As you read this on the morning of May 24, the staff of Graffiti is on the way to the Toronto Star plant where they will be honoured as the Best High School Newspaper in Ontario. This marks three years in a row that they have won this award. Also of note is that the paper now in your hands is a commemorative issue celebrating NTCI’s 100th year. The two events are not unrelated.
Graffiti has always done well at the Toronto Star High School Newspaper Awards, but up until two years ago it won in the best paper category only once. How then can we explain this threepeat. I believe that Graffiti has not gotten better but that the Graffiti staff have accomplished something just as difficult; they maintained the quality of
the paper. At a time when traditional literacy skills are weakening throughout
North America, putting out a paper of undiminished quality is a tremendous
achievement. Graffiti’s earliest editors, writers, photographers, and illustrators put out a fantastic product, and the current editors, writers, photographers, and illustrators also put out a fantastic product. I like to think that should Graffiti staff of the past pick up a recent issue, they will recognize the paper as a worthy successor to their won.
What does this have to do with the 100th? The greatness of NT is in its
legacies. Previous students have set bench marks that current students strive
to meet. Whether it’s Charity Week, Fashion Show, Maytime Melodies, or Field
Hockey, each group of students is keenly aware of the groups that went before
and are determined to accomplish just as much. This legacy can be a burden as
well as a gift, we know that there will be weaker years and better years, but,
overwhelmingly, it’s the push that motivates toward continued success.
There are grade 9 students reading this issue who are thinking about what they would
like to do when they work on Graffiti. Just as there were grade 9 students in the seats at Fashion Show who have already started to plan their themes and outfits. And, whether they know it or not, they are continuing a tradition 100 years old, a tradition of meeting the challenge that the older students presented to them.
Congratulations to this year’s Graffiti staff on a
tremendous achievement, congratulations to past Graffiti staff for showing the way, and congratulations to NT for 100 years of accepting the challenge.