Tag: Farewell

Feature editor thankful for journalism experience


After 101 days writing for the Plainsman Press, I’m done.

That’s really not a long time. One semester of writing and that is it.

I’ve always been a curious person. After my last interview, which I’m currently working on, I have no excuse to interview a new professor or student and get to know their story. I can no longer be brave through the lens of a journalist.

I had no idea what I was getting into at the beginning of the semester. I soon learned that the Newsroom was a small family. We eat together, we laugh together, and we stay up until 3 a.m. together. I learned that I would get out of the Newsroom what I put into it.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted leave with a better understanding of journalism and what true objectivity looks like. On the other side of the semester, I’ve gotten that and so much more.

Being on the newspaper staff has been both fun and stressful. The nights have been long, the proofreading seemingly never ending, and new corrections ostensibly kept coming up.

As the feature editor, I interviewed professors, students, and alumni. I got to know their stories and draw inspiration from each of them. Each interview presented a unique story that I learned something from. I love that I was allowed to write what I wanted but was also pushed to expand my writing.

In the Newsroom, I was reminded of the struggle newspapers are having. The Plainsman Press is fortunate to have support from the college. I’ve delivered newspapers to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations and to President Satterwhite’s office. Numerous staff, students and alumni read the paper. I’ve received emails from past faculty who read a feature on a student they had years ago. We have the support of so many people, but especially the college. So many newspapers aren’t so fortunate to have that much support.

Newspapers across the nation are starting to shut down, closing down their printing presses. If journalism dies, so do people’s stories. We need more people to be bold and ask people to sit down, maybe over coffee, maybe in an office, and tell their story. There are so many people who have an amazing story to be told, and there needs to be people there to tell those stories.

As long as the Plainsman Press and the staff are around, journalism will live on. If there are teachers and students to read the amazing work that this staff creates, journalism will have a place at this college.

I never planned on getting into journalism. I took this class to fill my degree requirements. But the paper has turned into so much more than a class to me. This experience has opened my eyes to the opportunities I have going forward. I’m so thankful for the time I’ve had working at the paper and all of the people I’ve grown closer to during the semester.



Print journalism major gains new experiences, meets lifelong friends

I’ve stared at a blank Microsoft Word doc for days now.

For someone who struggles very little with writing and putting words on a page, this particular article was difficult to start. I just did not know where to start.

I have spent so many hours in the Newsroom in the Communications Building, since fall 2018. Which stories do I tell, or which ones do I not? Not to mention the emotions that will come with writing this farewell piece.

DSC_0142I started my journey with the Plainsman Press in the fall 2018 semester. We only had six staff members, all who wrote and edited the paper. I was a determined, inspired journalist who wanted a handson experience of every part of the newspaper. Yet I had no idea of the work, time, stress, and fun that would go with it.

My first paper week was rough for several reasons. The main reason was I am not a night person, so when 11 p.m. hit, I took a nap on the floor in between the desks and the whiteboard. I got in trouble for that later. However, Kendall was nice (for once) and waited for me to wake up before getting on to me. He explained that even if you are done with your work, you help others with theirs so everyone can get done sooner.

Another reason was I had no idea what in the world I was doing. Between working with the In Design software and trying to figure out how Apple computers work, I struggled with laying out my first page. I cannot even guess the number of times I asked Autumn for help that week. Through controlled breathing and gritted teeth, she kindly helped me every time.

Now do not get me wrong; everyone loves everyone in the Newsroom. But when it’s 3 57289369_2451997331499208_8184277129916055552_na.m. and everyone is tired, hands tend to go to throats.

You will get glared at and yelled at, but I promise you will be doing just as much glaring and yelling as well.

The strangers in the class become staff members, and the staff members become family. You will find yourself coming into the Newsroom in your spare time to eat, talk, joke, play games, and work on homework with them. That is part of the reason why everyone gets on to others as much as we do, because we are family.

You will get to know people way deeper than you expected. They will share their life stories, even if you do not want them to. They will share the good, bad, funny, and sad ones, but none will be more hilariously sad than either half of Kait’s poor fish.

You will be picked on, and every one will poke you until all your buttons are pushed and you storm out of the room. However, you will never have a group of friends more loyal. If you come in talking about how someone really hurt you and messed up your week, they will come up with a plan for how to kill, who will do the killing, where to bury the 58381199_2465730280125913_8928513452423512064_nbody, and who will pay for the deed. The News crew will be more than willing to back you up, no matter what the cost, and by cost I mean prison for life. (No one was killed, or harmed, in the making of any newspaper).

The girls will have your back when you want to go walking down the haunted hallway, and the guys will do their best to scare the girls as they come back.

I wish I could tell you which part is the best and which part is the worst. However, it changes every week, and every single thing about the Plainsman Press will be your favorite/worst part.

One of my favorite parts that never changes, though, is the people. I go get my nails done with the girls in the Newsroom and go out to eat lunch with Reece, Austin, and Victoria at least once a week, if not more. And on Thursdays, Charlie takes the Newsroom to the BSM, and those who do not have class eat together. Typically, the group will walk to the BSM. That is my most favorite time on Thursdays. The walk to and from lunch consists of stories, laughter and jokes. Not to mention everyone is able to get outside for a bit and breathe in fresh air.

While being on the Plainsman Press staff, I was able to interview author Jodi Thomas, Television News Personality John Stossel, and many more awesome people. I got to write opinion columns and typically got to pick which stories I wanted to write.

Charlie, our instructor and advisor, tries his hardest to make this experience the best for the students. He listens to story ideas, and as long as they will not get the college (or him)56247840_2431591733539768_315491963803533312_n sued, you are able to write/cover it.

Charlie does a lot more than just critique your stories, though. He is also a great mentor. Charlie truly cares for each of his students and tries his best to prepare them and give them what they need in order to move forward in their career.

The Newsroom has been like a second home to me. We laugh, cry, and confide in each other. We know when someone needs a hug, and we know when someone just needs food. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone into the Newsroom and Autumn, Victoria or someone else has looked at me, and noticed that I am in an off mood, asking “Want to go get food?”

Eventually, everyone will be able to tell when you are hiding your true feelings and will sit you down and tell you to talk.

Sometimes the talk is just about a bad day, or about troubles with a relationship. Other times, the talk requires shutting the Newsroom door (because it locks when it is shut and you cannot get in without a key). Those are the real talks. You know something is going down, typically within the Newsroom, when they get up and shut the door.

Being in the Newsroom, whether you want to be a journalist or not, is so much fun and worth the time. It is a place where you can and will belong.

There will be days when you ask yourself why you ever got into it. But when the paper comes out, you realize the worth of your work and nothing else matter. So you excitedly do it all again.

South Plains College has been a wonderful college for me. I was homeschooled my whole 55489158_2421469114552030_6289754600245297152_olife, and although I was active in sports and extra activities, transitioning from homeschooling to public school terrified me.

SPC is a great place for people who are nervous about transitioning into college. There are wonderful professors who are willing to help you when you have trouble with your assignments, and some professors try to get to know you personally as well.

Emily Brunson, who is an English instructor, would bring M&M’s in a bowl and pass it around. We could only grab one M&M, and depending on what color we got, we would have to answer a question, such as “What’s your favorite color?” Then we would be able to get more M&M’s afterword.

Dave Cleavenger, an agriculture professor, enjoyed talking with students after class. He also cared about the students’ health. Once I went into class with sunglasses on and just kept my head down because I had a really bad migraine. Cleavenger noticed me not being myself and asked if I was OK. When I told him about my migraine, he massaged a pressure point in my hands that relieves migraine pressure. Because of that, my migraine continued to get better for the next few hours. By the middle of the day, my head was fine.

SPC has been a great twoyear college for me, and I will forever be grateful for this college, the professors, and friends that I made here.

Veteran develops communication skills at SPC

My time at South Plains College is coming to an end. Like many before me, I will continue on to a traditional four-year university. I came to South Plains on academic probation from Texas Tech University. Mad and fearing that I would never amount to anything, I found comfort in this college.
When I first came to South Plains, I was still determined to be a nursing major. I thought I would take a few classes in mass communications to help balance out my workload. These classes were to help me with my podcast and what I thought was just a hobby. My hobby turned out to be my passion and what I’m now pursuing my degree in, mass communications.
I cannot express the amount of gratitude that I have for the Science Department at SPC showing me that I can use my disabilities with dyslexia to level the playing field. It’s with the help of these educators that I was able to build confidence and eventually recover some of my bad grades in science courses.
  The thing I’ll take away from SPC is the mass communications program and the hands-on experience.  The instructors have worked in the field and show you what you need to do to be successful. It’s not just textbook learning, it’s real-life, real experience, everything from writing for Mrs. Kirby in TV, news and radio scripts, to meeting deadlines for Charlie each week for this newspaper. Mrs. Kirby taught me how to speak professionally. She showed me how much work goes in to a daily show and newscast. I found myself becoming a better speaker and putting out a better pod cast each week because of her classes. She also showed me, and many other students, the many aspects of communication, including the many ways people speak and how ads can be sold in different ways.  All of this is very valuable life experience.

Billy Alonzo is always a friendly face, willing to help you with audio questions or just tell you a bad joke to help brighten your day. Billy has shown me why it is important to test your equipment and do a run-through before recording. Charlie and the newsroom was the class I was most nervous about. News writing was where I think I grew the most. I was challenged to write about new things and was taught many things about writing reviews and sports stories. The Communications Building is one of the friendly and most well received places I’ve ever been. It’s because of these great teachers in this great program that I received my associate’s degree last fall, and I will have success in all my future endeavors ever because of those who helped me achieve that.

Some may look down upon South Plains. I will always be proud to be an alumni of South Plains College.


Staff writer finds outlet to share thoughts in Plainsman Press

I am very glad I got to be a part of the newspaper staff this spring semester.

This has been a great experience. I learned so much about South Plains College. The newspaper staff class is like a family, and it’s really fun to be a part of it.

The amount of work and dedication pays off for the bi-weekly paper that our class works to get published. I am amazed by how many different parts go into publishing our college newspaper.

Many times, it’s overwhelming to understand, but when the paper is published and you see your work in the paper, it is a great feeling of accomplishment. I would say that during my time in this class, my writing skills have developed and have become stronger. The type of stories that I have written for the newspaper have been about entertainment, opinion, and a couple of news stories. I really enjoyed writing the entertainment pieces and also the opinion articles because it was a chance to share my thoughts on any given topic.

My professor, Charles Ehrenfeld, runs the Newsroom in a way where students help each other and are able to communicate with each other. I really recommend students take this class. It was really fun, and I had a great semester in this class.

Being in this class will teach you how a newsroom works and what roles and jobs are involved for the newspaper staff. There are many opportunities available for students who are interested in the News Reporting class. There are important roles, such as the editor-in-chief and the rest of the editorial staff, that are very important for the newspaper to be successfully published.

This is my last semester at SPC, and I am proud to announce that I will be obtaining an Associate’s degree from South Plains College. I have had a really fun experience being a student at SPC. The teachers here are really great and I have become accustomed to SPC. I am going to miss going to school here. I am going to miss this institution so much that it makes me sad that I have to leave. But I’m happy at the same time because I am accomplishing my academic goals that I have set for myself.

I really will miss all my Professors and friends that I have met at SPC. This fall, I will transfer to Texas Tech University to earn my bachelor’s degree in Digital Media & Communication. I’m grateful that I have had such wonderful learning experiences while I have been a student at SPC that I will carry with me for the rest of my educational career. I have enjoyed my time at SPC, especially in News Reporting class, and I have learned skills that will help me in my field of study for my degree in Communications.

Nontraditional student steps out of comfort zone through reporting



Saying “Good bye” has never been an easy thing for me to do.

Through the years, when I get close to anyone, letting go is so hard.

Working with everyone at the Plainsman Press has been a happy experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of a class, as you will not only learn but have a good time while doing it.

I have always enjoyed writing. Writing for the newspaper has been a whole new level. Trying to find topics that will not only interest the reader but provoke them into looking at the next issue, and, better yet, talk to others about whatever they have read, is not an easy task.

As I think back on the articles I have written, I have enjoyed the opinion ones probably the most. However, two articles made me step out of my comfort zone. The first one was a report on South Plains College expanding in Lubbock. They started a culinary program at the Lubbock Center. It was interesting. To see the facility, well, it is nothing short of amazing.

The second one was interviewing Ted Cruz. Not only was it exciting, it was an honor to meet someone who works for you and me. He not only knows that; his actions show it.

I don’t want to leave out getting to meet Alan Munde, a world -renowned bluegrass musician and retired SPC professor. He was so kind and easy to talk to. It was like a new friend. I had no idea when I was interviewing him that he is an icon. As I asked him a question, his humility was astounding. He never once acted like he was a “bluegrass star.” That most definitely was a once- in- a- lifetime moment.

I must admit Charlie is one of the best bosses I have ever worked with and for. He is patient yet precise. Serious, yet fun. He is concerned with a gentle kindness. I will miss him when I leave this campus. He feels like family.

Life doesn’t always go like you planned. In my life, I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother to the best of my ability. I am very blessed that both of my sons are amazing adults. But I failed as a wife. I am not saying I was totally to blame, because I wasn’t. I just couldn’t ever figure out what my husband wanted from me.

So, after much heartache and 29 years, I chose to start life over. That was not an easy decision, but it was necessary. I have learned from my experience. If ever my knowledge is needed, I hope that I can help someone not go down the path I did. I do not regret my choices, because I do have many blessings that happened at the same time. I just learned a lot by the things I went through.

When I decided to come to South Plains College, I did not know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many nice people, not only the students, but the staff on every level.

There are so many gentlemen here on campus. There have not been many doors that I have had to open myself. That shocked me. I thought chivalry was almost dead, if not already gone. But I was wrong. Even the youngest of the men on campus would gladly hold the door, and usually with a smile. That made my heart feel so proud of not only them, but the other ladies on campus getting treated like that.  Thank you to every gentleman on campus. There were a few times that a female held the door out of courtesy. I don’t want them to think their kindness went unnoticed.

I hope to continue on with my education after I am finished here at SPC. I still have two classes that I need to complete an associate’s degree. Then I plan to go to Texas Tech University to get a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. I would like to work with troubled kids in school before it is too late.

I say all of this to say, I feel very blessed to be a part of South Plains College. It is a really special place to learn and grow. I hope I can influence others to become part of this big family.    Farewell, because goodbye just doesn’t fit.

Freshman editor finds family among staff



After my first day in the Newsroom, I wondered, “What in the world had I just done?”

It was weird and uncomfortable for the first few classes because the editor-in-chief was teaching some things.

Everyone was new, so thankfully I wasn’t alone. But I do recall that there was a large population of gingers that seemed threatening.

It’s hard to believe that so much is changing so fast. I will graduate in Spring of 2019 because of the number of dual credit classes I took in high school. I will not be on the Plainsman Press staff, and I will see little of the friends I have made in this class. Graduating in one year put me on a fast track, one that I am thankful for but sad to walk on. I have little time to make friends and keep up with my work during the semester. But in the Newsroom, I did both.46854697_1867617543363818_6738268027692777472_n

Being a freshman, I had no clue what to do or how to handle college life. The Newsroom became a constant I didn’t realize I needed. I became an editor for the Feature section, as well as Charlie’s student assistant, and moved to Levelland during my second week of school. I realized to be involved more in this class, I needed to let go of my old life. I couldn’t balance going to my hometown every day while taking six classes and doing what I wanted. To better myself, I had to learn to let go, and the Newsroom gave me a reason to do that.

When I left home officially, I became more involved and dedicated to the Newsroom that I don’t regret. It taught me many different things that I know will help me in any path I choose to take within the next few years.

I learned many positive things and had such happy moments with my classmates that really helped me handle my personal problems. There’s something about forgetting your personal problems and pretending that the people in Room 130 are the only ones who matter. Working together on Paper Nights felt like that if we wanted to talk about our messed up life, we did, and if we didn’t we just worked together to finish and go to bed.

Paper Nights were the best and worst of the newspaper. It was great sometimes. We would make jokes, people would be put in a jar, and no one ever had cash for drinks. There was laughing, crying, sleeping, and yelling sometimes that were both good and bad. I think all the emotion was positive. It meant that we cared, even on a small level, about each other from the beginning. If there was no emotion, it would’ve been a bleak and gray situation where no one cared about how the paper turned out, or how everyone was feeling. We all knew how everyone felt because we had already felt it by the last night. Everyone of us has felt the frustration, anger, hate, happiness, contentment, and the feeling that it’ll be worth it.

That’s what I will miss the most about the Newsroom. When you’re new on campus, with no friends, it’s hard to find someone who knows and understands you in such a short time. We became a family not because we love each other; we became a real family because we couldn’t chose anyone else and we had to deal with these weird people.

In the Newsroom, we don’t always understand why Reece, the entertainment editor, is so chill yet so edgy with endless comments. It’s ok because he listens to all of our crazy stories and brings his dog, who we love more than him anyways; We don’t understand Makayla, the news editor, at all, or her love of chickens. There was never one Paper Night when she wasn’t taking pictures of us in our “natural state,” but her weird homeschool logic was hilarious.

46986557_700335267006997_8972904155630796800_nDebra, a staff writer, came in and made her place in our little club. She feeds us, and for that we all love her. Chocolate and coffee is the way to all of our hearts, except maybe Kendall. I will never understand the redhead power that is Autumn, editor-in-chief, and Kendall, the associate/sports editor. Their ability to pick at your rough draft layout is beyond God-like and makes you realize you’re just not going to reach their level, like ever. Kendall is blunt, especially when you talk or look at him. Be warned that he will take over the headline that you are working on. Autumn tends to be more polite than Kendall, and together they balance each other out. But advice for future students, bring headphones to class.

Kait, the photo editor, is probably the most normal. She’ll be nice to you. Just don’t mention her dead fish, either half. She does have a large amount of sticky notes in the jar, but you will definitely have a laugh when she’s around. Charlie, well, you know him when you meet him, no matter where or what he’s doing. He is just as weird as the rest of us, and he makes an effort to bring us together, be understanding, and subtly show that he’s better at writing headlines than anyone. In return, we love him, deal with his side comments, and tell him we are almost done when we barely start on our stories. I gave him a writer and editor, but he gave me this family, a major, knowledge, and guidance which led me to being where I am today.

Out of everyone’s weird quirks, we do understand that we are stuck together until at least the end of the semester, and I like to think we have a soft spot, even when we hate each other. We don’t choose our families, and neither did any of us when we joined this class. But I know none of us have regrets.

Paper Nights always mean family dinner, and family dinner means free food. So I highly suggest becoming an editor. Dinner meant sharing, and it’s where we got comfortable talking to each other about our lives. A tip for future students, just keep your hand on your face at all times. It makes it quicker to get to your nose. I’ll miss the vape breaks. It meant that the three amigos were leaving, so Reece, Makayla, and I could rant. Lastly, when Paper Night is over and everyone can leave, it brings a sense of accomplishment and urgency to get home and sleep.

I know my time is over here. I hope the next person who fills my seat understands how important this class really is and how it changes you. I learned how to deal with people when I am frustrated, the many, many hours it takes to make a paper, and how fast I can type more than 600 words. There are so many things that I can’t fit into one article. But I do want to share a life-saving tip to surviving and saving money. No matter how many opportunities you have to say something inappropriate, restrain yourself. Text your friend, and if you laugh, make sure you’re looking at your phone so you can say it was a cat video.

Unexpected journey at SPC provides unique friends, experiences

As someone who has lived in one place and been around the same people her entire life, goodbyes are always difficult, unwanted and confusing.

It’s hard to once again say goodbye to a professor who taught me so much and friends who became so close in such a short amount of time.

I graduated from Borden County High School, which is a 1A school in the middle of somewhere. So when it came to picking a college, SPC was not in my plans. I wanted to go to Texas State University or Texas Tech. I thought I would meet more people who were interested in the same things as I am and have more opportunities to try new things.

SPC was a last-minute, ‘parents-begged-me-to-do-it’ decision. They wanted me to stay close to home, which was actually a good choice for me. I still found a place where I could do something I was interested in and around people who are interested in those things too. This place was CM 130, the Plainsman Press Newsroom.

I joined the student newspaper staff at the start of the spring semester. Now, I wish I joined sooner. I came from a school that was limited to UIL events and yearbook staff for journalism classes. I thought I wasn’t ready to write for a college newspaper. In reality, this has been the best platform for me to gain journalism experience.

I wrote feature stories while on the newspaper. I have been able to meet some of SPC’s most interesting students. I was able to take their stories and tell others about the amazing things they’ve done. The things I’ve gotten to learn about these people helped me to learn that I didn’t need to go to a big college to meet unique people. So, I thank every teacher and student who allowed me to tell their story.

Charlie has been the most influential professor during my time at SPC. He has helped me gain knowledge about journalism and reporting. He treats every student like his own child. I can joke around with him, and he’ll tease me endlessly about things like my “boyfriends.” One thing I absolutely respect about Charlie is the effort he puts toward each student. He’ll put his time and money in to make sure his students are taken care of. He goes beyond what’s expected of a professor. I think he’s one professor most students will look back and say, “Yeah, of course I remember Charlie. He’s one professor who impacted my college career the most.” At least, that’s what I’ll say. Thank you, Charlie, for all you’ve done.madison farewell tina

Autumn has been a great friend on the staff. She has helped me whenever I need it. We’ve had some interesting and funny conversations between classes. That’s what I’ll miss the most about her.

Kendall was also helpful in the Newsroom. He edited any photo whenever I needed it and gave me his opinion even when I didn’t. He’s funny in his own way.

Adán is someone I’ve admired in the Newsroom. He’s always on top of what needs to be done. One thing I was surprised about is how funny he is. He’s so quiet, then out of nowhere he’ll say a sarcastic and witty remark to someone’s dumb question. I’ll miss that about him.

Randi and Meghan have kept me on my toes with all their partying stories. They’re both so happy and bubbly. They share that happiness with everyone around them.

Tina, this loud-talkin’, can’t-hardly-ever-breathe girl is something else. She’s probably the bestest (I don’t care that it’s not a word, Charlie) friend I’ve met at SPC. I still remember meeting Tina on the first day of classes during my very first class. Charlie made everyone stand up and introduce themselves. “Hi, my name is Tina Gonzalez. I’m a freshman. I’m a public relations major, and I graduated from Coronado,” she said in a very enthusiastic, extra kind-of-way that only Tina can. My first thought was “Wow. She must be really excited.” And now, we’re roommates. Tina is the kind of person who will always try to make you laugh but knows when you just need to talk or rant. She tells you how she feels and makes no apologies for it. She’s confident in who she is. I can see the amazing person she will become. She’s someone I admire. She’s been a great roommate and friend, one you don’t expect to make in your first year of college but hope is around for a lifetime.

The Plainsman Press has given me friends and a place to belong at SPC. The 4 a.m.’s, endless “no’s” from Charlie, Tina’s creepy comments, Adán’s sarcastic remarks, Kendall and Meghan’s bickering, Randi’s partying tips, and Autumn’s yelling, has all been worth it. It might sound like it’s too much to handle, and trust me, at times it is. But each member of the staff has taught me something valuable or given me journalist or life advice.

Autumn is willing to help and explain anytime you need it. Randi and Meghan tend to give some unusual but hilarious college partying stories. Kendall will edit your photos and help whenever needed. Adán will keep you on your toes with his sarcastic remarks to your obvious questions. Tina will keep you entertained with her overly dramatic stories. Or she’ll keep you awake at 2 a.m. with her coughing. Charlie will pull your best work from you with his redundant “EEhhh” or “Close, but no” or “NO.” It’s a family unlike any other on this staff, and I wouldn’t trade that.

I’m not sure how to say goodbye to any of these people. They all helped me grow to be a student, journalist, and friend. I hope to  go to Texas State in the fall and make great memories like I did here. I want to say a big special thank you to Autumn, Kendall, Adán, Meghan, Randi, Tina, and Charlie. You guys are amazing, and I’ll miss y’all.

Lifelong friendships created through Plainsman Press

The Plainsmen Press has changed my life forever.

I have met some lifelong friends, as well as having experiences that I will keep forever.

These people have made the newspaper class worth it.

The professor, Charlie Ehrenfeld, is my favorite professor of all time, even though sometimes he gets on my nerves. He knows some of my family from Levelland, so I cannot really act up. He is a really good professor and will help anyone in any way that he can. I was not a public relations major or journalism major, so I did not have any other classes with him besides newspaper class. But from what I heard from other people that took his other classes, they told me that he is a great professor. Charlie was always there for me when I needed someone’s advice about anything and would steer me in the right direction, even though sometimes I did not listen the first couple of times. Charlie always pushed me to be the best person,  as well as a student, as I could be.

Then there was Dominic. Dom used to always give me such a hard time about everything that I did. He would always make me laugh. He always used to tell me that I stressed him out all the time because of the crazy things that I did. But Dom was always there for me when I needed him. Dom is a nice person, even though sometimes he would try to play it off that he was a bad guy with a bad-boy attitude. He was actually the first person who convinced me to start taking sports photos and taught me how at a SPC basketball game. He also helped me when I was at TIPA. Dom was not in this class this semester but still would help me take sports photos and I talk to him weekly.

Matty is one my best friends of all time. I first met Matty at the mall when we worked together, and we also met through mutual friends. Matty was the person who introduced me to the Plainsman Press and I honestly never regretted taking this class even though it does not count toward my degree. Matty and I are such opposite people, which is why we got along so well. We kept each other in place while having a good time being friends. Matty transferred to Texas Tech this semester, and I will meet up with him next semester.IMG_0548

Tovi is such a motivating person. I used to sit in the Newsroom with her before class would start. Tovi and I both have English Bulldogs and would always talk about our dogs and send each other pictures of them. We used to talk about random things in that Newsroom. Tovi has such a big heart for life that is so wonderful. She would do anything to save an animal, as well as the Earth. She honestly changed the way that I look at life.

This semester, these people are not here, besides Charlie. But the people who are in this class this semester I am not that close with. But they are all very friendly and nice when I talk to them. They are a good group, even though it is a small group.

Plainsman Press will be something to always remember. I would honestly recommend it to anyone to take this class, even though it can be a lot sometimes. This class will change the way that you look at everything, as well as meet help you meet people who you never thought you would be friends with.

I will miss this class very much, and I wish nothing but the best to the students in this class next semester. I hope they have as much fun as I did.

Graduating student gives insight to college experience after military

by SERGIO MADRID//Editorial Assistant


College is a whole other beast than the military, but one I needed to switch my brain back to normal as I was in a state of constant worry in the military.

Seriously, it seemed anytime I was relaxed in the Navy, I would get in trouble.

I started my time here at South Plains College in the Commercial Music Building where I studied music. The more I learned about music, the deeper I wanted to explore it.

Some of the instructors, such as Sonny Borba and Ed Marsh, had some very interesting classes, which I attributed mostly to the way they deliver the information.

Though, after a certain amount of time, music theory and the way some of the instructors taught was causing me to become disenfranchised with music.

There are so many rules and regulations some have in regard to music and how it’s meant to be played. Also, most of the students there are worried about learning music rather than making music, which was my end goal.

I didn’t want to move around the “structure” of music, but rather let it move around me, the way I write and the way I play. I came to this conclusion a few weeks into my second semester, and decided to drop a few classes and look for another major to pursue.

Knowing that becoming a song writer was my goal, I looked toward literature and contemplated becoming an English major, as I wanted to do more than just read and write.

During this time of changing majors, I formed a band with a few old friends from high school who were jamming a lot while I was in the Navy.

We were hanging out one night and I told them how I picked up the guitar in the Navy and would write songs from time to time. I played a song for them, and we haven’t looked back since.

In my search for a new major, someone told me about the journalism program they offer at SPC and how good it was. I looked into it and decided to give it a shot.

After a rough first semester, I decided I could really get into journalism if I applied myself a bit more. Though most of the people who are pursuing journalism are not what I consider my kind of people.

I found some comfort in my final two semesters at SPC in the Newsroom, talked with some pretty cool people, and acquired some new skills to help me through the rest of my college career and possibly in my professional career as well.

The paper allowed for me to write about concerts, festivals, bands, dogs (mainly my dog) and other things I took an interest in. But it also allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and explore other aspects of media.

Other than music and journalism, I came across a few other classes I enjoyed, such as Geology. I became a member of the “Rock Whisperers,” the geology club led by professor Aaron Greene. There is also sociology, studying people, society, and doing interactive projects, taught by Brant Farrar.

Some classes took a lot out of me and were focal points of some of my semesters. Chemistry and college algebra were two among those classes. I’m good with math, but sometimes juggling everything I do outside of SPC and my class loads were a bit much. But it showed me that I am the type of person who can handle a multitude of tasks, though sometimes with help.

Being older, more mature and having many grown-up priorities, it is hard to connect with younger students whose biggest worry is whether their parents are going to buy them something. You want to hang out or meet up at a party or bar, but something always seems to come up.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy myself or vacation, but there is a culture change I want to install within my family. Most people in my family are uneducated and lack motivation to change their hardships. They don’t want to do more than they need to get through the work week.

I grew up differently, not wanting to be like them. I didn’t want to follow in their path of early-unwanted pregnancies and low-income jobs.

Leaving Lubbock to join the military was the first step. Finishing college was my second, and now I look toward continuing education, making a name for myself to honor my late grandfather, and setting a positive example for my younger cousins, my niece and nephew, and someday kids of my own.

Experiences in Newsroom inspire student to seek new path

by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer


The summer before starting at South Plains College, I went to orientation and met my advisor.

At that point in time, I was a Journalism major and was assigned to Charlie Ehrenfeld as an advisor. I went in and randomly decided to change my major to advertising. This wasn’t the best decision that I made in my life. I should have definitely stuck with journalism. However, I’ve changed my major more than the weather in Texas changes. Poor Charlie had to deal with changing my major for me and putting me into classes he isn’t even an advisor for.

While making my schedule, there is one class that Charlie put me in: Publications 1. It wasn’t until my first day in class that I realized that I would be writing for the campus newspaper. I spent most of my first semester learning and improving my writing. If I ever looked at one of my articles from my first semester in the Fall of 2015 and compared it to my writing now, it would be completely different. I ended up taking a break from the paper that spring semester. However, I learned during that break how much I missed writing. As soon as registration opened for the Fall 2016 semester, I was in Publications 2. For me, this semester was a completely different situation than my first. I was so excited to start writing again. I really started to venture out of my comfort zone with stories, taking on more stories than I normally would.

The experience that I have gotten from the Plainsman Press has already helped me tremendously. You learn to be confident in your writing. You don’t know who is going to read one of your articles, so you have to trust your own writing, especially when it comes to opinions. When I write an opinion, I am putting my own personal thoughts out for people to agree or disagree with. I’ve learned be confident with my own thoughts to share with any reader. The Newsroom also teaches you how important each individual is to the final publication every two weeks. It is so cool to see a whole classroom full of such talented people come together and create an amazing paper. Plus, thanks to the paper, I can now write 500 words about anything.

My favorite experiences from being a part of the Plainsman Press are from my concert reviews. My review about the I Prevail concert is one that I will always be proud of. This article gave me the ability to write about something I was very passionate about and enjoyed. Regardless of writing a story or not, I was going to the concert. I Prevail has been one of my favorite bands for a while. I spent weeks before the concert talking to I Prevail’s publicist to get a press pass for the event. It was sure an amazing experience to cover and review a concert as a fan.

For this article, I had to take my own pictures that night at the concert. One thing I have always tried to avoid is pictures. I will write anything but avoid taking pictures at all costs.  I faced a huge fear, and was able to take pictures during the concert in the photo pit. The pictures didn’t turn out that bad, if I do say so myself. I had one of the best times of my life during this concert, and I am able to remember it forever with my article.

The best semester, by far, has been this spring. I have had so many amazing experiences and formed relationships with so many great people. I could go into the Newsroom at any time during the day and just hangout. Even if I didn’t need to work on a story, I could always just go and sit in the Newsroom at the back table.

I can normally always find Sara in there playing music, and I could never complain about the station choices. The best music, in my opinion, was always playing in the room. Our Editor-in-Chief, Sara, is someone in the Newsroom I know I can always talk to. Whether I need help with sources, writing, or the printer, she has always been able to help me.  She is someone I can just go and hang out with in the Newsroom during my off period.

This semester, I have met so many friends through the Newsroom. Dez has been such an amazing person in my life this semester. We met at the back table of the Newsroom, which is my normal spot. Throughout the semester, I have learned a lot of things that Dez and I have in common. She is a really cool person to talk to and be around. We now message on Snapchat and geek out over tarot cards and colorful hair. She is now my go-to hair stylist after helping me get the orange hair I had been wanting all semester.

This semester, I also met Ryan, who will talk about Paramore and “Rupaul’s Drag Race” with me during class. We will sit down every Tuesday and talk about the latest “Drag Race” episode. We predict who we want to win and go home. It has been really fun to find someone to share things I enjoy with.

As for Charlie, I always loved joking around with him about my pink, and now orange, hair. I am so thankful that I was put in that Publications 1 class my first semester. My life would have been completely different if it wasn’t for the Newsroom. Who knows what I would be doing if I didn’t find my love for writing.

Being a writer for the Plainsman Press for three semesters has been one of the best parts of my time at SPC. I didn’t even know how much I loved writing before this last year on the staff. I will be continuing to write at West Texas A&M, but it can never replace the Newsroom. I’ve loved being a part of it. I want to thank the entire staff for being such incredible people. I will miss walking into a room that welcomed me every day.

Friendships, experiences give student everlasting memories

by BRITTNY STEGALL//Opinion Editor


Just like many great adventures, mine must come to an end.

Journalism is not just a career. To me, it is a way of life. It is my way of changing the world. I joined the journalism field in the hopes of one day changing the world. I believe there is good in this world, but someone has to be out there to find it. My love for writing goes beyond just diaries and journals; it is part of my life. Without it, I believe I would be lost. I did not decide to pursue journalism until my junior year of high school. It is one of my best decisions in my life.

Joining the Plainsman Press has also been one of my best decisions I have made since graduating from high school. It has been my second home at South Plains College. My first semester in college was the fall of 2016. To say I was nervous was an understatement. My second day of class, I walked into Publications. This was my first of many steps towards the career path I chose. The Plainsman Press staff welcomed me. They welcomed every single one of us with open arms.

My first semester on the staff, I was only a staff writer. You could say I was just testing the water, before diving straight in. It was rocky in the beginning, with late stories, nervous interviews, and long nights. But I would not change a single thing, minus a late story here and there. I learned what it was like to essentially be a journalist. I know when I graduate and actually get a real job in journalism that it will be very different. It will be longer nights, stories, and hard-headed people…. More than there are in this Newsroom. But I would not trade a single thing for a different chance.

This semester, my second, I became the Opinion Editor. That was not in my plans. I heard about how hard it was, and the late nights from 2:30 p.m. to possibly sometime the next morning, every other Tuesday and Thursday. I had no desire to be there that late, but a certain pinky promise made me change my mind.

Charles Ehrenfeld, a.k.a. “Charlie” to us all, is truly one of the best advisors and friends to all at SPC. Fate did not land me Charlie as an advisor, but my career field did. Near the beginning of my first semester, I made a pinky promise to him, a promise I fulfilled this year. I promised I would become an editor before a left. I want Charlie to know how thankful I am to him, for holding me to that promise. All the long Tuesday and Thursday nights were worth it. Through the struggles, arguments, and all the victories, I loved every bit of it. It was tough, and I wanted to pull my hair out and cry sometimes. But it was worth it. I learned so many new things this semester that I never thought were possible, and it was all because you held me to that pinky promise. So, plain and simple, thank you.

Friendships are something special and on this staff. You gain many. Many of these friendships I hope will hold through the years, no matter how far apart we are, or the different paths we take. You may not like some people, and you may get angry for people not turning in a story, but it is like a family. It is a family; it is the Plainsman Press family. I know I have not been on the staff as long as some, but I believe the experience is just as good.

And these are my experiences with a few of the editors: First, there is Sara Marshall, editor-in-chief.

My first semester, I did not think I wanted to get to know her. There was nothing against her, I was just hesitant. If anyone ever gets the chance to meet her, do it. She will change your life. I got to know her this semester, and it was too short to say goodbye. She is by far my best friend on this staff. She is always there to give a smile, hugs, a helping hand, or words of encouragement. Whatever you needed, she was there, even if she had a page or a story she had to finish. I would sit and talk to her for hours after class, and she kept me sane. Checking to see if I was OK, and just stopping to say hello are among her best qualities. She deserves so many thanks, and I cannot thank her enough for what she has done for me, not only on the staff but in my life.

Unlike many on the staff, Steven keeps to himself most of the time. We did not do much on the paper together, but he was always there to talk to. I do enjoy talking and anyone who likes to listen. He was always there to enjoy a conversation with. Steven always kept a calm composure, and he always had my back and made sure I was OK. Thank you for being a friend that I could always count on.

Computers and me do not really work well with each other, but Tyler showed me the ropes a bit. I know so much more than I did a semester ago, and it is because he took the time to show me how and teach me. New staff members joining next semester are very lucky to have Tyler. He is not only a good I.T. guy, but a good overall person.

A friendship that is probably one of the strongest in the room, I had more than just publications with Miss Brandi and Alex, and I am very pleased that I did. Goofing off during Paper Night talking about anything and everything are some of my favorite memories I will have with you both on the staff. Brandi had my back at times when I might have needed it, and you both always gave me a laugh. Thank you for being you.

Let me just say how scared, nervous, and out of place I was while taking my first photograph for a teacher feature I wrote my first semester. I barely knew how to even work the camera, but Tovi was there to help. She is one of the best photographers I know, and she gave me the confidence to take my first photograph. She helped me with the Man on the Street pictures and taught me how to grayscale and get the brightness and contrast just right. She gave me many laughs and smiles by just talking to her. If someone were the light in a dark room, it would be her.

There are many more people on the staff, but they are just a few who really changed my life. But there are a few people who changed my life and helped me on this journey before I began it.

My parents and brothers are always there for me, and they never fail to always tell me how proud they are. They are my number one fans, and my mom has every one of my papers. They are more than just my support system; they are my family. Without family, I believe you would go nowhere in life. Whether they’re blood or not, it is still a family. I always knew I could do anything because of them, and I am forever thankful for that. I love you all for being the support system I need.

To my wonderful boyfriend, Timothy, thank you. Thank you for always having a part in my journalism life. Thank you for listening to countless stories and giving me your feedback. Thank you for believing in me that I could be an editor when I was scared to become one. You always have faith in me, and you never doubt that I can do anything I set my mind to. You are one of my biggest fans, and I know you always will be. I love you and thank you.

So this is why my journey as an editor for the Plainsman Press has come to an end. In the fall of 2017, I will be at Angelo State University, majoring in Mass Media with a specialization in journalism. I plan on making the newspaper there a home. I’m not sure if I will have the same relationships I have on the Plainsman Press, but I will treasure every moment that I had here. I’m beyond excited to start my new journey, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.

Student reflects on friendships made in newsroom

by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Sports Editor


It has been a long, memorable two years, as I have discovered what it is I want to do with the rest of my life.

After graduating from Frenship High School in 2014, I thought I had a plan in mind. I was going into the field of computer science. I had always been good at math and was able to work well with computers. I spent my first year at South Plains College as a computer science major. After a year, I had discovered that might not be what I want to do. And after thinking things over during that summer, I had decided that I wanted to try to be a sports writer, and work for a university.

So, at the start of my second year, I enrolled in several journalism classes, including Publications, which is where my life changed. The first year I spent mostly writing sports opinions and whatever else was needed. At first, I was shy and was not real close to many of the people on the newspaper staff. But that changed when I became an editor for my final years, when I met many people who I will remember for the rest of my life.

Of course, I will start off with the man who has been my mentor for the past two years, Charlie Ehrenfeld. While it may seem like at times he was tough, he always cared about me, and all of what he did made me a better sports writer. I am the writer I am because of his blue pen, and I will take everything that I have learned during the past few years and carry it with me for the rest of my life. I will always be thankful for all that he has taught me.

I will start with the first real friend I made at the paper. During my second semester, I made a great friend in Haiden Hawkins. While she was only a writer for one semester, she remained around the News Room. I was always happy to have all the classes together and being there to help each other with school work, even if it felt like I helped her more than she helped me (especially with math). But I still enjoyed working with her the longest out of all the people I met at the News Room. She is an extremely quirky person who I will miss.

Then there are the people who I had the honor to meet when I spent my first semester as an editor, and got to spend some extremely long and fun nights with. There is Riley Golden, someone I knew from Frenship, but got a chance to get to know him even better. Riley is a great guy who I always enjoyed getting to know and learned about videogames from. Riley was always with Matt Molinar, a great person who was always there to help me when I needed it this semester. I got to know Matty even better. 

Then there was another person I went to Frenship with, Tovi Oyervidez. While I never got a chance to meet her in high school, I got the honor to meet her in the News Room, and I am sure she is the nicest person that I will ever meet in my entire life. She was always there when I needed something and was always doing things to help me out. I always wished I could have done more for her, and was glad I got to spend some of my 21st birthday with her. Thanks again for the present. It made the night better. I always have enjoyed seeing her, because, no matter what, she was always happy and will be hard to ever meet someone like her again.

Then there is Brandi Ortiz, who I got to know when we had a science class together with Tovi. I had fun eating lunch with her every other day before class while we all tried to get though geology. I enjoyed working through long nights with her because she was funny and always made me feel better. I got to have lots of fun celebrating her birthday with her.

I also met Alex Perez, someone who always expressed her emotions, while being a kind and friendly person to me. While I did not get to spend as much time with her, something looking back on now I would change, she always seemed like a kind person who enjoys her life. Despite not being as close to her as some of the others, I always enjoyed the time we spent together and will miss her when I am gone.

Then there where the two guys who I am close to. The first is Sergio Madrid, who I got to know during the past few years with the classes we had together. Then there’s Dominick Puente, the only person I can talk sports with and all the things that I did outside of class. I enjoyed the time that we spent between class together sharing stories of the things that he has done and what we are going to do with our lives. It was always nice to talk sports with you, since most of the others knew very little about any kinds of sports, and passing on what knowledge I have to help you out next semester.

Then there are the people I got to know during my last semester here, starting with Tyler York. Tyler is probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met. It is always nice meeting someone else from Florida. While we did not spend a lot of time together, I enjoyed getting to know you through the videos you posted, and the time we spent in Dallas. I enjoyed sharing a room with you and getting to know you. I am happy you were nice enough to put up with me on my 21st.

Then there are two non-editors, Jordan Patterson and Desiree Mendez, who I got the privilege to get to know. I was happy to spend time with Jordan when we competed together in the sports event at TIPA and helping prepare for that. Also, I was happy to spend a longer amount of my free time in Dallas with her, especially since we share the same opinions about most of what happened in Dallas. Then there is Desiree, who was always nice and friendly. She seems to think about everyone else but herself, and I will miss her a lot.

Then there is the very loud Brittny Stegall. She always says what she thinks to me, and she is always willing to listen to me. I enjoyed the time we spent getting to know each other this semester. She always seemed so pure, and the more time I spent around her seemed to make me a better person. I wish you the best of luck with your life in San Angelo.   

Then I saved the last person for the one who I will miss the most from the News Room, Sara Marshall. During the past year, I got to know her, and I am the biggest fan of why we became close. But I will always be happy that it happened. I always enjoyed being able to talk to you about what was going on in my life, and you being able to help me with all my problems, no matter what they were. I always felt that we were good friends, even though I spent a lot of time giving you hell, while you would relate me to a female dog. I will always remember you as one of the best friends that I have had in my life, and will miss you the most when we go our separate ways. Thanks again for all that you have done for me, and I wish you well in the future.

I will miss all of you, and the News Room, with all the time I put in there. I will miss it all when I am gone.

Newsroom changes life of journalism student

by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief


Some of the first words I ever heard in the newsroom were “The newsroom will change your life, if you let it.”

At the time, I just laughed. They were such unassuming words, innocent and empty. Or so I thought for a very short time.

I began my academic career at South Plains College during the Fall 2014 semester, right after graduating from Andrews High School that spring. Despite being in journalism all three years of high school, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to pursue an Agriculture Communications-type of degree.

After a semester of trying to do that nonsense, I realized my heart and soul was still in journalism. I desired to write stories that would move people to heartbroken tears, or want to laugh with sheer joy. I yearned to capture photos that not only told the subject’s million-word story, but added depth to my many words inked on the pages before me.

It was time I got back into the world of journalism.

Two years, several awards and multiple positions later, I’m realizing the weight of those very first words I heard in the newsroom. I quickly realized my dad was right; I should have stayed in journalism all along. In two short years, I’ve lived the good, the bad and the seriously ugly. But I honestly don’t regret a single moment.

Journalism can be absolute blast. But for me, it has also been extremely physically, mentally and emotionally taxing.

I’ve lost copious hours of sleep while staring at empty Word documents, trying to force some type of coherent thought on to the blank pages before me. Seriously, writer’s block is the stuff real nightmares are made of. And being a perfectionist with a procrastination complex makes it a million times harder on my already fragile college student mental and emotional state.

But those many, many lost hours of shut eye have led me to some of the most moving, brilliant stories. In two years, I’ve told so many stories. I’ve encouraged voices which had once been unknown to be heard by the world. I’ve told happy stories about beautiful puppies and their hard work helping people. I’ve painted breathtakingly painful scenes of a young girl’s repeated sexual assaults. I’ve shown that SPC isn’t as small a town as I had once thought (thanks, Banner Boy!). I’ve toured the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico, and was able to make lifelong connections to federal agents there.

This past year, I have been the editor-in-chief of the Plainsman Press. What a ride it has been. I’ve learned so much as a writer, photographer, editor and person. Some of my best and worst, moments of my last year at SPC have occurred during this time and within the Newsroom walls. But every moment was worth it.

Being in the newsroom, I’ve met some of my closest friends. Each newspaper staff member has touched me in some way, even those who were here only for a short time. I guess that’s the problem with having such a big heart.

Everyone in the newsroom becomes a family, in a way. Though we can be a bit dysfunctional at times, there’s nothing I would change. I love all my staff so very much, and I wish I could recognize all of you. But, unfortunately, I only have so much room on my page.

One of the first people who was nice to me in the newsroom was Jenny. Oh goodness, this girl has been there for everything I’ve had to deal with since joining the paper. She has seen me cry at the dumbest things, and she has laughed with me for the best moments. She taught me that it’s OK to brag about all the animated films you watched last weekend while you were home alone.

Jenny proved to me that you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself, even when there’s people who dislike who you are. Even though we don’t go to school together right now, she still tries to help me with assignments and stories. She tries her best to give me photography tips, even if they don’t stick. I don’t know what I would do without Jenny by my side the past two years, and I’m so happy to have her in my life. I cannot wait until I get to go to school with her again.

Another group of people I’ve become friends with is ‘the squad.’ This ragtag group of people are absolutely crazy, but they’re great. They’ve all taught me to chill out, and that I need to worry about personal health more than deadlines. Alex is a seriously hardworking girl, and I wish I could be as determined as her. Some may only see a pretty face, but I know that she has equal parts smarts and sass. Matty and Riley sometimes drive me crazy, but they’re wonderful and hard workers when they want to be. I know that Matty will be a fantastic heir to the editorial throne.

Then there’s Brandi. Oh my gosh, this girl has been my rock this year in the Newsroom. She’s a girl after my own heart, trying to be tough when the world feels like it’s crashing down around you. She’s taught me that it’s OK to be upset and that sometimes a hug is the best cure for anxiety. Sometimes you just need a hug.

More recently, I’ve befriended several other staff members. There’s Steven and Dom, crazy sports writers who know that I know absolutely nothing about sports. They totally love when I struggle to explain the sports section as we’re going over the paper. They’ve become the brothers I’ve always wanted, and I’m seriously going to miss the random, and occasionally ridiculous, talks when waiting between classes. We can level with each other and be real, and I appreciate that friendship so much.

Next there’s Brittny, beauty queen and occasional sass queen. She’s an absolute delight, and too sweet for words. I have no idea where she puts all the sarcasm and attitude in her little body, though. It will be a mystery for always, I’m sure. And there’s Hannah, who never seems to know which hair color she wants each month. Though her exterior seems rough and unapproachable, this girl has been the most dependable, trustworthy friend I’ve had in a while.

Lastly, there’s Tyler and Des, the two ‘adultier adults’ in the newsroom. Tyler is an absolute nerd who has shown me that technology is a lot cooler than I had thought, though I’m still learning about it. I don’t know if I’m friends with him because of how awesome he is, or because of how awesome his wife is. And then there’s Des, journalist, cosmetologist, full-time mom, Cub Scouts Leader, and soon-to-be Girl Scouts Leader. She has proven the value of never giving up what you want, even if you had to put it on hold for a while. She never gives up, and she’s seriously one of the strongest people I have ever known.

And the professors, goodness. Well, being the oldest of three girls, I’ve gotten used to my dad always pushing me to be better than I was yesterday. I had absolutely no idea that when I entered those doors to Room 130 in the Communications Building, I was going to inherit two more dads to watch out for me.

First, there’s Charlie. This man drives me absolutely crazy, but I love him so much. He’s one of my biggest cheerleaders and tries to give me every opportunity to put myself out there and go farther in my career. We’re both so stubborn, so we butt heads a lot (especially at 4 a.m.). But, at the end of the day, he’s still there, encouraging me in my personal life and my writing.

Then there’s my third dad, Billy. He’s never taught me, but he’s always watching out for me and trying to encourage me. Though he teases me relentlessly, I know he means well. Whenever I have a serious problem and Charlie isn’t around, he always lends an ear and gives me advice, which typically fixes everything.

My actual dad is just as encouraging of my journalism career. All of my family has been so supportive of my writing and photography, always reading my stories and calling me when they love (or hate, if it’s politics) something I’ve written. My parents are the first people I call whenever I get an award, the first I share my new stories with. My little sisters are the reason I push myself so hard to be a good writer, especially my youngest, Rea. I want to prove to her that even though she’s a girl, she can do anything, be anyone. My family is my biggest inspiration in my writing.

Lastly, if it weren’t for the newspaper, I probably never would have started dating my fiancé. We started dating the summer before I became photo editor, and I’ve been with him ever since. Devon has been there for every breakdown and struggle I’ve dealt with. But he has always encouraged me to keep going, despite all those moments. Even when I wanted to quit, he pushed me to keep going because he knew I would regret it, and he was right, like usual. If it weren’t for Devon, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now, winning awards and kicking butt. And I’m so happy I get to share the rest of my life with this crazy dork.

So, the newsroom really did “change my life,” as Charlie once promised me it would. So thank you to everyone who has made me who I am today. You’ve all helped me realize my full potential as a journalist, student and friend. I’m going to miss this life, but I’m so happy I have all of these wonderful memories.