Champion staff: Last goodbyes

Besty Abraham


Journalism is all about people. When writing about anything, be it a pedestrian bridge opening, a football team winning their conference title or an event like Coffeehouse, reporters are encouraged to get the details and the facts. But what truly sets a story apart from the others is the human element, because people are what make a story important.

I think the same can be said for my past four years at Liberty. Of course I won’t forget the details and the facts, the practical skills my parents paid thousands for me to learn, the campus life or the great opportunities I had while I was here. I’ll never forget getting baptized at TRBC during Campus Church or going on a missions trip the summer after my freshman year. I’ll hold on to the memories of staying up late and taking day trips to the beach or nearby cities.

But what made my time at Liberty so significant was the people. From teachers who have always pushed me to do my best, teaching me about life as well as about my major, to roommates who became like family as we shared life together, to classmates who became best friends as we found out that life doesn’t always go as planned, I’ll never forget the people who have taught me so much about not only the world but myself and the person I want to be. I’ll never forget who I spent those late nights with, who encouraged me on the bad days or who I laughed with until my sides hurt. It’s the people that really make the memories so important.

So people of Liberty, whether you know it or not, you have blessed me more than you know. Thank you for making my story so much better.

Andrew Gula


I cannot wait for May 12.

Throughout my entire life, I have always looked forward to being an adult. It seems like a strange fixation, in retrospect, but I was just always excited about what the future might hold … at least until I started my four years at Liberty.

Early on in freshman year, my mindset changed drastically. Adulthood became that unwanted next step that I knew would eventually be forced upon me: you have to get a boring full-time job, you have to leave your friends and you are left with an inhumane amount of responsibilities and bills.

But this year has been an unusual one for me. There are a lot of changes guaranteed to be waiting for me when I get back home, and that has forced me to grow and mature in my outlook on life. Probably the biggest change is that my family is moving from Delaware, out of the house in which we’ve lived for 20 years now. And I’ll be going with them, leaving behind everyone and everything to start over.

But it’s okay. For some odd reason, I’m not concerned.

I always knew that the year after graduation would be a season of change in my life, whether it is starting a career or moving out on my own.

I know that graduation is just the first step out into the big, wide world, and I look forward to it. I’m certain that the right doors will open when the time comes, and it will be up to me to step through them while the opportunity is there.

Shelanne Jennings


Every life is marked by moments — periods that grow and shape you into the individual that you are today.

This issue of the Liberty Champion marks a defining moment in my life. It marks the last Liberty Champion issue that I will contribute to as an undergraduate student, my last words as the Feature Editor and my last day of classes before I graduate.

I have been so blessed to be part of this staff and to be able to serve the Liberty community by bringing news, events and personal stories that affect you, as our readers.

We have been able to bring you many exciting stories this year, from the many theater shows we have covered, to Michael Tait’s return with the Newsboys, the profiles we’ve done on students and alumni for the homecoming and 9/11 specials.

Liberty University is not only training Champions for Christ academically, but it is bringing in Christian leaders who exemplify the many ways we can make a difference, too. Looking back, I am pleased that I could be a small part of that — sharing their stories with you.

Thank you for your readership. It has been an honor serving you as the Liberty Champion’s 2011-12 Feature Editor.

Omar Adams


I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work under Mrs. Huff for the past two years. I am glad I got to meet so many great people and cover interesting stories.

I was honored to interview veterans to tell their stories and keep students aware of the sacrifices made by so many of their peers. Working with my old instructors and friends at the School of Aeronautics has been another highlight of my job.

I may not have finished my pilot training, but my heart is still with the aviation program. I still have to find a replacement liaison between our two offices.

The 2012-13 staff is great, and I wish them all the best for the coming year.

Dominique McKay


Every graduation day, college students across America embark on the life-long journey that will define their generation. Three years ago, I had that day—a perfect day of celebration followed by a perfect summer of bliss.

I originally graduated from Liberty University in 2009. Unemployment ranked at 9.4 percent, America was in the midst of two hotly-contested wars and the heated debate about healthcare had only just begun. I paid no mind. I had graduated. My world was small, and my life was wonderful.

But in the years that followed that perfect day, God would open my eyes to a new way of thinking. I would learn the hard way that life is about perspectives, and that there is a whole world beyond our Facebook photographs, ever-changing statuses and the way that others perceive us to be.

God calls us to be a light in the darkness, but instead we are too easily satisfied with a life of mindless bliss—of safety and security. That’s where I was three years ago, in perfect acceptance of mediocrity. Now, as I prepare for my second walk across the commencement stage, I wait in anxious anticipation of what will be.

Seven years after my first day at Liberty and four years of working with the Liberty Champion later, I will be graduating with a Masters in Communication. The possibilities are not only endless, but they are out there, waiting to be achieved. God gives us the potential to do amazing things in his name, and it’s up to us to accept the challenge—to leave our safe harbors and go where he may lead.

That’s our challenge as Christians, and that’s our challenge as graduates.

Amanda Sullivan


One-hundred fifteen — that’s how many issues of the Liberty Champion I’ve officially helped produce during my time at Liberty University. This paper marks my last issue, and I will graduate May 12 with an M.A. in Communications.

The reality is bittersweet. These past few weeks have been so jam packed with obligations, expectations, assignments and grading that I haven’t really had time to digest how my life will change after graduation.

Mostly, I just keep thinking how difficult it will be to pack up my office that has managed to accumulate five years worth of paraphernalia. At least Ben will be able to unlock the office supply cabinet again. Not only that, but what will I do with the all the pink pens I’ve acquired for editing? And the two voice recorders that I have “borrowed” from the Champion office throughout the years — I guess I need to transfer my interviews somehow.

There are some great interviews on those recorders, too. One of them holds the first real interview I ever conducted — Michael Tait, formerly of the band DC Talk. Another recorder harbors my interviews with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. My favorite interview, though, was with TobyMac, and it’s still tucked away on a recorder, too.

The Champion has given me so many wonderful experiences throughout the past years. But more than that, the experiences have helped shaped me into the woman I am today.

Although helping produce a special political edition of the Champion that went out to 30,000 people and was credited with swaying an election certainly aided in building my confidence, it was Mrs. Huff who made the most impact on my life.

Her guidance and unending love and support for me have been instrumental in my life. She took a chance on me when I was a freshman — all because I told her I would do anything, even if it meant take out the trash. She guided me in my times of struggle and never really seemed to mind that I wasn’t her biological daughter. I mean, Kelsey and I get along great anyway.

Mrs. Huff will be what I miss most about my Sunday and Monday traditions. I will miss the way she “swims” through the office and talks about the ions in the air converging for an extra dramatic day. I will miss the way she ends her prayers with, “Lord, help us to learn something new that we can use for Your glory.” I will miss sitting on the opposite side of her desk eating lunch.

That’s only a few of the things I will miss. There’s so much more. It’s because of Mrs. Huff that I know I can go out into the world and be “OK”. She tells me I will do great, and she taught me, so she should know.

So, Mrs. Huff, if you ever need anyone to remind the future generations about what it means to truly be snarky, you know how to reach me.

And feel free to still call me at 11 p.m.

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