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Ben Vanelli

Ben Vanelli ‘21 speaks about his history as a member of the newspaper staff and provides a recap of the newspaper’s comeback on a personal level. On behalf of the Perkiomenite’s returning members for 2021-2022, we will miss you dearly, Ben!

Wait, we have a school newspaper?

Yeah, you’re not alone in that thought. That was also something I didn’t know for my first few months at Perkiomen. Apparently, The Perkiomenite was actually a huge deal way back when -- like, recognized by the Vice President of the United States huge. By the way this paper was run in 2017, you’d never be able to guess that. It was a flimsily pieced-together afterthought of a newspaper if I’m being brutally honest. I remember only one edition ever coming out, in which I wrote about the bright futures of our four Philadelphia sports teams (two of which have actually succeeded since then). That was an actual, physical paper that we plopped onto the cafeteria lunch tables pre-plexiglass, and I can only wonder how many students were itching to rip those puppies open.

That’s sarcasm, by the way.

If I seem pretty critical about the effort put into the Perkiomenite back in my freshman year, that’s because I am, but only because now I know what the school newspaper can actually be. It can be a well-led, thoroughly composed, consistent tool through which students can not only write about worldwide or school-wide topics but also have the chance to let their inner writer be expressed with no judgment whatsoever. This year, I’ve read articles about our new teachers, the scarily hostile political climate of the country, the cultural differences that our Assist students have experienced, and the social campaigns being led by our country’s youth. I love what the newspaper has become, and all the credit goes to Ms. Maley for never giving up on its importance in our community.

While I guess Ms. Maley and I have been the only consistent members of the Perkiomenite since I got here four years ago, the amount of people who have participated this year is pretty impressive. This is the most dedicated group of writers and staffers I could have asked for as the senior editor, and while different faces have popped in and out of our club since September, there are a couple of year-rounders I’d like to recognize. Garrett McKenzie, the writing machine, pumps out articles faster than I can edit them, and does it with an incredible grasp of grammar, and is always informative and formal in his pieces. His dedication and consistency as a writer and kindness and politeness as a person are hard to find. Then there’s Ella Laski, and while she’s been more of a technology guru/voice of reason when I’m too distracted to get anything done (which is often), she’s got a lot of talent for someone who claimed to dislike writing earlier in the year and is without a doubt one of the hardest workers I have ever or will ever work with. You’re an excellent member of this paper and a pretty good friend too, Ella, and I’ll definitely miss you next year. 

My time on the newspaper staff has been a pretty interesting ride. From my movie columns that I only hope people actually read to my half-effort leads during meetings, and every little digression with the rest of the staff in between, I will absolutely miss this little project. I am forever indebted to Mr. Sell, Mrs. Kovaleski, and especially to Ms. Maley for getting the Perkiomenite off the ground, although I am very angry at you three for actually managing to get me teary-eyed writing this article. 

Lots of love for everyone who has ever typed a single word for the newspaper. Now let’s get lunch.