Letter from the Online Editors: November 2021

Left+to+right%3A+Managing+Editor+Quentin+Corpuel%2C+Editor-in-Chief+Lily+Freeman%2C+Managing+Editor+Caitlin+Cowan

Alex Schupak

Left to right: Managing Editor Quentin Corpuel, Editor-in-Chief Lily Freeman, Managing Editor Caitlin Cowan

By Lily Freeman, Caitlin Cowan, and Quentin Corpuel

Even when the coronavirus pandemic halted our newspaper’s typical operations in March of 2020, The Black & White Online continued publishing daily content. In-person interviews became Zoom meetings, flat nights — after-school work sessions for writers — disappeared and our staff couch turned into the comfort of our beds. Yet amid it all, our publication produced hundreds of articles that informed, entertained and inspired readers. 

There’s no doubt we were productive during the pandemic. Nevertheless, we’ve learned this school year that there’s something to be said for conducting business in person. 

A year and a half after Whitman’s building initially closed for students, we’ve interviewed individuals like new teachers face-to-face. Our “Photo of the Day” page has come back to life. And our tight-knit staff has, of course, determined who our most talented basketball dunk champion is — a reminder of the significance team building holds for organizations like ours.

The perks of in-person schooling have extended beyond The Black & White. Community members packed the stands when Whitman’s fall sports teams returned to the field for the first time in two years. Students have praised the school’s new addition, a project more than seven years in the making. Even the student parking battle, a staple of the in-person Whitman experience, has eased, with the addition of nearly 100 new spots to the lot.

It’s essential to note, though, that challenges have confronted the community since the school year has begun. On August 24, the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia arrested Whitman social studies teacher Kirkland Shipley on several counts of sexual abuse. When the crew team’s fall season was canceled, we repeated our coverage process, again working to provide clarity.

Police also took a Whitman student into custody for assaulting a Churchill student in October, which set off an afternoon of corroboration and reporting. Any potential changes in our community begin with understanding relevant situations as they currently are — and that awareness is what we hope to facilitate.

Our budding journalists have continued to use their writing prowess to push for a better future, whether their desired improvements come in the form of reforming a higher education admissions process, or expanding world language classes to elementary school students in MCPS. One writer recognized that although school buildings have reopened, COVID-19 remains a deadly threat to community members. He subsequently called for an extension of MCPS’ staff vaccine mandate to high school students. We’ve always encouraged opinions with the potential to initiate concrete change, and we don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Whitman students: drop into room 286 during your fourth or fifth period. Ask us about the newspaper. Lend us a scoop. The Black & White Online will be there. 

 

Lily Freeman, Editor-in-Chief

Quentin Corpuel, Managing Editor

Caitlin Cowan, Managing Editor

 

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