By Abby Wargo
I have been dreading writing this since the beginning of the school year.
To say The Elm has been my life the last four years is an understatement. From the beginning of my college career I knew I wanted to work for the school newspaper; my small high school did not have a paper and I was eager to learn more about journalism. I messaged then-editor Cat Righter the summer before school began to ask about writing opportunities. She told me to come to a staff meeting at the Publications House on the first day of classes. I showed up that day and never looked back.
Before I knew it, I was promoted to Student Life editor for my second semester, and I moved to News the following year. After one semester of serving as the sole News editor (there is a good reason why there are two!), I was elected to be the next Editor-in-Chief. All by the end of my sophomore year. I was terrified I would let everyone down.
It took a lot of learning — about writing, interviewing, leading a staff of my peers, page design, etc. — to get me here. I would not be who I am, or where I am, today without the following folks:
To my staff(s!), Cassy, Lori, Erica, Theo, Victoria, Katy, MacKenzie, Erin, Gabby, Sophie, Izzy, Liz, Lorna, Shannon, Alex, Ben, Sam Huffmaster, Sam Clark, Mary, Nicole, Stephanie, Chloé: Thank you for making leading easy. You are all wonderful and it was a pleasure working with you.
Kevin Naff and Joey DiGuglielmo at the Washington Blade: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pursue different kinds of stories and for encouraging me to be more open about who I am. I am so grateful that I got to work with you all.
Team Lit House: Thank you for all your unwavering support and assistance when I needed backup. You are guiding lights.
Melissa McIntire: I’m so lucky to have had two years with you as an advisor. You taught me how to fight for what I believe in and how to be a persistent, scrupulous reporter and editor. I have missed your presence the last two years, but I am so grateful for your continued support of both me and the paper.
Dan Divilio, Trish McGee, and Leann Schenke at the Kent County News: There are not enough words to describe what you all mean to me and how much you helped me grow as a reporter and a leader. Dan, thank you for doubling as my editor and advisor; your expertise and guidance has been invaluable.
To my first EIC, Cat: Thank you for giving me a chance and hiring me as an editor my freshman year. You were, and remain, such an inspiration for me.
And, of course, to my second EIC Brooke Schultz: You have seen me go from a timid freshman to now. You also inspire me greatly. Your leadership pushed me to be better than I thought I was capable of. You taught me so much about what it means to be a diligent reporter and public servant. Your friendship sustains me; plus, you were the only one crazy enough to get matching Elm leaves on our wrists. Thank you.
MacKenzie: Tag, your turn! I have complete faith in your ability to lead this publication and in your abilities as both a great writer and photographer. Never forget that, and I am here for you whenever you need anything. I will always vouch for The Elm.
Lastly, to the readers: thank you. Without you, there would be no Elm. We exist for you all; to inform the student body and college community about issues that affect all of us. Thank you for trusting us with your stories; I hope I have done them justice. I love this community, and even when we disagree, we are all still a part of the same Goose Nation. Although this place is not perfect, it is where I found my place, and I will be forever grateful for that.
Onward and upward, y’all! Abby Wargo