Nov 17, 2009

From the desk

by Amanda Baker and Amanda Sullivan

 Goodbye. My name is Amanda Baker, and I am the editor in chief that will be exiting office after this week. This writing will conclude the two semesters that I have served as editor in chief at the Champion. I can say with complete honesty that I am leaving with mixed feelings. I am sad to leave a publication that I have poured my heart into, but at the same time, I feel the itch to graduate and go on to greater things. I’m not sure what those things are yet, but I’m confident that God will unfold the details of my life when he sees fit.

As I look back on my time at the Champion, my friendship with Amanda (Mandi) Sullivan stands out. We met at the beginning of my junior year, and quickly grew close during a trip to a journalism conference in Nashville, Tenn. We took Mrs. Huff’s writing classes together, critiqued each other’s writing and developed a friendship that extended beyond the Champion office. Our writing styles mesh so well that we started collaborating on stories together, and even entertained the thought of writing under a pen name: Amanda Ballivan. Mrs. Huff quickly shot that idea down (nothing says unprofessional like the meshing together of two journalists’ names), but we still refer to Amanda Ballivan as a third person, as if she is her own entity.

Mandi will be taking over as editor in chief for the Christmas issue of the paper (hitting stands Dec. 8!) and the spring semester, and I have complete confidence in her. She is innovative, professional and snarky (in a good way), and I know the paper will benefit from her leadership. My only regret is that the time we worked together was too short.

And so, it is in good hands that I leave the Champion and my position as editor in chief to Mandi Sullivan, the second half of Amanda Ballivan.

Hello. My name is Amanda Sullivan, and I will be taking over as editor in chief for the last issue of the Champion and on into the spring semester. I am writing this with tears in my eyes as I have just read what Amanda Baker wrote above. As you have already read, Baker and I have a close friendship that developed within the Champion office and extends past the paper and school.

Just like Baker, I am approaching the next couple of weeks with mixed feelings and slight apprehension. On one hand, I am ecstatic about my new responsibilities as editor in chief, as I came to the Champion barely able to string two sentences together (OK, maybe I was a little better than that). I still think the only reason Mrs. Huff took a chance on me was because I told her I would do anything — even if it meant taking out the trash — if it meant I could be in the office learning. I’ve grown a lot the past three years, and I am excited to see where God will take the last half of my senior year.

Although I can’t help but anticipate my upcoming role as editor in chief, I am deeply saddened. I am losing one of my best friends this week. Yes, I will still speak to her often. In fact, I’m fairly certain that she will be on speaker phone in my office, belting out Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” with me. However, I can’t help but wonder who will go on coffee breaks, conduct Taylor Swift sing-alongs, and Hannah Montana jam sessions (don’t judge) with me in the office. Not to mention, I have some pretty big shoes to fill because Baker was great at her job.

This editorial marks my first “From the Desk” and Baker’s last. But, may I recommend that you all keep an eye out for Amanda Ballivan in the future. We may pop up in unexpected places and surprise you — despite “journalistic unprofessionalism.”

Contact Amanda Ballivan at or

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