By Adelyn Veras
Lindenhurst High School
Every journalist finds the craft in his or her own way, whether it’s from watching the news or being pushed to be in the school newspaper by a teacher.
For Gabrielle Topping, a 17-year-old incoming senior at Westhampton Beach High School, it was the latter.
Throughout Gabrielle’s childhood, she enjoyed writing stories in a journal, but these stories, along with her talent, went unnoticed by everyone.
That changed one day when her then sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Davidson, approached Gabrielle and pushed her to join the school newspaper, the Hurricane Herald.
It was also Mr. Davidson who encouraged her to take a journalism class at such a young age, further fueling her interest in the field.
As middle school came to an end and high school was around the corner, Gabrielle’s love for writing flourished into something unimaginable. In the ninth grade, Gabrielle joined the literary arts club, Seascapes, where she began as an editor and eventually published her first poem, “Lock and Key.”
“I felt overjoyed and super excited to see my name in a book,” Gabrielle said, noting that people would stop her in the hall and compliment her writing. “I felt very proud to be able to inspire others through my poems.”
This was just the first step of many in Gabrielle’s writing career. As 10th grade began, Gabrielle continued as an editor for Seascapes and published four new poems.
Along with immersing herself in writing, Gabrielle also had to juggle being an athlete and taking Advanced Placement classes.
In 11th grade, Gabrielle moved up the ranks from junior varsity to varsity tennis. To be on a varsity tennis team, you must attend “longer and harder practices and still train on your own time,” Gabrielle said. She didn’t let the workload hinder her journalistic pursuits.
Gabrielle may have not noticed, but her writing has impacted her peers and changed the way they perceived her. One such peer, Peyton Bigora, recalls the exact moment that happened.
“One day in creative writing class, Gabrielle wrote a 55-word piece about an abduction,” Peyton said. “I would have never thought a girl who is so shy and quiet like Gabrielle could be so dark. This made me see Gabrielle in a new light and opened my eyes to see that she is a diverse, well-rounded writer.”
Gabrielle’s dream is to major in journalism and take on an important role in the journalistic world. When she was accepted into Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, she realized that not only does she see herself as a future journalist, but so do the prestigious journalists that accepted her into this program.
“I’m honored to have been taught by some of the best journalists. This has been an incredible experience and I am fortunate to have this opportunity,” Gabrielle said. “I am thrilled with how much I have learned in this action-packed week and look forward to learning more while improving my journalism skills.”