The last shot


Photo Lillian Martin

Anna Thomas (’18) poses with the second and third issues of Knight Writers for the 2017-18 year.

Anna Thomas, Editor-In-Chief

Editor’s Note: Anna Thomas is a three-year journalism student, joining the yearbook staff her freshman year and then switching over to newspaper her junior year. During her first year with the newspaper staff, which also marked her first year at Robinson High School, she helped bring the Knight Writers newspaper to a Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) bronze ranking, which led her to be named Editor-in-Chief of Knight Writers and her senior year. During her final year, she led a staff of 25 to an FSPA gold ranking for RHSToday and a high silver ranking for the newspaper. The staff also published 60 days in a row (and counting) on RHSToday under her leadership. To close out her senior year, Anna was named a finalist for the 2018 FSPA Writer of the Year award, one of only three in the state of Florida and was awarded an FSPA All-Florida for sports game coverage. She and Managing Editor Macy McClintock were awarded an Honorable Mention and Excellent in Serious Commentary and Sports Feature as co-authors. During her time as Editor-In-Chief, she was also co-captain of the varsity girls basketball team and maintained high standards in her academic life. Anna plans to continue journalism at Christopher Newport University in the fall.

After joining the yearbook staff my freshman year, I decided that journalism wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved writing. In fact, I dreamt of being a world-famous novelist. Journalism, however, was a completely different realm of writing– one, I thought, would never satisfy me.

Look where we are now.

Two years after my time on the yearbook staff, I sat in the guidance office with my mom at Robinson High School as a transfer student, trying to decide what elective I would take.

“How about yearbook again?” my mother asked.

I shook my head.

“There’s also a newspaper staff,” the guidance counselor said. “And it would actually fit perfectly into your schedule.”

I guess you could call it fate that my schedule so easily welcomed me to an unfound passion of mine, I’m not sure. But it certainly wasn’t luck.

I suppose my mother just knew best, as she usually did. And for that, I owe her a thank you. That decision changed my life.

Journalism became my “thing”, and every day began to just be another published story.

Photo Mariano Hernandez
The 2017-2018 newspaper staff gathers for a photo during a celebration of their year together.

It certainly hasn’t been an easy ride though, and it certainly wasn’t perfect. But if it had been, I wouldn’t have grown at all. Any failure that I or the staff experienced was humbling, and I learned to remind myself that I knew who we were as a staff and I knew what we were capable of. And reaching that potential was our goal all year.

I like to think we did pretty well.

And nobody did so alone.

Watching News Editor Lillian Martin (my go-to gal for everything) write her final story evoked some strange feeling in me– like it’s actually ending.

As a student-athlete and journalist, I could draw a lot of parallels between my team and staff. In the last 50 seconds of my high school basketball career, the loss was inevitable. But I told myself and my teammates otherwise.

With the blow of the referee’s whistle, my co-captain, senior and best friend got called for her fifth and final foul. I watched number 24 in white walk off of the court for the last time, leaving me to finish the game.

With the clock winding down, I released the ball for what I knew was my last shot. And I watched the ball fall through the hoop.

My teammates on the bench behind me cheered. We all knew it was the end.

So, here I am, taking one more “last shot,” publishing just another story.

These are the final seconds of my game. And I, again, have the people behind me– Ms. Joanie Oben and the staff, to thank for any points I may have made.

Even though I’m nowhere near the journalist, leader or person I hope to become, I learned so much from the staff this year and everything we experienced together.

Ms. Oben, thank you for all the behind-the-scenes work you do– it’s what keeps us going. And your support and guidance is what keeps me going. You have made my time here worthwhile.

Thomas poses with News Editor Lillian Martin (’18) and Journalism Advisor Nancy Oben after publishing the fourth issue of Knight Writers, her final Robinson newspaper.

The two of us and Lillian experienced a lot of ups and downs, in the (almost too many) hours we spent together. Thank you, Lillian, for your dedication, passion and loyalty. You’ve made me a better journalist in so many ways (even though I will never use the keyboard shortcuts on indesign, sorry).

And to my family and friends, thank you for your understanding and love through it all. And thank you, Daddy, for being the words of wisdom in my ears for all things journalism. The lessons I’ve learned from you will stick with me forever.

And the administrators, teachers and coaches at Robinson– I know we often bombarded you for interviews and information, but you continued to welcome us and our work. Our success is nothing without you. And to anybody who ever took the time to read any of my stories, you make it all worth it.

Thank you to the journalism staff and all the underclassmen we’re leaving behind; you’re about to take this program to new heights. And I’m excited to hear all about it. I love you guys!

And finally, Robinson High School, thank you for giving me room 112. And thank you for giving us so many fun stories to write.

Now it’s my turn to walk off the court.

Always a Knight,

Anna Thomas, 2017-2018 newspaper Editor-In-Chief