By Gabriela Flores
Reader, full disclosure, I can’t believe that I made it here.
It’s unbelievable to recollect how this paper’s inception in the 21st century aligned perfectly with my own rebirth (I’m dramatic, lol). I arrived at The Vanguard at 17, eventually becoming the paper’s features editor at 18, and then editor-in-chief at 19. After nervously walking through the door of Roosevelt 118, I didn’t realize I’d be entering what would eventually become the pinnacle of my student journalism run. Today, at 21, it’s fun to see just how much I’ve grown and reflect on the amazing people who got me here.
First and foremost, thank you to the people who trusted me to co-lead this paper: Ryan Schwach, Moises Taveras, and Quiara Vasquez. Your faith in me and John pushed me to put my nose on the grindstone when it came to journalism. For that and much more, I am eternally grateful to have learned from each of you as my mentors.
To the Baccalaureate School for Global Education’s rare gems: Peter Wilson, Steve Rabinowitz, Connie You, Juanita Kumar, and Christopher Potter. Your red-inked notes, encouragement, and no-nonsense critiques of my writing were always rewarding. Your knowledge and feedback became the wind beneath my fingertips as I type today and in my days ahead as a writer. Thank you for sharpening my literary tools and wits.
To this college’s most underappreciated gems: the TREM and Philosophy professors, who’ve encouraged me to unravel my thoughts through audio, video, discussions, or essays. A warm thanks to Professors Fletcher Maumus, Frederick Wasser, Mobina Hashmi, George Rodman, Robert Lurz, Angelica Nuzzo, Michelle Lipkin, Annie Byrnes, Irina Patkanian, Sebastian Tuinder, Mark McSherry, Matthew Moore, and Christine Vitrano.
This long list of talented professors are a few of the many reasons why accessible, public education is worth backing fully – no matter if certain elected officials and their silly budgets suggest otherwise.
Another round of the warmest thanks to Professor Carolina Bank Muñoz, who never declined to speak with me about issues relevant to our university’s needs, and Professor Jessica Siegel, who was there to lend a helping hand when I encountered a journalistic dilemma.
I wouldn’t even dare to forget thanking my dear friend and fellow Tulcingo del Valle paisano, Jesús Pérez, who uplifted me when I sometimes couldn’t do so myself. Thank you and Leslie from the bottom of my Mexican heart for all you have done for me. Thank you for making me feel welcome and at home. Love you both always.
Without each of them, and this paper’s mentor Dr. MJ Robinson, and the legendary Professor Anthony Mancini, I wouldn’t be the journalist and thinker I am today. Without Central Depository’s Mia Vialva and Jessica Bradley, who ensured we ran smoothly on the backend, this physical paper you’re reading right now wouldn’t exist. Mia and Jessica, you are the most hard-working superwomen I’ve met at the college. Thank you for all you do.
Not to mention, without our printer Linco and the kind delivery people who drop off the copies, Vanguard’s ability to run as a newspaper wouldn’t be possible. Words cannot express my immense gratitude for each of you individually.
My best friends Moris and Paola, two rockstar women, also deserve their flowers. Thank you for helping me stay afloat and inspiring me each day.
To Gabriela Centeno, the better half of Gabby-squared. You are one of the sweetest, smartest gals to roam this earth. Thank you for pushing me to see my future.
To Donald Wenz, my very first interviewee. I was scared to the bone of your no-nonsense demeanor. Looking back, I’ll always appreciate that 11-minute interview and you for jumpstarting my journalism career.
To my sarcastic and dearest first Managing Editor: John Schilling. You’re valedictorian and so much more in my eyes. Thank you for all you’ve done, and for being tall enough to reach places I couldn’t. Your presence kept me grounded, happy, and occasionally stressed. Love you always.
To my friend and former News Editor: Matt Hirsch. Your kindness and intelligence empower those around you. You helped me, and undoubtedly others, to be their best selves. I’m excited for your new chapter and the kids who’ll get to learn from the coolest. Love you.
Thanks to my second Managing Editor and Italian sister, Dr. Michela Arlia. Girl, you’re the reason why my quirky side recently ran loose. Your mind, wits, and charisma, are a few of the many reasons why you’re a force to be reckoned with. Love you, gal. Excited to see you keep winning.
To Owen Russell, the multi-talented and godsent editor who’s responsible for this paper’s “Best Sports Coverage 2021” award. You and your work breathe new life and strike inspiration everywhere. Don’t forget us when you’re an EGOT legend. And please don’t ever, ever stop writing.
To Samia Afsar, another godsent person who tackles everything set before her without missing a beat. Your comedic timing, sarcasm, and perseverance despite the odds are astonishing. Thank you for existing. No matter where you go, keep kicking ass and being the baddest journo, Vangirly.
To Radwan Farraj, one of the greatest writers and thinkers out there. You are going to accomplish so much in the years ahead. No matter what obstacles may come, you’ll thrive as you always do. Rooting for you, Rad.
To Kaylin Guzman, our photo editor and my fellow Latina. You are incredibly strong. You are destined to make strides left and right whether it be through your photography or journalistic drive. This is just the beginning for you. The world isn’t ready, girl.
To Brie Underwood, the man of the century whose drive, passion, and work ethic make them the invincible leader they were born to be. Brie, you are a one-of-a-kind soul that truly makes the world a better place. Thank you for being you.
To Shea Stevenson, one of the most creative folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and speaking with. Thanks for all you’ve done, and for being the voice of reason in the midst of the world’s chaos (usually). Please don’t ever stop writing!
To Emmad Kashmiri, the future Casey Neistat. Thank you for our conversations that always left me inspired to get up and travel. You’ve got an incredible spirit.
Had it not been for The Vanguard, I wouldn’t have the knowledge I carry today about public institutions and the importance of academia.
Nor would I have the honor of meeting some of our generation’s greatest leaders whose thoughts and commitment to their communities enlightened me. You are each so special with your incredible minds and souls. My warmest and sincerest thanks to Luis Flecha, JD Duncan, Gidong Kim, Dr. Christopher Arias, Amara Minott, Jessica Vaivao, Iqura Naheed, Carrie Ebbin, Louis Di Meglio, and Aharon Grama. The latter of who made these past few weeks fun with his presence and unfiltered rambles. Despite your Google Calendar obsession and diva moments, I appreciate you.
And shoutout to Moh, who made some of 2021 lovely for me.
If it weren’t for The Vanguard, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and will continue to be. The kind who knows her worth and won’t tolerate anything short of the respect she deserves and worked hard for. For those still reading, thank you, and please continue supporting your student journalists. Each of them brings you the best they can offer, holding a drive that will hopefully better our media in the long run.
Serin Sarsour is set to take over as editor-in-chief. Vangirly, you are a boundless writer and human being that I had the utmost honor of working with. Your compassion and keen instincts will bring you much success in this new role and beyond.
To the paper’s next second-in-command, Kate Dempsey. Your fighting spirit and pursuit of the truth are some of the innumerable reasons why you’re amazing. I’m honored to have worked with you both. You will undoubtedly continue leading this paper to its fullest potential as the unstoppable duo you are.
The Vanguard’s future is bright. To the current editors and writers, including Allison Dubrow and Paulina Gajewski, I’ll always be reading and appreciating your work. I’ll always be rooting for you.
Brooklyn College, though you were not on the top of my list for undergrad, I’m completely indebted to you. I wouldn’t be the woman, thinker, and journalist I am today if it weren’t for the nurture and lessons I’ve received here.
With eternal bounties of love and appreciation, Gabriela.