas to the best of my ability, and be critical of, but confident in, all of my work. I would encourage anyone that takes Journalism to step out of their comfort zone, because you don’t know when you’ll get the opportunity to have your talents, opinions, and research published again.

Journalism will be a part of my high school experience that I will never forget. I will never forget the talented group of people I’ve had the chance to work with, get to know, and learn from. I will also always be thankful for Mr. Woodward for teaching me so much about journalism in about a day, and for being supportive, encouraging, and understanding of how long it takes me to even write one piece, including this one.