Annette Chu: Editor-In-Chief’s Farewell


Just like a puzzle, there are many pieces to me that I am still discovering. I came to Miami High as a second choice, but it was the best choice I’ve ever made. It was truly fate that guided me to where I am today.

By Annette Chu, Editor-in-Chief

During middle school, I never imagined myself attending Miami High. When applying to high schools, MAST Academy was at the top of my list.

When completing my high school applications, my neighbor—who was currently attending Miami High at the time—told me about this school leading me to apply. I believe it was fate that I was waitlisted for MAST because if not, I wouldn’t have come to Miami High.

I told myself I would not join any clubs because I wanted to limit my interactions with people. However, for the most part, everyone here treated me as an equal. I never expected a shy girl like myself to be active in the abundant clubs Miami High has to offer. However, once again, fate works in many different ways and I landed myself in Journalism my freshman year.


Before Becoming a Sting

Coming from a small middle school and high school with only about 300 students, I entered Miami High scared. Entering a predominantly Latinx school, I feared the discrimination and bullying that I thought was going to come my way being an Asian American.

Before coming to Miami High, I had experienced bullying from my peers from pre-k to 8th grade, most of my school career. The reasoning behind it, my race. I was one of the few, if not only, Asian American in my class. I would be ostracized from my classmates.

I clearly remembering the girls in my pre-k refusing to play with me, sit with me, or share with me. They constantly made fun of my appearance, pulling their eyes to mock my “slanted eyes.” In 2nd grade, the 3rd graders in the class would come up to me and pick on me constantly, doing the same “slanted eyes” mock towards me. They would pretend to speak Chinese to mock me further.

The same girl from 3rd to 5th grade would bring up my race constantly to shove in my face that I was different from everyone else and try to embarrass me with that tactic when I said no to her. In middle school, the boys in my class would constantly make ignorant, racist, stereotypical remarks towards me. Many times, my class would talk down on me if I did worse than them on an assignment because “I was Asian.”

In 8th grade, the 9th grade boys would yell out racist remarks towards me in the cafeteria and hallway and mock my appearance. When I would bring Asian food to school, they laughed at me and pinched their noses as if my food smelled. In the hallways they would yell sexual remarks and noises at me making me very uncomfortable.

The sad part of all of this is that no one helped me. Many students witnessed it, but no one said anything. I even brought it up to the administration multiple times, but they just dismissed my case and told me I was exaggerating. If they did confront the bullies, they would side with the lies.


Baby Stings

I didn’t know what to expect from this school. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. Day 1 I was all by myself in my own little shell. I was extremely shy and reserved, refusing to speak in class or to people. I was so shy that I was scared to ask to go to the bathroom. I eventually found myself in a group of friends, but was still reluctant when around them, which was a result of the bullying I had experienced my whole life. However, I became extremely close to one girl, Nicoletta, and I’m still really close friends with her to this day.

I don’t remember much from freshman year except the stress Biology Honors gave me and Nicoletta and I hanging out every day after school.

Imagine taking eight classes of P.E. for three years, and then suddenly having Dr. Yoham next year; it was a lot to adapt to. I remember studying until 4 AM, not remembering anything, and getting a B or C on every test. Thank you, Dr. Yoham, for those tutoring points because I would have definitely not passed that class if it weren’t for that.


Journalism: Freshman Edition

I walked into my homeroom and received my schedule. Looking through the different periods, I saw Journalism 1 listed as my period 3 course. I dreaded this class as I previously had taken Journalism in 8th grade and believed that Journalism at MHS was going to be the same as at my middle school. I thought I was going to be forced to write stories in a group and do a bunch of writing practices. I walked into the class upset about this placement; however, that expectation would soon be shattered.

I had the freedom to write what I wanted the way I wanted to. Rather than discourage our topics, Dr.DeNight, my Journalism teacher, encouraged us to choose topics that we found worth writing. I wrote my very first article on Asian racism and received over 300 readers online. I felt good about not only the attention I received, but the number of students who were brought aware of the racism towards Asian that ran rampant in our community.

As the year progressed, I continued writing about topics that interested me. I continued to view Journalism as a normal class I had to complete that year. However, when I wrote my final article on body image, I finally gained an interest in the course. I remember having a flash of excitement when I finished that article because of a reason that I was unsure of at that time.

Even with this new interest, I found myself still wondering whether I should choose Journalism II. I don’t know what was holding me back, but I still decided to take the course to explore the different opportunities that awaited me.


Sophomore Year

This was the year I received the opportunity to become the Editor-in-Chief of the Miami High Times along with Carolina Soto. Carolina and I worked extremely well together as we had similar ideas and our communication between leaders was strong. I never expected little, shy Annette to run for such a major position in her sophomore year. I found myself getting even more interested in the course as I began working on layout, the website, etc. I found these aspects of Journalism exciting, and that excitement carried into my writing.

I began to challenge myself to write about more serious topics such as social anxiety, strict parenting, the disparity in treatment between honors and regular students, etc. I started to realize that topics such as these were important to bring to light as many students at Miami High experienced them, so I started to dive deeper into more controversial and serious topics.

My classmates had a huge influence in my development in Journalism this year. The class was extremely small and consisted of mainly seniors who I became extremely close with that year. We tried to help each other out in that class as much as possible. Being the youngest in the group, the seniors gave me a lot of advice. I remember at the end of the year we tried to throw Dr. DeNight a thank you party for everything he has done for us and for the seniors to say their goodbye; however, that failed as the pizza place cancelled on us. Even though it was a failure, it was a very funny memory that I am still fond of to this day, and it is a memory I will carry with me as I remember all the help the seniors gave me.

This was my favorite year in Journalism, and I look back to this year a lot. I realized that sophomore year with my growing confidence in writing and with the encouragement of my classmates pushed me to love Journalism. Without being placed in the same class with these individuals, I wouldn’t be as passionate because every time I think of Journalism, I think of the family and friends that I gained through it.


An Upperclassmen

Because of the conflict in scheduling between AP Chemistry and Journalism III, I had to take Journalism almost alone during 3rd period instead of 4th. Luckily, Carolina had the same situation, and we were placed together. That year, we were inseparable in this class. Every time she went to do interviews, I followed even though I didn’t need any. Every time one of us had to go to the bathroom, we followed each other. I deeply miss working with my partner in crime as I am the sole Editor-in-Chief my senior year.

Following my growth last year, I continued to write about more controversial topics. Out of all the stories from last year, the one that stands out to me and is my favorite to this day is my “Coronavirus, Not The ‘Chinese Virus” article. I’ve never been more passionate about a topic, as this article was about a problem my community was, and still is, experiencing.

A Miami Herald reporter, who worked closely with the Miami High Times this year, promoted my story on his social media as it was relevant to what was occurring in our country at that time. A reporter from a different news site also reached out to me as she wanted to collaborate on a story with me; however, because of conflicting schedules, the idea never went through.


Seniors Seniors Seniors!

I am upset that I didn’t receive the full “senior experience;” instead, I received more sleep. The one thing I learned my senior year as an MSO student is that anytime is nap time. All jokes aside, I really wished I was able to make memories with friends this year. I’m sad I couldn’t participate in Homecoming, Grad Bash, Prom, Senior Picnic, etc. Thankfully, we will at least receive our traditional graduation this year.

I also tried staying active in my clubs as a virtual senior. This year, along with holding the position of Editor-in-Chief, I became the president of Mu Alpha Theta and Vice President of Interact. Again, the growth I made from my freshman year is huge. Freshman me would have never imagined being a leader for multiple clubs.

I am still shy, but I have grown out of my shell. I can ask to go to the bathroom without fear, and I can comfortably talk with my friends. I can speak out in class, and I am no longer scared as I now use my voice when needed. I believe that Miami High made that impact on me. Rather than encountering new bullies, I found very supportive, open-minded classmates.

This new growth influenced me to want to dive deeper into my culture and explore the opportunities coming my way, and I believe I have the confidence to keep moving forward out of my shell. I am no longer afraid of the judgment people may send me, as I now realize that their words do not matter, and my decisions and reactions truly define myself and my life.


Journalism: Senior Edition 

Just like my senior year, my last year of Journalism was not how I expected. Because of COVID, the Miami High Times production was exclusively online. Despite this sudden change, I took advantage of the non-existent word limit. I decided to tackle more controversial topics that required more writing. I wrote up to 10 pages for almost every article, diving into almost every detail I could touch upon. I did a lot of research this year, which also educated myself on things I didn’t know.

This is the year in Journalism I really decided to use my voice without the fear of backlash. My article on Affirmative Action and White Privilege was kind of scary to write, but I realized that fear is what prevents people from speaking out. So, I ended up writing it.

I learned this year, more than any year, my voice matters. Writing articles on controversial topics brings awareness to the communities. I now understand the reason behind the flash of excitement I had in my freshmen year after I had finished my body image article that I was unsure about at the time.

I was excited that the quiet, reserved Annette was finally speaking out and making a difference. I was excited over the opportunity this platform gave me to elevate the voices and experiences of others who are silenced by the community. I now want to join my university’s newspaper club and continue writing because my activism doesn’t stop in high school.

I am glad that freshman me decided to continue to take Journalism, and I hope that anyone who has a slight interest in Journalism, storytelling, or writing decides to take or continue this course.

The previous editors-in-chief created the base and gave me the tools to help grow this organization, and now, I am handing these tools to the next editor-in-chief to continue expanding upon that base that their predecessors left.


Advice for Underclassmen

   My biggest advice is to enjoy your high school life. My biggest regret is focusing too much on school and neglecting the things I wanted to do, like be more active in clubs and take more dance lessons. School and education are important; however, your happiness and health are not worth sacrificing for a number. You cannot redo your high school career, so sometimes take a break, go hang out with friends, play the game you always wanted to play. Make the memories you won’t be able to make in the future.

Don’t get too obsessed with your education to the point you start treating others as inferior. I’ve witnessed many classmates and underclassmen do this to others. Just because you are in 5 AP classes, 10 clubs, got a 1600 on your SAT, etc., that doesn’t mean you have the right to put yourself on a pedestal. Everyone has their own life and makes decisions for themselves. Don’t judge others for the decisions they make, focus on yourself.

Also, at the other end of the spectrum, don’t feel inferior to others. You should be doing things at your own pace because you are the only one that will be affected by the decisions you make. If you’re not interested in AP Calculus, don’t take it just because the “smart” people are. Do what you want to do.


Miami High, Thank You and Farewell

Just like a puzzle, there are many pieces to me that I am still discovering. I came to Miami High as a second choice, but it was the best choice I’ve ever made. It was truly fate that guided me to where I am today. I’ve grown a lot since entering Miami High, and I am conscious of the fact I still have a lot of growing to do, but Miami High created the pieces that I need to build my puzzle.

I am forever thankful for the school, educators, and my friends. I want to thank my friends for always looking out for me and spending time with me. The memories we’ve created will always be with me. I’ve created friends that I believe will follow me throughout high school. To former upperclassmen, thank you for helping me throughout high school; your advice helped me a lot.

I want to recognize some teachers and administrators that made an impact on me. I want to thank Ms. Zamora for helping me with my writing in AP English Language and Composition. I entered her class with the worst grammar and writing, but with her magic and guidance, I left the class with a huge improvement in my writing. Also, thank you for teaching me how to play dominos even though I am not very good at it.

I want to thank Ms. Puentes for helping me out during the college application process.

I want to thank Mr. Jimenez for being my Interact advisor and treating students with respect. You created a very comforting environment where we can talk to you without fear that our teacher is judging us.

I want to thank Ms. Munguia for allowing me to be president of MAO and allowing me to be part of an amazing club.

I want to thank Dr. Hueck for teaching me and helping my knowledge grow, and no I did not end up joining BETA.

Finally, I want to thank Dr. DeNight for being my teacher for 4 years for 3 different courses. Your courses helped me a lot, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve done as an educator and thank you for being my Journalism advisor and supporting me on the articles I wrote.

My Favorite Articles Written During my 4 Years of Journalism:

  1. Coronavirus, Not The “Chinese Virus”

  2. White Privilege and Affirmative Action: The Impact on College Admissions

  3. “Where Am I?”: Misrepresentation in the Media

  4. What They Don’t Tell You: Honors vs Regular

  5. Their Final Year, Paper, and Goodbye