Being a journalist, and arguably a person, requires having many different ways of looking at a situation. Every period 7, my teacher works tirelessly to instill this into us in Nonfiction Writing. I signed up for this class expecting to just learn more about journalism, but this class taught me so much more.
I knew angles were essentials in making an effective story, but in period 7, we learned take it one step forward.
How you ask?
Being a senior may be hard, but riddles are harder. After finishing our assignment for the week, my senior friends, restless for the weekend, decided to do something radical, brave, and important. We decided to attempt to solve some riddles.
We started with a Sudoku problem, which was easy enough to sort into respective boxes if you had a pencil with a good eraser. The next escalated to a visual problem, equipped with eight combinations of dashes each representing integers as a code to crack in order to figure out the last symbol and the integer it represents. But again, trial and error led us to a correct answer.
Still stimulated, we asked for something harder. And boy, did my classmates deliver. From first glance, the riddle seemed simply impossible to solve. Everyone in the class sprung up to the board, baffled but determined.
A plane. An island. Two Tribes. A Flag. We were determined to use every part of the puzzle to help us. It was all hands on deck. Emma was fixated on the wording of the question while I focused on the events, trying desperately to use the plane to answer the question to fruitless ends. Marguerite, Liela, and Izzy stood in the back of the class, trying to visualize the entire problem from a distance (as my messy diagram was not helping). Virtually everyone in the class, no matter their differences, united to work out every piece of Ryan’s amazing riddle.
Through conversation, collaboration, horrible drawings, and lots of screaming, when the bell rang at the end of the class we had figured it out. We left that day feeling a gratification and sense of happiness unmatched in any other class. It was the perfect Friday.
In Nonfiction, I learned that solving problems comes not from “selecting” the right angle, but by trying things out and persevering. With this community of different angles and approaches, any insurmountable problem seems easy to solve and worthwhile.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, it can be easy to fixate on certain things and feel overwhelmed by a to-do list. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s not everything. Focusing on the end goal -— the look on your friends faces as you hand them the perfect gift, the feel of being surrounded by family and friends — that makes it worth it. Because when you look at things even a tad differently, everything starts to make sense. Preparation becomes more purposeful.
You can look at the November page of the calendar and say it is too early for Christmas music, or you can blast Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas and scream it anyway. You can look at an additional class as fewer frees, or you can look at it as filling your time with something that excites you. You can choose how to approach a situation. You can choose to get into the spirit.
So, I will leave you with this riddle, the “baffling” one from the best class of my high school experience:
“You are in a plane. It crashes on a desert island and you are the only survivor. The only way off the island is to identify the color of the flag on the opposite side: black or white. There are two tribes on the island, one always lies and one always tells the truth. You do not know which is which. What is the ONE question you would ask both tribes to find out the color of the flag?”
I wish you the best of luck with the “riddles” in your life, whatever form they may come in. Happy Holiday Season!
Lily Kepner is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.