In Support of Folly


Jill Zmolek, Reporter

When I walked into Ames High as a new student in 2012, my entire game plan was to get good grades and to keep my head down. Baby Jill was going to power through high school like a Downton-Abbey-watching rhino. I (begrudgingly) followed through on the grades, but accidentally set fire to my anonymity. And then kicked it down the stairs. And then called it’s mother something crass.

The end began with AHS Shout. Creator Ben Sulzberger asked me to co-anchor because he needed “somebody who could stand up to Kub.” Thus began the trudge through the Dark Ages of Shout to arrive at the current show, of which we are proud. My mistakes as a fourteen-year-old were broadcasted every month to a school full of people I didn’t know, including the sixteen boys I had simultaneous crushes on.

Since then, I have seemingly agreed to every opportunity that could end horrifically for my pride. I wasn’t flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but Ames High was a place to make attempts without ridicule. Every time I stood in front of an audience, with a mic in my hand or taped to my cheek, my catchphrase became “How am I not being bullied for this?” There was a learning curve to accepting my school as a place I could try, succeed, and (more importantly) fail at my interests.

My bookshelf holds four years of journals filled with shenanigans, shame, and advice, but the most vital is this: be foolish. Do your homework, eat breakfast, but be an unadulterated maniac about your life. It’s high school, there’s no getting around that, but it’s Ames High School.

There is never a guarantee that where you are is going to support the things you dare to say you love. But for the shortest long years of your life, you are lucky to be somewhere that wants to see you try. No diploma or speech can tell you that, whether or not that “road less traveled” actually “made all the difference.”


With love and an okay ACT score,

Jill Zmolek (a fool who did P.E. to get a GED)