Dear Ms. Neumeyer,
This year’s senior staffers are only the latest in a long line that have benefited from your tutelage. We are also the last. Twenty-four years, 192 issues and countless students later, you will retire from the school and the Chronicle.
When we first walked into Weiler Hall three years ago, we had no idea what we were in for. We entered these hallowed, ill-smelling rooms as innocent sophomores, and we leave now hardened journalists. All that knowledge and experience is thanks to you.
It was you who taught us how to craft a lead so tight it could float. Under your guidance, we learned to question, quote, transcribe and pica. We won awards, traveled across the country and won more awards (though it’s really not about the awards). We learned how to cover important and sensitive issues. We learned how to report the truth and stay strong in the face of adversity and pushback. We learned how to quickly react when unforeseen problems arose.
And we didn’t just learn about journalism. By participating in Chronicle, we learned important skills, such as time management, organization and leadership. Setting up and conducting interviews, editing pages, assigning stories and designing pages required us all to work together and think on our feet.
Layout encouraged both stress and fun. Those weekends were the best and worst times of our high school experience, and we wouldn’t be the same without them.
As a teacher, you made sure we learned the basics of journalism and reporting. You provided advice while stepping back and allowing us to create our own distinct newspaper.
In addition to Ms. Neumeyer the teacher, we had the privilege of learning from Ms. Neumeyer the person. You regaled us with tales from your days as a reporter: covering the return of Vietnam POWs, attending Charles Manson’s trials, staking out Liberace’s house. When one of us fell ill on a class trip, you looked after her. And of course there was always that fabulous personality. When we told you we were writing this, your response was: “Be sure to compare me to Michael Phelps and God!” Every time we made the trek downstairs, we knew we would learn something new. Never did we attend a class without gaining either a piece of your journalism knowledge or a hilarious story.
As we leave Harvard-Westlake, we can only hope to earn a place in your memory among all of the distinguished alumni who have worked with you on the Chronicle. From the list of your former students’ professions and achievements, it is clear that your teaching leads people to find success in the world, and we hope to make you proud.
Ms. Neumeyer, the Chronicle wouldn’t be where it is today without you, and neither would we.
Thanks for an incredible three years.
The Chronicle Seniors of 2015