Student finds connection on ‘Observer’

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Spaeth discovered that her mother once served as Editor-in-Chief.

By Erica Spaeth, Photo Editor

This past year, I discovered that I have a very personal connection to the Observer. Specifically, I learned that my late mother, then known as Lisa Sandler, was an editor-in-chief of our school newspaper in 1980. It was an emotional discovery for me. My mom and I were very close.  She passed away when I was 11, and since then I have been searching for a way to carry on her achievements while still remaining my own person.

We were two very different people, and I struggled with this fact. I loved my mother dearly and wanted a greater connection to her. Finding records of her involvement in the Observer gave me an entirely new outlook. Journalism was no longer just a high school class.

After I learned of my mom’s involvement with the Observer, my own decision to join the newspaper became much more meaningful. I now have a connection to her that I did not realize I had. I am a proud legacy, representing my mom at the school we both attended.

Now that I know my mom was an active staff member on the Observer when she was enrolled, I have decided to become a more active member myself.

Connecting to parents is very important to kids who are close with theirs. I am not the only Observer legacy at Churchill. Freshman Ross Tanenbaum is a Journalism 1 student this year. Ross says that his dad had an influence on his decision to take Journalism.

“My parents told me it was a really good class, and my dad liked it,” Ross said. “I wanted to take a fun class.”

Not only did he influence Ross to take Journalism, but Larry Tanenbaum also reviews his son’s work.

“My dad always asks to see my Journalism work before I turn it in,” Ross said. “His opinion is important to me.”

Larry Tanenbaum wrote for the Observer from 1967 to 1969, and was an assistant sports editor who had his own column called “The Bulldog House.”

“It was a blast,” Larry said.

Larry is also thrilled that his son followed in his footsteps.

Although he did not pursue Journalism as a career, Larry believes he learned many real world skills from taking the course.

“The writing skills I learned in Journalism have been essential to my ability to be a successful lawyer,” Larry said. “Every profession requires an ability to write well, so everyone in Journalism and on the Observer is learning skills that will be invaluable to them regardless of what profession they eventually end up pursuing.”

Like his dad, Ross also intends to progress in his journalistic career and hold a staff position.

“I plan to stay on the paper throughout my high school career and I would like to hold a staff position, probably something in the arts department.”

As I enter into my final year at CHS, I will continue to write for the Observer.

My mom’s presence on the paper has inspired me to increase my activity and I have decided to take on smaller projects in addition to my monthly articles. As her legacy, I am able to carry on her memory and, being on the paper, have the sense that I belong.