The View From the Top

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St. Ignatius’s bell tower is the best place on campus for a 360 degree, retrospective view, and I had the honor to soak it in a couple of weeks ago. For a full hour I walked around the small space with the best overlook in the city, reflecting on my time at USF and nervously anticipating the places I might go while making a very strong effort not to cry. I slowly circled the cylindrical walkway to see different images of the city I’ve grown to love, separated by the tower’s pillars.

I pointed out the Castro to my companion from USFtv, Aaron Davis, and asked him if he could see Dolores Park somewhere nearby. Neither of us could spot the bright green stretch of lawn, so we figured it was obscured by the city’s hilly landscape. I imagined it was packed on this sunny April afternoon, full of SF’s residents, weekenders and picnickers. I thought of the park’s familiar, pungent smell on a sunny Saturday, the yells of uncertified vendors, the thumping beat of bongos and the cacophonous clash of different speakers and sound systems. I remembered the many warm moments I’ve shared with friends on warm days at this iconic place. We treated our sunburns with beers and burritos in the Mission and retreated somewhere closer to our homes in the slightly chillier Outer Richmond.

I crossed one of the bell tower’s pillars to see a new perspective of the Outer Richmond: my safe, beloved home for the past two years. The rows of avenues grew smaller from Arguello to La Playa, ending at Ocean Beach, where the sparkling, dazzling Pacific Ocean meets the city. Although it’s always felt like the sleepiest part of the city, Geary Boulevard and Balboa Avenue were bustling, packed with shopgoers and busy markets.

 

I’ve memorized the cluster of trees in Golden Gate Park in front of my Fulton Street apartment, taking particular notice when branches fell or when tree trimmers worked in the area. It’s the closest thing we’ve had to a front yard and it’s been lovely. But from the bell tower, our trees faded into the semi-natural beauty that is the 1.5 mile stretch of park—a large, outdoorsy barrier between the Richmond and Sunset districts. I’ve thought of the memories I’ve shared with friends there: a trip to the deYoung museum for an arts reporting class, Uber rides through Park Presidio to parties in the Sunset. And I can’t forget to mention what my wonderful friend and the Foghorn’s managing editor David Garcia, called, “the world’s dankest party” at Hippie Hill on a particular day in April. I remembered my first ever end-of-the-year party for the Foghorn in Hellman Hollow, where I will return this weekend for my last celebration with the Foghorn staff.

The Foghorn office on the 4th floor of the University Center has been my home away from home, and the Foghorn staff has become my second family. Professor Teresa Moore has been our guiding light as the organization’s advisor, and she has given me endless advice as my academic advisor and journalism professor. A former reporter for the Chronicle, she hates to see her name or her face printed in Foghorn stories. But she deserves so much of the credit for the journalist that I’m becoming, as well as the success that the Foghorn has had under my leadership and the many Foghorn editors whom she has advised in the past.

 

I’m ready to leave the Foghorn because I, like most of my predecessors, know that next year’s staff is ready to step up. They are a remarkable group of people who care about this school and its people and, above all else, the news. Ali DeFazio, the incoming editor-in-chief, is prepared to manage the Foghorn at it’s best and it’s worst. She has a wealth of experience, and her insight and never-ending charisma will help her lead her team of hardworking, like-minded people. Deidre Foley will hold the managing editor position, and this job was made for her. She pays attention, is organized and involved. She makes thoughtful, calculated decisions, and underneath her sweet personality is a determined, motivated young woman. There is always an adjustment period at first, but I know it won’t take long for them to unite their team and recreate the strong bond that the Foghorn staff has shared in the past. I hope they cherish those moments as much as possible. Although it sometimes feel like the weeks drag on and on, it really does fly by. Before they know it, next year’s staff will be wrapping up, writing their final bittersweet piece for their final issue.

 

Our staff spends a ridiculous amount of time together every week. Our group chat is filled with a constant flow of reminders and updates on stories, as well as jokes and supporting messages. We annoy each other and rely on each other, and we make a really strong team. The Foghorn has shaped my time at USF for the past three years and given me a reason to talk to new people and try new things. It’s defined who I am as a student and a member of the University community. But it’s also given me a group and a place of my own. The Foghorn staff is close-knit—it’s a necessity not only to get things done, but to enjoy our jobs and responsibilities at the same time. I’m proud to say that the Foghorn has brought me some of my dearest friends. If I will remember anything from this school and this period in my life, it will be the Foghorn and the people who work for it. As I looked down from this view at the top, facing graduation day and the great unknown, I only had one thing to say: thank God for student journalism.

 

Click here to see a video of our tour of the St. Ignatius bell tower.

Photo credits to Aaron Davis/ Foghorn

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