Champion staff seniors say their goodbyes

Emma Smith, Copy Editor

The past two years at the Champion have been such a formative experience for me. Having the opportunity to practice journalism outside of the classroom gave me confidence and a skill set I couldn’t have gotten from class projects alone.

I’ve had the opportunity to interview a variety of interesting people, including Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy and the University of Lynchburg’s president, Ken Garren. Senior year opened up the door for more independence and choosiness with projects, and I’ve learned so many interesting things.

Working for the Champion has given me an excuse to be nosy and learn more about the Lynchburg community, and it has also given me wonderful relationships. I’m forever grateful to Mrs. Huff for preparing me to launch and to my coworkers for supporting me through our journey together. 

Thanks, Liberty Champion, for helping me become a writer. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Rachel Van Tuyl, Assistant Content Editor

I remember sitting in the Champion office at the end of my junior year, when Mrs. Huff asked me if I would be interested in being the assistant content editor. I was thrilled . . . and also a little scared.

When I started out this year, I didn’t know a thing about InDesign, which we used to create pages. ARTS 222 had convinced me I never wanted to open the program again, and here I was facing a year of using it every week.

But I’m happy the Champion eventually taught me InDesign – and also how to write better. Editing other people’s stories has a way of making you see what works and what doesn’t work in your own stories.

Oh, we’ve had our share of problems. The computers in the content section especially seemed to hate us. Programs crashed. And we got to know IT quite well. But seeing the issue come out every Tuesday morning made the struggles worth it. I remember seeing the very first issue of the year and thinking, “Wow, we made this. We actually made a newspaper.”

Thank you, Mrs. Huff for always helping me be the best writer I can be, and thank you, Champion, for pushing me to do new things.

Faith Banford, Web Editor

I had the opportunity to work for the Liberty Champion for the 2018-2019 school year as the Web Editor. This was the key role in publishing the news stories to Liberty Champion’s website.

 Through this job, I was able to practice my skills and knowledge of WordPress. Learning how to navigate through different plug-ins and settings, I was able to find ways to improve the website and job as web editor. Additionally, I gained valuable experience and knowledge about the workflow of a news office.

 I appreciate everyone who works diligently in the office. From the beginning of budget meetings about potential news stories to the printing and when the stories are ready for me to post, the Liberty Champion staff puts a lot of time into what they do. Thanks for letting me be a part of it!

Bethany Brown, Digital Media Editor

When I received an email to meet with Dr. Kirk and Mrs. Huff last April, I was surprised. I was just a digital media student who had made a handful of class video projects and knew next to nothing about journalism. 

I’m so glad that a new world of opportunity has opened up for the Liberty Champion through our experimentation with video. I can’t wait to see what next year’s students bring to life. 

Thank you to Mrs. Huff and the Liberty Champion for allowing me the privilege of telling unique stories about mystery machines, skateboarders, campus wizards, and more. 

Thank you for giving me the freedom to pick an idea and run with it. 

It’s been a blast. 

Lillian Abbatacola, Content Editor

Everyday, the world gets bigger in my eyes. It’s easy to be caught up in the intricacies of my own life, but when I take a step back, I am reminded that the world is so much more than myself. 

Working for the Champion has shown me a glimpse of how big and beautiful the world community is. Because of my time as the content editor, I’ve seen that there is so much happening in our community than what I can see with my naked eye.  

I didn’t intend to be here. When I was a reporter in Journalism 390, I wanted to be the content editor, but was too insecure to apply. So when Mrs. Huff asked me to be on staff, I was excited but prematurely doubted myself. But when I read stories of those in the community, why they serve their neighbors or why they are taking a stand, I am astonished that God could have such a unique calling for each individual person.

The moment I stepped into the world of journalism, I knew it’s where I belonged. 

I love people’s stories. I love listening. I love the Champion; it’s one of the best things to happen to me at Liberty. My time here has been hard, creative work, long hours, and I’ve been frustrated. But I am so proud of my friends here and how they have told
beautiful stories. 

I love you, Liberty.

Deanna Drogan, Social Media Manager

Serving on the Champion staff these past two years has truly been an incredible experience. Being able to take the things I have learned in classes and actually implement them into my position as social media manager has taught me so much. The Champion has given me so many opportunities. I have been able to write about things I am passionate about, learn to actually photograph on a setting other than automatic, and post stories to social media that make our audience smile. 

Walking into the office, whether it would be to get pictures from the server, snap some boomerangs of the office for our Instagram story, or meet with Mrs. Huff, I always felt so welcomed by our amazing staff. We are such a unique bunch filled with such different personalities. I think that is one of the many reasons the Champion is so successful! We don’t just look at it as a publication, we look at it as something we are passionate about because we are actually enjoying what we are doing. 

Thank you, Liberty Champion, for not only challenging me to be a good journalist, but a good teammate. I look forward to seeing the successful things we do in the future thanks to our experiences here!

Elizabeth Mallicoat, Graphic Designer

Whenever I tell someone I work at the Champion, I laugh a little. My time with the Champion began when I spontaneously decided to apply for a work-study position with the photographers. After a year of sitting in the back of the office and sorting photos, I was asked to take over as the B Section Designer. This role was never something I planned on doing, but this year of making cutouts for front pages, spending countless hours designing infographics, and creating graphics for Liberty events has taught me so much. I’m so grateful for all I have learned in this position, but most importantly the team I spent the last year with! You all are the reason I’m so sad to leave
the Champion.  

Bethany Kocik, Copy Editor

When I applied for a staff position at the Champion, I did so on faith. I didn’t think I was experienced enough, or a good enough writer, or a good enough journalist in general.

 But, to my surprise, I received a position on staff as the B section copy editor.

 Working for the Champion gave me the opportunity to grow as a journalist, a writer and as a person. I learned many lessons in my time at the Champion about what it means to be a good journalist and skills that I will carry with me into the future.

While working for the Champion I met friends and brothers and sisters in Christ that encouraged me to be not only the best journalist I can be but also the best person I can be. 

Congratulations to all the graduating seniors at the Champion! Love you guys!

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