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Hardy senior spotlight

TUES. |5-21-24| FEATURES

     Sometimes, individuals are only one decision away from making an impact on the rest of their lives. Senior Malaysha Hardy practically fell into this life-altering decision by signing up for what she thought was a scrapbooking class. Little did she know that she was forever going to be a part of the Rampant Lines community. 

     Hardy is now a features co-editor and in her fifth semester of journalism. Looking back to the beginning, she recalls being a fearful sophomore without direction, profound writing skills or a familiar face. 

     “My sophomore year, I didn’t know anybody, and I was one of three other people of color,” Hardy said. “Both of them were upperclassmen and they had already known people, so it made me feel like an outcast.”

However, day-by-day, Hardy persevered as she dove into the writing process. She started talking to one of the only black editors at the time, A’nyia Clemons, who helped Hardy understand her worth in the class and is still her best friend to this day. By the end of the semester, she had grown tremendously as a writer and as a member of Rampant Lines, so much so that she signed up for the class in the spring. 


Contributed Photo

     “My favorite memory was during Christmas time, we built gingerbread houses; everyone was laughing and making fun of each other's gingerbread houses,” Hardy said. “That was the moment I realized that this is where I belong and this is my family.”

     Not only did she find herself immersed in a new community, but Hardy also completely shifted her mindset on academics after joining journalism. She finally found something that inspired her and ignited a drive that is still with her today. 

      “I was taking mostly standard courses, but after I started taking journalism, everything switched,” Hardy said. “I didn’t really care about my grades that much freshman year, but my sophomore year, because I was surrounded by so many people who did care, that is when it clicked for me: ‘I need to tighten up, I want to have a good future’.” 

     English teacher Ashley Hutchinson noticed Hardy’s leaps in progress throughout her sophomore year and encouraged her to take Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Composition and AP Seminar, a class that she also taught. 

     “At first, I was taken aback, and I was thinking,  ‘this is a huge compliment, [Hutch] is telling me that this is something that I can do’,” Hardy said. “When she told me to take AP Seminar, it made me feel more confident in the way that I wrote, and I started to become a better writer because of that confidence that she instilled into me.”

     Hardy never shied away from her work, excelling through her junior year. Outside of journalism, she took multiple AP courses, including AP Seminar, and expanded her extracurriculars through mock trial, in which she realized that she wanted to be a lawyer one day. 

     While she continued to grow in her writing abilities in journalism, she also decided to take on another responsibility as part of the sports broadcasting team. Through this role, Hardy interviewed many different athletes, developing her confidence and deeper communication skills. 

     “My favorite aspect of journalism is the interviews because it has helped me become more of a conversational person,” Hardy said. “Especially when talking to someone new, I have a hard time thinking of things to say, or I may stumble over my words, but journalism has taught me how to ask questions and get stuff out of people that I wouldn’t have tried to before.”

     Continuing to work her way up, Hardy was promoted to editor of the Rampant Lines features section her senior year. 

      “I have always been very determined, especially if I have a goal in mind, but with journalism it has taught me how to maneuver through the obstacles,” Hardy said. “I thought I would never understand how to write in the journalistic style, but because I took what the editors were giving me, it helped me get to that goal to where I am today as an editor.”

      Hardy appreciates this chance she was given to be a leader in a class where she once felt isolated and disliked writing. 

      “I am a quiet person until someone is making me step up; because Hutch has given me this opportunity to become a features editor, she has given me that push I needed,” Hardy said. “It instilled confidence in being a leader, and I will definitely need that in the future as a lawyer, they have to stand up and lead the courtroom, lead their case.”

      Although Hardy is now one of the most experienced members of Rampant Lines, she will never forget the feeling of anxiety on her first day in the class. She was able to bond over this experience of lack of diversity with one of her recent interview subjects, Kallie Latham, as she was one of few people of color in her dance studio. 

      “I understand that there is a lack of diversity everywhere, especially in high school, and going through that myself, it was good to hear that we experienced the same things,” Hardy said. “To be able to write it and put it out in print was very nice because she went through the same lack of diversity in certain areas and the same stereotypes I feel like I've gone through, so it was refreshing in a way.”

      Hardy translated how she once felt into how she leads her section. Always reaching out to each staff writer, making sure their voices are heard and valued, she hopes to be a friend to lean on for those who might need one like she once did. 

      “[Hutch] was telling me how much of an impact I made on black students at Rose and how another black student decided to take journalism because she saw that I took it,” Hardy said. “That was my favorite moment because I didn’t know that I had that much of an impact.”

     Hardy plans to further her education by majoring in literature at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and then going to law school after graduating. With that being said, she feels bittersweet looking back on her time spent in journalism. 

     “I have worked my way up [here], so I know I will have to work my way up again somewhere else, but it is nice that I have actually built something [at Rose],” Hardy said. “I feel like I have found my place in journalism, so now I have to find a new place, that comfort is gone.”

      Although Hardy attributes her successful high school experience to journalism, Rampant Lines would not have been the same the past three years without her constant dedication, compassion and inclusivity.

      “[Journalism] mainly just changed the way I thought about things, it made me hungry to have a good future,” Hardy said. “If you are looking for a community and looking to practice writing, I definitely think journalism is the place for you because it gave me that outlet that I didn’t know that I had and the voice I didn’t know that I had.”

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