703 and me

Reflections of a two-year Prowler journalist


Annika Pepper

My skills as a writer have improved each year with every teacher I have encountered. However, no room has seen me grow as a writer, a friend, and a teammate more than 703.

My entire life I have been taught that numbers serve as nothing more than a mere medium for calculations, identification procedures, and codes. As I have proceeded through high school, I have realized that I have been denied the truth. There is, in fact, a number that defies this logic: 703.

Ever since my first day of school, teachers have described my writing as slow but thoughtful. Rather than focus on the facts, I would somewhat disregard the topic and attempt to create art. My goal was to create the perfect introduction followed by four paragraphs of smooth-flowing metaphors, similes, and plot twists. 

I didn’t want to write about how First Lady Michelle Obama was making America healthier. I wanted to tell a story full of mystery and deceit paired with wording adequate to satisfy a college professor. 

Unfortunately, this was never the assignment. 

As I passed from middle school into high school, my problem was simply overlooked as an issue of time management. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that English teacher Justin Spencer put me on the road to successful writing. 

Spencer’s 10th grade literature class took place in room 703 — the first room I ever received a failing grade on an essay. Our first assignment was to pick a character from “The Legend of Bagger Vance” and describe how he or she was the hero. 

[S]omething else happened that I never would have expected — I was accepted into a family. ”

— Staff Writer James Hindy

The correct answer was obviously the main character, Rannulph Junuh, but I didn’t care about the facts. I wanted to create a story out of the smallest assignment. As a result, I chose the least suspected character as my epic hero, Adele Invergordon. 

In my mind, I had created the perfect paper, but in reality, I had totally ignored the subject. The day I received a 50% on that paper was probably one of the most monumental moments of my writing career. Without it, I may not have ever spent the time to go through my essays with my instructor after school. 

Spencer created an environment where failure was not only tolerated, but encouraged for the sake of learning how to take initiative and overcome mistakes. As a result, when I was asked to join the school newspaper, I couldn’t refuse. 

I joined journalism in room 703 for the sole purpose of picking up new writing skills from one of my favorite teachers. To no surprise, I learned how to tone down my “flowery” style of writing and focus on the facts. 

However, something else happened that I never would have expected — I was accepted into a family. 

No matter if I was collaborating with a member of the news, sports, feature, or op-ed department, I found that I had the most genuine group of people supporting me in all my success, failure, and hardship. 

From getting caught playing board games to having the most unforgettable white elephant Christmas party this world has ever seen, room 703 has provided me with some of my fondest high school memories and friends. 

I’m sure 703 is an area code, password, or pin number to someone, but if home is truly where the heart is, then I think it’s safe to say that seven-hundred-three means home to me.