Sam Noonan wants nothing more from senior year than to experience everything


Joining yearbook for the first time ever and also managing to be the Editor in Chief is something that is practically unheard of. Well, at least for most. But the same does not apply for senior Sam Noonan.

Taking all that he learned from writing on The Central Trend for three years, he decided to pursue a different type of journalism and move onto yearbook, where his interest in both photography, design, and words all flow into a perfectly blended mix. Because of his past experience in working with writing and website design, he automatically assumed the position as yearbook editor.

“This year, we’re starting off with a staff that isn’t particularly experienced when it comes to journalism, graphic design, or publication of any sort,” Sam said. “Me and one other girl, Jordan Boltres [who was on yearbook last year], were the only people with experience when it came to that, so it was kind of a no-brainer for Fisher to make us the two editors, and we were both willing to have that responsibility.”

In this position, Sam helps the people who may not have as much experience with journalism or putting together a yearbook by organizing and informing them. As a senior, Sam views it as his responsibility to hand off the creation of the yearbook to the most prepared hands possible so that it will continue with all the same rigor and high anticipation that it has in the past.

While many might not entirely understand how Sam made the switch from The Central Trend to yearbook, Sam saw it as the most natural transition he could make. After maintaining a position on the TCT staff since freshman year, Sam decided to take his interests and explore them under a different light. While on yearbook, Sam has been able to investigate these very things.

“I wanted to do something that was more spread out, more abstract, less structured,” Sam said. “So, I decided to give yearbook a try this year. That’s been a super fun change.”

Because this is Sam’s last year before he steps foot into the college life, he has tried to expand his horizons, among of which included making the switch to yearbook. He has also tried to open up more to those around him and make the most of the time he has left in high school.

“I think, senior year as a whole, I’ve come out of my shell a lot more compared to the past three years,” Sam said. “I’ve just decided that [since I have] a year left, want to make the most of it like make new friendships, focus on building up friendships, and try to create something that I can look back on fondly.”

A place where Sam has found these very friendships and has been able to grow out of his social shell is in a club Model UN. Model UN is a club in which people assume country identities and attempt to solve issues that plague the world. Here, Sam has made friendships that will last long after he leaves the school’s walls.

“Everybody has so much fun,” Sam said. “I have all of my friends there. You create some scary close friendships just from being sleep deprived. I have two of my now best friends because of Model UN.”

Although Sam found himself joining because of his pre-existing love for debate, it turned into an entirely new thing for him that opened more doors than he could have imagined. He found himself growing in more ways than simply gaining friends. He was gaining life experience.

“I want [incoming students] to have all the experiences that I’ve had previously because it’s been a life-changing experience for me,” Sam said. “Part of the reason why I’m also trying to get out more this year and get out of my shell is because [Model UN] helped me become so much more confident in public speaking.”

Beginning as one of the two only sophomores in the club, Sam did not originally have this same frame of mind. He was naturally scared to be surrounded by so many experienced people, but these worries were quickly put to rest once he engaged himself into the club. He found that all of what the seniors had told him were true; he made new friends at conferences, made a million memories, and learned more about the world than he ever could have from a simple history or economics class.

Sam went on to find that speaking in front of 70-100 people, as he often does for Model UN, gave him the confidence to be content with messing up. If he ever butchered a speech, he would simply “suck it up because it’s not that big of a deal.”

With all of the new cultural and world experiences he gained, Sam was able to take his passion for debate and making changes in the world and turn it into something entirely different: environmental science. Sam discovered his love for the environment last year when he took AP Environmental Science. There, Sam was able to explore all of the aspects that he loves about the Earth and also decide to pursue it as a major.

“I think that’s a really awesome thing that I would be able to make a change in the world in the big issues that we’re facing,” Sam said. “I want to help make people realize that we need to care about our Earth and that this is important stuff.”

Sam would like to pursue a career of environmental preservation at Grand Valley or Northern Michigan to supply him with ample opportunity to later venture out West for a career.

Regardless of where Sam finds himself, whether in high school or in California, he wants to take all that he’s learned his senior year and apply it to life.

“That’s the attitude I’m trying to take into this year,” Sam said. “I’m just going to go full send — go all in — and whatever happens, I’m just going to try to enjoy [life] and make the most out of it.”