Fall 2021 Staff Goodbyes
I normally avoid saying goodbye at all costs. Goodbye is too hard and too painful that I prefer the “rip the Band-Aid” approach. Short and sweet. Wave and walk away.
Yet somehow, I thought it was a good idea to take up all A7 just for that purpose: to say goodbye.
Now, I’m kicking myself for it.
How do I say goodbye to the place that taught me what it means to be a journalist – to seek truth and bear witness?
How do I say goodbye to the room where I fell in love with the written word, with its power of carrying stories, stirring imaginations and moving hearts all with small, black ink?
How do I say goodbye to the joyful feeling of seeing my peers’ hard work realized as I pick up a new, crisp paper from the racks on a Tuesday morning?
How do I say goodbye to the office filled with memories, from an Elsa wig and karaoke to comical headlines and throwing pumpkins?
How do I say goodbye to 15-hour Mondays … oh wait, maybe that goodbye is easy?
How do I say goodbye to Mrs. Huff, a woman of grace and strength, who has shown me what it means to serve and love the Lord?
How do I say goodbye to Logan, the greatest encourager and friend?
How do I say goodbye to each staff member, who have all inspired me with their drive, humility, talent, creativity, humor and joy?
How do I say goodbye to the laughter? The conversations? The love? This experience? These people?
So instead of saying goodbye, I’m going to say thank you. Thank you for the laughter, the conversations and the love. Thank you for pushing me, challenging me and inspiring me. Thank you for the lessons and, yes, even the long days. Thank you.
I must have walked past that glass door hundreds of times during my freshman and sophomore years with no knowledge of the innumerable hours I would eventually spend behind it.
The Liberty Champion, as that glass door reads, has existed for me as a safe place to pour my heart out onto every Feature page produced and every story written.
After a full year, I no longer stand at the crossroad but at the inevitable end facing the most difficult part of it all: the goodbye I always saw coming but was never prepared to fully experience. So, let this blurb exist as an admiration letter to the office where I fell in love with words and the art of writing.
Late night productions, uncountable life lessons and true friendships are themes of the time spent within these four walls; I have discovered my dreams and been given wisdom in how to pursue them from gentle leaders like Jacqueline Hale. I have experienced true hospitality from kind instructors like Deborah Huff, and I have felt sincere belly laughs from relational people such as Logan Smith. This list goes on and on.
The Champion office has hosted many of my firsts: my first published writing, my first standing column, oh—and my first ever Halloween costume runway show. Hopefully, I will be able to recover from not winning the “best costume” award as Harry Styles. I do believe, regardless, that I was rightfully triumphed by Logan’s impeccable portrayal of Elsa from “Frozen” (may that Elsa wig hang proudly in the office forever).
I never anticipated the roots I would plant in this office, and now I can proudly say half of my heart lives here rent free.
Since I’ve sat here racking my brain for a satisfying closing, it seems only fitting to leave it here, knowing I have so much more to say while also knowing I have expressed all that I possibly can.
Feature section, you have my heart and soul forever.
When one of my dearest friends mentioned that she had signed up to take photos for the Champion for CSER credit, it had a ripple effect I never could have imagined. I signed up to write CSER articles for the feature section with no idea of all the great surprises God had in store.
The first time I walked through the door on production day, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of life and love that filled the Champion office. I came in with absolutely no knowledge or experience in the field of journalism, and not once did I feel less valued than my co-workers, all of whom are so beautifully talented and bear their gifts well.
I didn’t talk much at work, but I learned a lot from listening to the sounds of the office. As I heard the refreshing laughter and felt the joy that radiated from my co-workers, little did they know how often they were an encouragement to me on some difficult days. Once, I even found myself participating in an Earth, Wind and Fire dance performance that felt like a strange dream.
I have often regretted that I didn’t begin working here sooner, but I trust that His timing is perfect. While my time here was short-lived, I’ll always cherish Mrs. Huff’s gentle wisdom, Logan’s random pizza deliveries, Jessi’s sticky note doodles, Sarah’s sign offs, Jacqueline’s candy missile strikes and so many other things that made the Champion feel like home.
The Champion never felt like work. It was a safe space from the chaos of the outside world, where I could take a breath and enjoy working on a creative project with amazing people. It has been a place where I always felt encouraged, supported and sincerely cared for not only as an editor, but as a human
I’ll be sticking around a while longer, but in a different role, so I won’t say goodbye quite yet.
Two words come to mind when I look back at my time working for the Champion: forever grateful. From starting out as a news writer to becoming the Assistant News Editor and finally the Digital Media Producer, I can say that I have grown so much from where I started and have become very prepared for life after college. This past year working for the Champion has been a blessing and an honor.
I remember when I first decided to write for the Champion in the Fall of 2020. While it wasn’t even required for my major, I chose to join the practicum class because I knew it would be an invaluable experience for the future. Since then, I have never regretted my decision. I have grown immensely as a journalist, and doors have opened for incredible opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I credit much of the reason why I have a job as a TV news reporter today to my experiences with the Liberty Champion.
Thank you to the wonderful people and great friends I have worked with on staff who made long production days the best days. Thank you to Mrs. Huff and Logan for their encouragement and for believing in me to establish the new role of the Digital Media Producer.
As the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end,” and I am grateful to say that I can walk away knowing that my time with the Champion was indeed, very good.