One Last Word Before She Heads Up North: Wildcat-to-be Zur Explains What You Are Missing Out On


Skyler Zur, Co-Editor-in-Chief

I know, despite my best efforts, that you aren’t going to join The Pharcyde. It’s easier to be enticed by an elective that sounds more exciting than “Expository Writing.” So for those of you who are filling a requirement rather than embracing an experience, here is what I think you’re going to be missing when it comes time for you to say goodbye to Benjamin.

I remember walking into room 149 as a freshman. It was full of seniors who were laughing, talking, and hugging each other. I didn’t know a single person. I sat quietly in the corner as our first story conference started, everyone yelling out ideas about articles they wanted to write. I was confused and overwhelmed, but I looked over at Mr. Didsbury, and he just gave me a nod. #1: you will miss out on wordless welcomes.

At the beginning of every year, our class would make a list of our birthdays. If we had class in the morning on someone’s birthday, Mr. Didsbury would bring in Jupiter Donuts, and if it was in the afternoon, he would bring an ice cream cake. We would sing happy birthday and eat as we wrote our articles. My birthday is always around the first week of school, and as a freshman in the class, I was the first person celebrating a birthday. Even though I had only known the other people in the class for about a week, they all were so happy to celebrate with me, and I was so happy to be part of a class where grade level truly doesn’t have an effect on the friends you make. #2: you will miss out on family bonding.

That first year, we had a Secret Santa exchange despite the fact that more than half of our class was Jewish. Some of the seniors brought out these huge gingerbread houses and blue, yellow, and white frosting; we were making Hanukkah Huts. By the end of the class, everyone was covered in frosting and candy; it was one of the highlights of my year. I formed connections with people I never would have gotten to know without the class, and created memories I still remember today. #3: you will miss out on the true spirit of the holidays.

When I explain the concept of a layout day to anyone outside the class, they often turn up their noses in disgust at the thought of spending a perfectly good Saturday at school. When I tell them that we also spend Monday and Tuesday before a printer’s deadline at school, sometimes until 12 a.m., they ask me why anyone would ever want to be a part of that. #4: you will miss the productivity that results from unrelenting chaos.

During one such sophomore Saturday, we were behind, and everyone was scrambling. Six hours in, everyone decided to take a break, and suddenly, Jack and Robert, our two editors, were having chair races and playing bumper chairs. Then, Robert pulled out his drone and started flying it around everyone’s heads. Despite all the stress everyone was under to get the paper done, for five minutes, everyone was just having fun together. When Mr. Didsbury came out and saw this, he just smiled and went back to his office. #5: you will miss out on your peers’ taking flight.


I often chose to write the controversial opinion pieces. The first time I was told my piece wouldn’t be published, I became angry. I had done so much research and talked to so many people to gather information, all for nothing. I had written a factual, interesting, and necessary article that could have inspired change, and yet, I couldn’t publish it. But when a door closes, there is usually a way to push it back open. I spoke with Mr. Carr and other members of the administration to make the article a publishable piece. After weeks of revision and reshaping, my article led the opinion section of the paper. #6: you will miss out on working with people to meet their expectations while still exceeding your own.

This year, our class decided to make Pharcyde sweatshirts. We all submitted our designs and picked our favorite, and although there are not that many people in the class, seeing one of my peers wearing it always made me smile. #7: you will miss out on wearing the uniform you helped design.

The list can go on and on. But in the end, it’s not about the stuff others will miss, it’s about the moments you didn’t.

So, thank you. 

Thank you, Mr. Dids. You made me into an incredible writer and taught me how to search for answers that weren’t always easy to find. Your encouragement and support always made me want to be better, and I wouldn’t be the writer and person I am today without you. You always helped me write the crazy, controversial pieces I wanted to publish, and while I know you wore “a plethora of hats,” thank you for always wearing your newspaper advisor one to help me get my piece published.

Doc, thank you for everything you have done this year. You redefined the role of an advisor, and I can’t wait to see how the paper continues to improve in the future. Thank you for humoring me on layout days, letting me call you at all hours when I needed help on my work, pushing me to write the articles I felt were important, encouraging me to lead the class, and making me smile with original nicknames that are Zure to make me laugh.

Thank you to my Co-Editor, Molly. It is safe to say that you are the creative one. I don’t think I would have been able to write an article in ten minutes with anyone else. You always come up with the perfect headline, article topic, or layout design, and I’m so proud of us. This year has been quite a rollercoaster, but I am so glad I had you by my side for it. You are going to be amazing at Dartmouth even though it is in New Hampshire – I can’t wait to see all you accomplish.

Sophia, my Executive Managing Editor, thank you for always making me smile. Your class distractions might not be appreciated by Doc, but it definitely made class far more fun. Lola will forever be our Pharcyde Support Dog, and I am going to miss you so much next year. 

To the rest of the Pharcydians, thank you for always supporting me, for going to school on weekends with me, for writing extra articles, for laughing and panicking with me on deadline day, for making emergency Publix stops for Chipwiches, and for always being there. If you ever need anything next year, you all have my number.

All of those little moments may not seem important to you, but they have changed my life. So in the end, I guess I leave you with one question: When’s the last time you allowed a class to change your life? I hear there are still some seats available in Expository Writing for the fall.