By Cassy Sottile
Outgoing News Editor
I cannot believe that after two years of serving as news editor at The Elm it is time to write my last piece.
I came to Washington College thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and while writing for The Elm was always a part of that picture, I had no idea then that it would become such an important part of my life. I graduated from a small private school in western Maryland that had few writing opportunities, but I was fortunate enough to be one of the few granted the opportunity to write articles for the school’s newsletter or local town paper. Upon arriving at WC, I went to the staff meeting at the Publications House the first day of classes, completely out of my comfort zone, and that was the day I sealed my fate.
I wrote for the news section for two years as a staff writer, working under incredible editors that helped me improve my journalistic writing and grow in my skills. Molly and Brooke, I owe so much to the two of you, and would never have even applied to be a news editor in my junior year if it had not been for your support, guidance, and confidence in me along the way.
My junior year is where my love for journalism and The Elm flourished. There was never a slow news cycle that year, and there were quite a few articles I had to write that were tough, either physically or emotionally. I did a lot of learning that year — about writing bigger pieces, meeting with and interviewing the administration, how much time and precision went into laying out the pages in InDesign — but I would not trade it for the world, and I definitely would not have made it through the year if it was not for my co-editor Lori Wysong.
Lori — in spite of it all, you made my first year as news editor almost easy. I could not have asked for a better partner to start my editor journey with, and I definitely will never forget our InDesign rages.
Returning to my position as news editor in my senior year was a no-brainer. Having the opportunity to build upon the skills I had learned the previous year and the chance to continue doing something I loved and make a difference was the highlight of my senior year. Though it might have ended differently than I or any other senior imagined, I would not trade my time at The Elm for the world.
I could not have written the articles I have without my sources. To the administration, the faculty of all departments on campus, Dining Services, students, a special shout-out to Brandon McFayden and Public Safety for always answering my weekly emails for interviews and reports and everyone else in between, thank you for helping me in my tenure as news editor and for always talking to me to better inform the community.
To both editorial teams I worked with, Victoria, Theo, Katy, MacKenzie, Erin, Gabby, Sophie, Izzy, Shannon, Liz, Lorna, Mary, Nicole, Sam, and Stephanie: thank you for all the laughs during late-night layout, support among sections, dealing with my constant requests for your issue highlights, and your friendship. I loved working with all of you. For those of you who will be continuing to work at The Elm next year, I wish you all the best.
To Dan: thank you for the guidance you have offered me and for always vouching for news. I would not have had the confidence to write the stories I did as news editor and would not have grown in journalism without your help.
To my editor-in-chief Abby Wargo: You taught me to fight for what I believed in and for my articles. Over the last two years, I have watched you grow into such a strong writer and leader, and I am honored to have served on both of the editorial teams under your leadership. Thank you for seeing something in me and choosing me to be the news editor. Without you and your support, I never would have gotten this far (or written about as many headline stories from gas leaks to bees). Thank you for always believing in me and writing, and for your friendship and memories over the last two years.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not thank my current co-editor, Erica Quinones. You always joke that I recruited you to write for The Elm during pre-orientation your freshman year, and while that is true, I stand by my decision in recruiting you to work for, and later with, me. When Lori graduated, I immediately knew I wanted you to be my co-editor, and told you so in line at Martha’s. In the two years I have known you, you have grown so much as a person and journalist, and I am proud to have been there for a part of your journey at WC. Your passion for writing is evident in your work, and I hope you continue your journalism career after I graduate. We became not only such close friends this year, but you became my partner, my layout screaming buddy, and the other half of my brain cell. All of this is to say thank you. Thank you for all of the Spotify jams, InDesign rages, co-writing sessions, racing across campus and town to get to interviews, and all the memories and friendship in between. You taught me how to be a better writer and editor, and my journey at WC and The Elm would not have been complete without you.
This newspaper became my family and I will always fight for my family, whether I am at WC or in the next chapter of my life. To all, thank you for helping me find a passion and home.