Alumni’s Communication Talents Leads Him TO Successful Career In Hometown
He loved to tell stories – sports stories in particular. When he applied for the sports editor position at the Liberty Champion, so did four other highly qualified students. Andrew Woolfolk (2013) ultimately accepted the position of opinion editor to gain valuable experience working for Liberty’s campus newspaper, which now circulates 13,000 weekly issues as well as online content.
He used his time on staff as well as other hands-on learning opportunities to land a job in a newspaper and eventually moved to broadcast production, working now in the school system as public information officer.
Growing up in Louisa County, Virginia, Woolfolk knew he had a knack for writing, and newspapers were his go-to reading material.
“I am an old soul at heart, so I would read the newspaper every day growing up,” Woolfolk said. “However, my real passion is sports, so I was always reading Sports Illustrated or reading the ESPN magazine.”
Woolfolk took this love for writing and pursued a communications degree at Liberty. The decision to attend Liberty was a result of prayer.
“I took a tour of Liberty after my senior year while still being undecided,” Woolfolk said. “I had toured other schools such as VCU, but I overall just loved the atmosphere at Liberty. I enjoyed being in the mountains. I enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere. It just felt like the right place. I knew this was where God was leading me.”
He took the Liberty Champion practicum during an earlier semester in his four years, which helped him develop his writing and people skills even more, and led him to a staff position at the student-led paper.
“At the end of the semester where I took the practicum, Mrs. Huff came to me and said that they could use my abilities on staff,” Woolfolk said. “I originally interviewed for the sports section, but they already had someone lined up for that. So, they offered me the opinion editor position and I took it. I jumped on that opportunity and loved every minute of it.”
Woolfolk was also involved with intramural sports during his time at Liberty.
“I was an intramural basketball referee at Liberty for my sophomore, junior, and senior years,” Woolfolk said. “It got me out of my dorm and helped me meet people around campus.”
After graduation in 2013, Woolfolk was offered a position at his local newspaper in Louisa County.
“I interned at a local newspaper called the Central Virginian every summer during my college years,” Woolfolk said. “Right when I graduated, they had an opening. I became the sports editor there and was there for about three years which was great. God had opened that door for me.”
After his time at the Central Virginian, Woolfolk knew he wanted to break into another journalism platform. He sat his eyes on WBTW, a popular news station located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“I had applied for a reporter position in Myrtle Beach on a whim,” Woolfolk said. “Dana Ritter Brown, a Liberty graduate, was working there as the news director at WBTW.”
He continued, “She called because she saw I was also a Liberty graduate. They did not have a position open for a reporter. However, they did have one for a producer, something I had never done before. I barely knew what the job entailed. I got the job and worked there for two years. It was a great experience.”
After those two years at WBTW, Woolfolk saw an opportunity to move back home to Louisa County.
“During my time at the Central Virginian, I became close with the Superintendent Doug Straley of Louisa County Public Schools,” Woolfolk said. “I saw the opening for this position as a Public Information Officer and gave him a call. I interviewed for it and got the position a short while later.”
Woolfolk continued “The decision to move back came from a couple of things. My wife and I had twin boys and moving back home would mean the grandparents could see the boys grow up and could provide childcare. Also there really is nothing like being home. I am able to work in the community I grew up in.”
Woolfolk is now satisfied with his position in the public-school system.
“I cannot say enough good things about superintendent Straley,” Woolfolk said. “I love my job, but I love it because I get to work with him most of the week. He has been so supportive of me and a joy to work with.”
Woolfolk offered advice to current students.
“Always look for and ask for advice,” Woolfolk said. “Some of the best pieces of advice I have received was from asking or simply just hanging out after class and talking with Mrs. Huff or any professors. It may feel intimidating, but it will make a difference.”
Kayleigh Hamer is a Copy Editor. View her profile on LinkedIn here.