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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Senior Eva Harshman has found her home in the words and wisdom of Room 139

Eva Harshman
One of Eva’s senior pictures with her horse, Thirsty, that she rides.

Eva Harshman, Editor-In-Chief of The Central Trend, began her writing journey with partially made-up personal narratives. 

An avid storyteller by the ripe age of a first grader, she used the elementary assignments to extensively share her childhood vacations—even if she didn’t exactly see that dolphin she claimed she did. 

As she got older, her interest in storytelling translated into an extensive, 80-page Pokémon fanfiction on her computer and other ambitious but unfinished works. Due to her passion for writing, naturally, she decided to join The Central Trend (TCT) her freshman year, a class she assumed was centered on creative writing. Needless to say, upon entering Room 139, she was shocked to find herself immersed in the unfamiliar world of journalism. 

Having never written in a journalistic style before, Eva was unprepared for the trials that awaited her. 

“[When I joined TCT], I was a little bit of a fish out of water because all of a sudden I wasn’t ‘the best’ writer in the class,” Eva said. “I was a fine writer, but I wasn’t the top of the class or the freshman who stood out. I wanted to prove myself in a way and show that I could improve my writing and communication through the class.”

Upon reading the 40 critiques on one of her first 400-word columns from her freshman year “Big Fish” mentor, alumnus Linus Kaechele, Eva cried. Even so, his own work became one of Eva’s sources of inspiration, and his harsh commentary, although upsetting at the moment, ultimately led to her becoming a stronger journalist. 

Eva and fellow TCT member, Kiera Kemppainen

Similarly, Ken George—teacher of TCT and its prerequisite class, Writing for Publication—held Eva to a high standard, one he knew she could meet. 

“Mr. George is 100% [one of my biggest supporters],” Eva said. “No other teacher has stuck with me for four years or had me [in class] for two hours a day and actually wanted me to improve. Sometimes, I would get really upset when he would comment on my stories and have something [negative] to say. I would be [angry] because it was something I poured my heart and soul into, and he didn’t like it, but it was just out of an improvement standard.”

Even though Eva entered the class with a blank slate, she quickly grew to become one of the class’ strongest writers—particularly, when it came to editorials. 

Editorials, informational yet opinionated stories, became her specialty, partially due to her natural interest in politics. Thus, many of her most powerful stories center on current issues and events she feels passionately about.

Considering that many of TCT’s editorials tend to air on the lighter side of the topic spectrum, Eva wants her politically centered pieces to serve as a guide for future staff writers.

Eva and Co-Editor-In-Chief, Addy Cousins.

“I want [my stories] to be the type that people look back on and [think], ‘Yep, this is a great example of what I can use to grow as a writer,’” Eva said. “I also want to be thought of as a bit more of a controversial writer, a little bit different. I would say [my] take on TCT is a little bit different than what some other people take, so I kind of want people to look at that and see my perspective on writing too, and not just have to follow what a lot of other people in the class do.” 

In her sophomore year, one of her editorials—one she hadn’t initially distinguished as particularly stand-out—ended up being used by George for a class lesson. Having not expected the action, the validation brought Eva a sense of confidence. 

The article, “The restroom situation in many schools discludes transgender students,” (linked left) ties into Eva’s signature strength of focusing on social issues, and exemplifies her compelling argumentative writing. 

“There have been a couple of editorials I have written [and thought], ‘Wow, I just ate with that,’” Eva said. “[My favorite stories to write are], every day, editorials. I love, love, love sharing my opinion on things. [My] editorials are [about] things I feel vehemently passionate about. I want people to know what I think, why I think it, and almost argue my point to them. These are things that are actually happening in our world. I want to educate people on [these issues] because I feel like there are so many people, especially our age, who don’t know what’s going on, so they don’t [want to] get involved. But, [these issues] severely impact people’s lives. I love writing editorials to get those types of stories out there into the world, and I think it’s really important, especially in high school.”

Consequently, Eva’s passion for political writing helped to discover her focus of studies for college: international relations. She credits TCT for helping her to find what she enjoys writing and, by extension, what she likes in general. 

Next year, she will attend the University of Michigan and begin her track to working in intelligence, which heavily involves writing reports and investigations. 

However, throughout her four years of high school, Eva has found more than just what she enjoys writing about through TCT

“I love the [TCT] community,” Eva said. “I love that I’m just friends with everyone. There’s nobody I feel uncomfortable talking to and it feels like such a judgment-free zone. I can say anything, and nobody’s going to look at me like I just said something stupid. [TCT] is something I feel at home in because I’ve been in it for so long. At this point, I feel like I’ve kind of found my safe spot in the class, and I know what I like to write. I know that I can take pride in my work at this point; I don’t feel insecure about it. I just love the community in the room.”

Even so, TCT wasn’t always the collaborative and united group it is now for Eva. Some friendships, more than others, grew throughout her four years in Room 139.

Eva and fellow TCT Editor-In-Chief, Sofia.

Specifically, Eva and Editor-In-Chief Sofia Hargis-Acevedo used to dislike each other. However, midway through their junior year they realized how trivial their distaste for each other was, and are now close friends.

“[Sofia and I] both [became] editors and [thought], ‘Why did we even say [those things] about each other?’” Eva said. “Now, we’re best friends. It’s a lot of fun to see how relationships have changed. [TCT] taught me to be a lot more open to people and look at different perspectives. It’s a class I’ve had such a love-hate relationship with, but it’s love at the end of the day. [TCT] is like a family, how you fight with your family all the time, but you would never actually leave them. They’re something you value more than anything else.”

Particularly, one of the class’s annual traditions, Trendsgiving, helped to solidify Eva’s perception of TCT as a family. Aside from the uniquely funny memories they created—some involving inexperienced attempts to cook holiday dishes, the parties led her to spend time with members of the class who she otherwise wouldn’t have.

[TCT] is a class I’ve had such a love-hate relationship with, but it’s love at the end of the day. It’s like a family, how you fight with your family all the time, but you would never actually leave them. They’re something you value more than anything else.

— Eva Harshman

Because of the importance Eva places on the relationships created in TCT, she has wanted to be an Editor-In-Chief who is thought of as friendly and approachable. As an underclassman, she was sometimes scared to talk to the Editors-In-Chief herself. So, being in the leadership position as a senior, she didn’t want other staff members to feel the same way.  

Thus, earning the position was a large milestone for Eva, even if part of her felt unprepared for the shift. Distinctly, she remembers how odd it felt the first time the previous seniors were gone, for standing in charge at the front of the room was a disorienting shift. 

“Becoming Editor-in-Chief was a really big moment for me,” Eva said. “Since I was a freshman, I wanted [the position] and I knew I wanted it. Junior year was hard for me because I didn’t get it when I applied. Part of me wanted to sit down and cry and be done with this class, [but] the other part of me [thought], ‘I wasn’t good enough last year, so I need to prove myself this year,’ [which] was true. Mr. George chose who was best for the position at the time, so [working toward becoming Editor-in-Chief] was definitely a huge motivator [for me].”

While TCT has undeniably been an integral aspect of her high school career for numerous reasons, part of what has made it special has been the ways in which it has allowed Eva to grow. Providing a space where she can continuously better her writing craft gave Eva a sense of responsibility and commitment, one that is difficult to find in any other class. 

Even though, on occasion, she has wanted to quit TCT and punch all of its members, it has ultimately taught her the valuable lessons she will use to shape her future. Whether by learning how to properly display emotions in columns or mastering the craft of interviewing for tumultuous profiles, it has forced Eva out of her shell. 

More than anything else, however, TCT has given Eva a place where she knows she belongs. 

“[TCT] gave me a spot in this school,” Eva said. “I’m kind of like a ‘floater friend’ [and] cross over into a lot of things, [but] TCT is my zone. Those are my people. It has given me a spot in this school to call home.”

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About the Contributor
Elle Manning
Elle Manning, Staff Writer
Elle is a sophomore beginning her first year on The Central Trend. She loves to read novels, create extravagant Pinterest boards, and journal in her seemingly scarce free time. Her biggest passions include writing and fashion, and she hopes to one day be able to combine the two into a future career. She has been a cheerleader since fourth grade and continues to spend her time on the sidelines every football season. In the spring, she enjoys playing tennis, even though she is still learning. She is often found with Spotify open; she loves to listen to music from a variety of different genres and decades. Most recent musical fixation: Weyes Blood Dream school: Columbia University Favorite book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Favorite comfort films: All of The Twilight Saga (primarily the first two movies)

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