143, 143

Claire Jiang ’24 (Editor-In-Chief, 143rd Board) in Editorials | February 23, 2024

          In a small tower in southern France, Michel de Montaigne signs his name in the corner of a paper with a flourish, finishing the first essai. Each time I sit down to write an Editorial, read an article for The Lawrence, or ask another editor for a page, I think of Montaigne and essayer, which means “to try” in French. It’s a reassurance. I know I cannot do this past year and the Board justice, but I can try.

           First, reader, a concession: I have never been great at keeping track of time. Instead, each night with The Lawrence feels like a blur—papers flying back and forth, scratchy handwriting on pages, and rapid-fire problem-solving. So, I root my memories in the people and the office, our Montaigne tower fit for 16.
Tucked into the corner of Pop basement, the office hosts a variety of swivel chairs, bouncy stools, and an AC that turns on and off on its own volition. Though we like to complain about its small dimensions, I don’t think we would ever give it up with all the memories and moments we’ve made in there:

           Each Thursday, expect to see Garrett and Bryan sitting in the corner together, their backs facing the door as they calmly prod through sports and political jargon. Jackie takes her seat against the wooden door, peeping up from time to time when someone mentions L10 or praises another great Features article. Arisa sits on the couch, working on homework, code, or whatever brilliant project she has decided to take on. Next to her, Emily hunches over her iPad, blending blues and hues of orange on her palette, while Cindy scours the Lawrenceville Flickr for a last-minute photo request.

           Helena and Nichole take the rolling table, exchanging articles, food, and small talk as they deliberate the best way to format the front page. Bonilla reintroduces Brinly to the team, and together they ransack the animal cracker jar. When it empties, they remind us to fill out Board Picks, taking 0.5x photos all around the office.

           Everyone else changes their places every week or so, an everlasting game of musical chairs. Will, our in-house DJ, can bop up and down to the Top 10 pop hits no matter where he sits. Sabrina and Aki shift from week to week, searching for the best surfaces to lay a page on and make edits with glaring Style Guide expertise. Arya likes to sandwich herself right in the middle, her passion for the writer’s voice beaming wherever she goes. Sofia gazes intently at her page, bringing in a flurry of pinks and reds as she enters the office.

           In the conference room, Mrs. Buckles and Ms. Keane pore over tests and essays while previewing the issue in its roughest form. Their wisdom and realism keep us grounded. Luke, my ever-steady partner-in-crime, wanders checks in with each section. You know it is time to wrap up when he patiently paces the office, signaling us to slip our laptops’ greased keyboards back into backpacks.

           Yes, it’s the dream team.

           I can’t help but reflect on how we first entered this place together—16 individuals packed into the office, awkwardly answering icebreakers from a randomly generated website. I remember how the body heat and intense laughter surely raised the room’s temperature by a few degrees. What most people do not see, however, is the steady accumulation of hours and challenges we've built up to this point. Behind eight pages of polished articles and Indesigns are often long nights, good cries, and fierce debates. But we’ve also had an equal share of dance parties, trivia nights, and hours of conversation on an endless trove of topics.
I like to think The Lawrence is a lot like our office—a small platform for a big group of people. With a whopping 23 issues under our belt, we—the Board and our writers—have crammed in coverage of outside news alongside Lawrenceville events, fit six 500-word articles onto one page, produced a historic amount of special issues, and engaged readership through emails and social media. I cannot be more grateful to be part of such a group. 

          143: every day, your passion and care for your writers; your commitment to the paper; and your kindness inspire me. Without such a team, the success of these issues and such a reader base would not have been possible. Dear Board, you have made another year of The Lawrence possible, reaching more readers and writers than you know. More importantly, you have all been a part of cultivating such a wonderful and welcoming culture—from this small team of editors to our writers and beyond—and upheld the high journalistic standard that makes The Lawrence so. That, at its very core, is the foundation of any good newspaper. Thanks for becoming my family and friends in this past year, my thanks, appreciation, and gratefulness are endless.