A Final Farewell – Samir Saeed

Over the past four years, I have made countless memories—both on-campus with my peers and teachers as well as off-campus with my friends and family. Although there were some challenging moments, the fond memories shine much brighter. One of the brightest and most rewarding of these experiences was working on The Fanfare with its amazing staff.

Samir Saeed ’21

Joining The Fanfare as a freshman was initially a nerve-wracking experience. I still remember the first time I walked into the newsroom, feeling intimidated as several upperclassmen’s heads turned towards me. Although I was initially nervous, by the end of that first meeting, my anxiety had completely vanished. After just one club session with Isabella, Emma, Tess and Mara—the Editors at the time—I no longer felt like an intimidated outsider, but rather a member of an amazing, passionate and caring team. This experience highlights how important and meaningful guidance from upperclassmen can be for underclassmen. As a sophomore, I was given the opportunity to pay it forward by serving as a mentor to freshmen writers, helping them integrate into the Fanfare community, just like my upperclassmen did for me.

The past year was chaotic to say the least; however, if this unprecedented time has taught me anything, it is the importance of flexibility and gratitude, since you never know when the Universe will throw you for a loop. Ever since starting high school, my routine has roughly been the same: wake up, go to school, come home, study, go to sleep; Monday, Tuesday, Friday clubs; get prepared for the next week, rinse and repeat. Completing this same loop week after week for three years, I had fallen into a rhythm. But when the pandemic hit, this familiar routine was suddenly shattered as COVID turned everyone’s lives upside down. I could no longer leave the house, my friends and teachers became small boxes on a computer screen, and running errands seemed like a luxury. In this new and unfamiliar world, we were all forced to adapt in new and creative ways—and that is exactly what The Fanfare did. Faced with a new set of challenges after moving online, we didn’t simply continue to pump out articles on our Fanfare website as we had in the past. We began creating a broader outreach by expanding our social medial presence on platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to continue connecting with the Berkeley community. As we returned to in-person learning, we did not miss a step, easily transitioning back to an in-person format and swiftly recruiting our newest members during a new and unfamiliar school schedule. Without this flexibility, The Fanfare would have fallen behind and would have not been able to stay connected and engaged with the Berkeley community.

Out of my 18 years on this planet I have spent 14 at Berkeley, and it is hard to imagine my life without this school and its supportive, engaging and one-of-a-kind community. From the bottom of my heart: thank you, friends and family; thank you, teachers and classmates; thank you, Berkeley; and thank you, The Fanfare.