“My heart always came back to paper, pen and words on a page.”


Stephanie Kontopanos, Assistant Editor

At the ripe age of 9, I began my first exploration into the world of journalism. I founded “The Kontopanos Times,” and declared myself editor-in-chief, delegating assignments and distributing “copies.” Typed in a Word document and printed from my home printer, the first and only issue was nothing spectacular. I’m sure my design and writing skills have evolved since then — at least I hope so — but it was enough.

While I lovingly call it one of my cringest memories, the pride I felt when I told my third grade teacher about this passion project mirrors the pride I have felt every Paper Day, when I get to see my friends and classmates flip through an issue of The Tiger Print.

Sure, there was an odd period of time where I professed a love for engineering — looking back, why? — and a love for interior design, but my heart always came back to paper, pen and words on a page.

In this way, I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do for a long time. When people ask me what I want to do in the future, my answer is oddly specific, surely unreasonable, but motivating nonetheless: “Editor-In-Chief of Vogue. I want to be the next Anna Wintour, just with better morals.”

Since I’ve declared this to be my ultimate long-term dream, my life feels as if it’s been a flurry of journalism camps, interviews, articles, InDesign documents and proofreading. It’s been fun, no doubt, but as cliché as it is, I always thought the grass was greener on the other side.

At times, I would’ve rather spent my Friday night out with friends, as opposed to doing homework for a marketing class or catching up on sleep instead of proofreading my articles. While, in the moment, things may have been tough, a genuine passion for journalism and a wonderful support system in Room 518 has kept me content.

There have been struggles along the way, as with everything, besides being a smidge of a workaholic.

In junior year, due to the pandemic, my public speaking skills became rusty. Rusty may be a bit of an understatement, as just the thought of answering a question in class came with a bout of unexpected cardio.

For several months, the phobia crippled me, until returning to in-person learning forced me to confront my fears. At this point, my public speaking skills aren’t yet up to Barack Obama level, but by signing up for senior speeches and pep assembly presentations, I have for sure reached a level of confidence that junior-year-me would not have expected. The motto “those difficult, once repeated, turn to instinct” repeats in my head before every public speaking opportunity, and it has no doubt inspired me to continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

Additionally, during my last few years of high school, I became obsessed with one word: busy. Comments like “How do you stay so busy?” and “Do you even have free time?” were like music to my ears. Every time I was asked “How are you?” my answer was usually the same: busy. While the busyness has undoubtedly paid off, and I’m proud of my accomplishments, I am still in the process of unlearning a constant need to be productive and reteaching myself that I am more than my overcrowded schedule. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am more than a four-letter word.

In the past few weeks, the thought that this is my last issue ever has been inevitably swirling in my head. Not once have I taken for granted the immense support I have received or the invaluable lessons I have learned from my fellow editors and staff writers. I will never forget the memories of Editor’s Hour, including Kaitlin’s assassins stories and Charlie’s incomprehensible dance jargon.

I’ve shed many sudden tears in Room 518 at the thought of leaving, struggling to keep Dr. Seuss’s quote about “smiling because it happened” in my head. However, as I prepare myself for whatever publication I’ll be working on in college, I am absolutely confident that the future of The Tiger Print will always be in the best of hands.