Kam’s Senior Column: Not Just Journalism


Kam Kelly

Kam Kelly will be attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign next school year.

Kam Kelly

In the fall of 2018, I walked into room 429 for the first time. I’d never done anything more journalistic than read a newspaper, but I felt confident enough in my writing ability to give the school newspaper a try. Turns out, writing skills were the least important part of being a Stargazer member. 

What I remember most from my first year as a staff writer is not the articles I wrote, but the connections I made. From the start, I felt welcomed by the eclectic group of writers and editors. I met my best friend. I gained confidence and a sense of belonging that I never lost. I learned what it felt like to be part of a community. I met people at North I would have normally never talked to, broadening my horizons. 

My sophomore year I came back as an editor, wishing to give staff writers the same experience I had when I joined. With the help of my fellow editors and wonderful advisers, my leadership skills grew as I managed the news section. Long nights in the windowless newsroom tediously laying out pages on the most stubborn software known to man became highlights of my year as I deepened the relationships I made in the previous year. I’ll never forget the pride I felt handing out my first issue of the year and seeing “Kam Kelly– News Editor.” 

Junior year was the pandemic year for the Stargazer, but the amazing group of people I had the privilege of working with didn’t skip a beat. We switched from only print issues once a month to posting stories weekly on a website we built. Through uncertain times, the Stargazer and its staff were a constant in my life. 

This year, my senior year, is the most bittersweet. It’s the first school year that I’m living authentically as a transgender man. I’ve loved my classes, especially the ones that united me with new and old friends (thanks, Economics Honors). I got my first job, I went to prom and I will joyfully graduate next week. I’m happy with how I’m leaving North, but I can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness when I think about how this is the last column I’m writing for the Stargazer. This club has been such an integral part of my time in high school, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences or personal connections for the world.