Class of 2023: Juliana Coates


I have tried to start this farewell piece several times, and although I have liked my different introductions, I’ve scrapped them all because everything I want to say can be summed up in one question:

Juliana, what am I going to do without you? 

Juliana joined the staff the fall of her sophomore year, and after a semester — well honestly, probably after only a week or two — I knew I wanted her to be my editor for as long as she was willing. 

A lot of you know this, but it’s worth a reminder even if you do: Juliana Coates is an incredible writer — not just for a high school student but for a human being. I had heard rumblings of this from her Introduction to Journalism teacher, Dr. Hollis, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for what she could do.

Juliana quickly established herself as capable. Her articles were always on time and almost always error-free (even using the word “error” is a bit of misnomer since most things were just Associated Press style things that nobody learns without practice). 

Juliana was willing, and she was more than able. 

And you better believe I’ll miss reading her work, because her work takes no energy for me to read. It’s just … right.

But as much as I’ll miss the quality of her writing, I’ll miss her leadership more. 

Juliana’s leadership is why we now publish two newspapers per year as well as keep our website updated; why we have increased our audience engagement; why The Prowl is more visible than ever; and why our staff has grown in number. 

As adviser, I have never felt like I was working above Juliana; I have always known I was working beside her. 

She edits articles, runs our website and sends out e-mails to our mailing list. Never once has she ever taken her responsibilities lightly, and never once has she done anything without genuine professionalism.

I’ll miss our disagreements about the Oxford comma; your eye roll as I share my newest hypochondria-induced medical emergency; and your pensive look that makes me wonder whether you’re about to agree with an idea I’ve had or tell me I’m an idiot.

I’ll miss the student, the journalist and the person you are.

And to be quite honest, I’ll miss the work you do so I don’t have to. 

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to teach you and to know you. You’ve made me a better adviser and teacher. 

When I think about what I’ll lose when you’re no longer on my roster or sitting in the editor chair, I realize the unfortunate answer to the question I posed earlier: I just don’t know what I’m going to do without you, Juliana.