A goodbye from the editor of The Northerner

It has been a long time coming, but in two weeks, it will finally be done.

Mom, I finally did it.

When I finally walk across the stage May 7 as a college graduate, she won’t be there. It’s been almost 11 years since she passed away. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.

I certainly wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

I owe my sense of humor to her, which has been quite necessary on this long and winding journey from high school valedictorian to (belated) college graduate.

In that time, I’ve worked in security, payment processing, on an automobile parts assembly line, as a tennis and softball coach, as a freelance writer, as a radio play-by-play announcer and briefly as a teacher’s aide.

I haven’t done it all, but I’ve been through quite a bit. And I would be lying if I said there weren’t some tough times in there.

There were times when I thought I would never finish school. Not only would I be letting myself down, but my parents.

So that’s why May 7 means so much. Not just for my mom, but my dad, who sacrificed so much for me to make sure I got to this day. He spent what free time he had when I was four years old playing quiz games with me.

I was the only kindergartner in Blanchester, Ohio that knew all 50 states and capitals. My dad fueled my desire for knowledge, and it has never stopped.

The reason I mentioned all of the jobs I’ve worked is because everybody has those times when they feel like things are hopeless. There are certainly people reading this that have gone through far harder times than I have.

We will overcome those hard times. It may not be easy, and it may not happen quickly, but it will happen.

It happens because we all have wonderful friends that help us along the way. I’ve been lucky to meet so many wonderful people during my years coaching tennis and softball.

I often think about these chance encounters in this world. How is it, while we’re traveling down the road in our life, that we are so lucky to have our road intersect with so many wonderful people, even if only for a brief time.

Soon enough, their path diverges and you say goodbye. But while those paths overlap, you make such an impact on each other’s lives. Even if you lose touch, those moments never go away.

So I consider myself incredibly blessed that, two years ago, my path took me to The Northerner. It turned out that they didn’t have a sports editor. I had extensive experience covering sports. So I came on board.

The last two years, and the people I’ve met, I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

So I owe so many of them thanks, for both their friendship and their help along the way.

On the current staff, I have to start with Mackenzie Manley. I can’t imagine having a better managing editor than you. You are so insanely talented and wise beyond your years. I couldn’t have survived this semester without you. Mack will be the next editor of this paper, and she will be awesome.

Even though I ruined more than one of his Mondays this semester, I also couldn’t have made it through this semester without Alec Reynolds. He designs the paper you see every week, takes photos, does videos and everything else in between. It has been great working with you both at the paper and in class increasing my knowledge of audio production. I can’t thank you enough, my friend.

To the sports staff: Chris Decker, Austin Elmore, Colin Johnson, Tommy Bailey and everyone else who has helped with our coverage, thank you all. It was great getting to work with you on what was a magical season for the men’s basketball team. Our sports coverage was stronger than ever this year, and I think it will be even stronger next year. I’ve appreciated everything you all have done, and I can’t wait to read and watch your stuff next year.

To the rest of our editorial staff: Cole Grecco, Nicole Browning, Emily Sherry, Hannah Hagedorn, Emily Osterholz, Fabio Souza, Brittney Gunter, Derek Daley and our engagement and business teams. Thank you all for everything you have done this semester. The fact we were able to put together 14 print editions and countless online stories is due to all of your hard work. I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve gotten to know you all, and I can’t wait to see what you all do next either at NKU or out in the real world. Thank you all.

Now, a few more people to thank. I can’t thank Michele Day enough for everything she has done for me and for this newspaper. Michele cares more about her students more than probably any other professor I’ve ever had. She works tirelessly to help prepare her students to work out in the real world. I have enjoyed working with you over the last two years. I’d like to think I’m a better writer today than I was two years ago, and you deserve a lot of credit for that. So thank you so much.

I was very lucky to work under two fantastic editors. To Carrie Crotzer, thank you so much for setting such a great example of how to manage people as the editor. I didn’t appreciate that until this semester when I was the editor! I also appreciate the time we spent on Tuesdays long after the paper had been completed. You are an incredibly talented writer and editor, and I know great things are in your future.

What can I say about Abby Anstead? I’m not sure I’ve met a more passionate person than Abby. There is little doubt that I won’t forget the many hours we spent together in the newsroom. I feel incredibly lucky to have worked as your managing editor for a semester. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Thank you for everything, especially your friendship. I can’t wait to see where your career takes you.

To Lindsey Rudd and Andrea Carter, thank you both for making me feel like I belonged in the newsroom. I felt like I made an instant connection with you two, and I’m happy to be one of the three peas in a pod. I feel lucky to have met you both. You are both incredibly talented and caring individuals. I will certainly miss you both.

And finally, to Lizzie Kibler and Taylor Upchurch, thank you both for being so wonderful to me over the last two years. You are both so talented at what you do, it inspires me to try to be better at what I do (whatever that is). You are two of the kindest people I have ever met, and you both never failed to put a smile on my face even if I wasn’t having a good day. It truly was a blessing to have met you two.

There are so many more people I have crossed paths with. I have had so many great professors I would spend another whole page naming them all. There have been so many great people I have worked with in classes that have made going to NKU a real joy. So if I didn’t mention you by name, please know that I am grateful that our paths crossed, even if for a few weeks. I wish you all the best.