A Final Thank You


Rachel Weiner, Contributing Writer

As senior year is coming to a close, I think back and reflect on what really matters to me and the people that helped me become who I am. This year, something that was new to me was joining the Marco Island Academy newspaper, The Wave. I had no idea just how much this group would truly impact me and my future. 

Here’s a little backstory on the people behind The Wave. Keith Scalia has been the advisor since way before I came to MIA, 2018-2019 to be exact. This year, our Editor and Chief was Abigail Gallup, Riley Letendre was the Managing Editor, Phoenix Gutierrez was the Digital Media and Layout Editor, Yessenia Martinez was the Photo Editor, Colin Donegan was the News Editor, Haylen Irvan was the Features Editor, Paola Cortazar was the Opinions Editor, Lily Braun was the Science Editor, Kathryn Barry was the Sports Editor, Jorge Rodriguez was the Entertainment Editor and Lexi Smith was the Arts Editor. All of these people truly impacted me, and I would like to share some appreciation for all they do behind the scenes and how personally, I think they are absolutely amazing in general.

Rachel with Abby Gallup and Riley Letendre

This year, I was put in Mr. Scalia’s Journalism class, and to say that I am grateful is an understatement. Specific requirements for this class consist of writing and publishing articles onto The Wave’s website. I have always loved writing, which made me think about how good this class would be for me. After our first published assignment, Abigail Gallup  gave me ideas and encouraged me to continue writing. I found myself loving to write and have my voice out there in a whole different way. As someone who does theatre, it was very interesting to focus on a different aspect of the arts and grow my love for it even more. This brings me on to my first appreciation for Abigail ‘Abby’ Gallup. 

Abby and I became closer friends at the beginning of the year. Having her friendship in my life has had a big impact on me. She constantly helps me grow and wants to see me thrive. Whenever I would have an accomplishment, she would be the first one I would tell. She has pushed me to be a better person and really grow into the person I am today. This was all before I had even joined the newspaper. Once we started Journalism, she immediately pushed me to work to move my status from a ‘Staff Writer’ to a ‘Contributing Writer.’ She gave me many ideas and opportunities to write. She helped me become more of a leader and push me into positions to work very hard. Such as working to obtain a ‘SNO Distinguished Site’ recognition for the newspaper titled ‘Continuous Coverage’ badge. Without her support throughout the entire process, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I am immensely grateful for everything Abby has done for me and for The Wave this year.

Rachel with Yessenia Martinez, Haylen Irvan, and Lily Braun

Next comes Riley Letendre and Haylen Irvan and their amazing editing and patience when it came to me running out of ideas or stressing about my articles not being good enough. Both of these individuals work insanely hard. Riley works on the business aspect of things when it comes to keeping everything running orderly. She would keep track of emails and set up appointments.Haylen would write many articles throughout the semester. Whether that was comical or features, she would always find ways to keep herself writing. Even though these two went through crazy things, they always made time for me and helped me with anything I needed. They are a huge part of The Wave and it wouldn’t run the same without them.

Rachel with Phoenix Gutierrez

The more technical editors are Lexi, Yessenia, and Phoenix. Phoenix is a big part of the reason that the website is designed theway it is. He has continued to revise and improve the website and bring new life to it. Lexi and Yessenia brought amazing images and art to the website through pictures as well as videos. 

Rachel with Paola Cortazar

Lastly, the ones that are just incredible people who deserve recognition for their help through my time in this class are Lily, Jorge and Paola. They have all helped me with absolutely everything I would need and given me any advice that I would ask for.

The last and final person that I am going to give gratitude for is our advisor, Mr. Scalia. I will admit, he and I have had our ups and downs. He actually wouldn’t even let me move up to be a contributing writer until about a month into the second semester. But eventually, he gave me his ‘blessing’ (as he stated) and let me move up. Mr. Scalia has been extremely helpful. He even helped me write this article. He helped me with anything I needed and if I was struggling he would work to help me through it.

The Journalism editors (the ones that were in my class) heard every life update. They helped me over every college decision stress, every minor inconvenience, and they welcomed me with open arms. These people help so much behind the scenes that many don’t know about. Yessenia being in charge of the yearbook helped with many things this senior year as well as Abby planning many activities for the senior class as well. There are many more things that they help with, but I can’t give away ALL their secrets!

Even with the ones I didn’t specifically recognize, this entire staff deserves appreciation and recognition for all of their hard work and dedication they continue to put in. Thank you to the entire staff of The Wave. You deserve all the appreciation you get.