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Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Senior John Monke plans on attending University of Colorado, Boulder.

I first joined The Feather Online during my sophomore year of high school for one sole reason: I really wanted to get better at my writing. Today, I have not only gotten better at writing, but I have learned so much more from The Feather. I did not expect to learn how to interview people, how to work and use a WordPress site and how to work in and utilize SoundCloud.

This was my third and final year of writing for Fresno Christian’s online daily newspaper. When I first joined The Feather, I was nervous because I have never been a great writer. That was the main reason I did not join my freshman year; I felt like I was not ready for a class like that. However, when I joined The Feather, it was not what I was expecting at all.

Feather adviser Greg Stobbe helped me with everything in the beginning. He taught us the basics of writing an article and how we can make them compelling to readers. Stobbe did his job as a teacher and a mentor. He let us do whatever we needed to finish our article and only stepped in to help.  

The Feather was not just a journalism job; it was like a real job. When we are assigned an article, we have a due date and we have to publish it that day. If we delay the process, it would not only affect us individually but also the team as a whole. The Feather is one big team and we all support each other by each doing our part of the job.

The Feather has been a huge part of my high school journey, but the most important part has been the friends I have made since I first arrived at this school. I first came to Fresno Christian in the fifth grade. The friends I made that year are still some of my closest friends.

My friends and I all play sports and that has been the most enjoyable part of high school. I played soccer in my freshman and sophomore years. Soccer was never my favorite sport as I was not the best at it. However, playing soccer helped me grasp how different high school sports are than when in junior high and elementary school.

Tennis has been a sport that I have played since the seventh grade. This sport means everything to me because of how hard I had to work to get to where I am today. Like most people, I was not great at tennis the first time I picked up a racquet. Despite that, I knew I would love this sport forever.

I came into this sport with zero knowledge of what the rules were. The sport came naturally to me and I enjoyed going to practice every day. I wasn’t the strongest guy on the team or the fastest, but I was determined to get better. After the season ended, I started taking private lessons and going to tennis clinics to improve.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

John Monke (left), has played tennis since seventh grade.

The hard work of playing tennis in the fall and winter paid off because in the spring I was seeded No. 2 on the team. Entering freshman year, I thought my success from the eighth grade would carry over. However, high school tennis was a completely different game. Sometimes I was paired against seniors who were four years older than me.

I struggled in my freshman year as I was not able to beat my teammates for the top eight spots. Our team consists of 15 players but only the top eight actually compete while the remaining seven are benched. After that season, I knew I had to work even harder than before and also be able to control my emotions.

Tennis requires great focus and controlling of emotions to be successful. I never gave up on the sport even though it was challenging. I was determined to be the best that I can be. In my junior year, I was number four on my team and I was very proud of myself. In that same year, we competed in the Valley Championships for the first time. However, the result of the match was not in our favor as we lost in a close match.

This year, my teammates and I were determined to make it back to the Valley Championships but win it this time. I played as No. 2 all of my senior year and our team received the No. 1 overall seed in the playoff. We won the West Sierra League title with a record of 15-1. Later we played Caruthers High School for the Valley Championships and won a dramatic 5-4 victory.

Almost half of my life has revolved around tennis and it has been a huge part of my life. Winning the Valley Championships in my final match of high school is one of my greatest achievements.

This school has given me everything and I would not be who I am today without this school. I would like to thank my parents, teachers and mentors for helping me along this high school journey. I will never forget the time I spent here at Fresno Christian.

John Monke will be attending the University of Colorado, Boulder, next fall for the next four years. While currently undecided on a major, he says he will most likely major in business with an emphasis on finance.

John Monke can be reached via email and Twitter.

For another senior reflection, read Senior reflection: Julia Fikse. For a senior reflection from last year, read Senior Reflection – Juliana Lozano.

For more articles, read Track finishes season, breaks multiple school records or High school internships aid student career choices.

Below is a slideshow of fourth grader John Monke

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