No limits: New editor taking journalism ‘as far as I can’

It wasn’t until her freshman year of high school, when a teacher and her mother urged her on, that Sarah Elsesser, 17, became interested in journalism – and that was all it took to get her hooked.

Sarah Elsesser

Sarah Elsesser / Photo by Wasim Ahmad

“My English teacher and mom saw potential in my writing and encouraged me to sign up for the schools journalism class,” said Sarah, a rising senior at Sayville High School. “From there, I fully submerged myself in the world of journalism. I think the reason why I enjoy it as much as I do is because peoples, places, teams, etc. fascinate me.”

Sarah’s guts and dedication landed her a position as an editor of her school’s newspaper, The Current, after three consecutive years as a writer. Her tenure at the top post begins in the Fall of 2011. “I’m really excited about it,” she said. “It’s going to be different, but definitely a lot of fun.”

Sarah has written countless articles, which friends and family say contain “[a] strong voice,” said her friend Samantha Ruta, adding that Sarah “perceives events or situations in a different light … and with insightfulness.”,One of her stories was on the subject of anorexia, which Sarah feels is a topic that affects a lot of teens and is worth talking about.

Balancing school, journalism, extracurricular activities and friends can be difficult and overwhelming at times, but Sarah always manages to find time to rap and goof off with her close friend, Samantha, who said:“There’s never a dull moment having Sarah around. She knows how to have a good time.”

Sarah admits, “I’m guilty of taking on more than I can handle when it comes to events and school work”

She may be petite but she puts a lot on her plate.

Standing only 5’2”, Sarah’s height leads people to perceive her as either a clarinet or flute player, both petite in size like herself

But, this spunky blonde has been carrying around the huge Contra Bass Clarinet since the fifth grade, one of the biggest instruments in the wind ensemble.

Not only is Sarah a participant in Tri-M, a music honor society, a publicist for SWEEP, an environmental group, and a member of the National Honor Society, but she’s also a journalist for a website covering her town,, where she said she has “gained so much hands-on journalism experience.”

And through her ability to accept constructive criticism and learn from her mistakes, she is able to improve her writing.

Family inspires her to succeed.

“My Sister, Erica, has by far been my biggest influence,” Sarah said. “Her patience and attentive ways are traits I strive to master.”

While growing up, the two sisters were never really that close, says sister Erica, but with only an 18-month gap between them, they have grown extremely close and become inseparable over recent years.
“We can talk about anything openly and always help each other out when ever either of us has a problem,” Erica said. “I could never ask for someone more caring, intelligent and a little crazy at times!”

Within the next five years, Sarah sees herself finishing up her senior year of college, possibly at Stony Brook, followed by entering into the workforce.

“I hope to take journalism is far as I possibly can,” Sarah said. ”I would love to make a career out of it.”

However, Sarah admits that if she discovers journalism is not what she wants to do in life, she wants to be able to fall back on something English-related.

Interestingly enough, Sarah was not accepted to the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists the first time she applied.

But she persevered and committed herself to doing anything in journalism that would improve her skills and increase her chances of attending the once in a lifetime opportunity. Clearly, all of her hard work paid off.

Summer at Stony Brook will be Sarah’s first ever sleep-away camp, an experience that will allow her to meet new people, improve her journalism skills, and build friendships with her fellow camp members.