I began my first newspaper when I was in grade school. Well, it was more of pamphlet and was just two pieces of paper, but when it was finished, I had a feature story about my aunt and uncle (huge conflict of interest, by the way) moving into the neighborhood on the front page and it was placed into the mailboxes of everyone in the neighborhood.
Then the mail person hit me with the fact that technically that was a federal offense (getting into someone else’s mailbox) so my operation was shut down. My lime-green pamphlet with clip art of a house was no more.
Later, toward the end of my freshman year in high school, my English teacher, Karen Cook, suggested to me that I join the yearbook staff. So of course, I took it and ran with it. With some growing up, I was editor in-chief of the yearbook.
Then I knew I had to go to college. But I had no idea where to go. Being a first-generation college student, I had no idea how to search for a school or even what I wanted. I honestly don’t even remember when I decided to be a journalist, but I knew. With the guidance of Ms. Cook, I moved to Kilgore and attended Kilgore College—a small community college in East Texas. Ms. Cook knew the adviser of The Flare, Rachel Stallard, and Mrs. Stallard drove all the way to Malakoff (around an hour and 30 minutes) to meet me. I showed her my work, and I think she was impressed. I did not know at that moment I had met one of the best mentors in my life.
Finally, I was at Kilgore. I made my way through the ranks at The Flare. I started as features editor, then managing editor and then spent a year as the editor-in-chief. I was the hot-shot editor that thought she knew everything and did a pretty good job of guiding a group. My life truly changed at Kilgore College, through experiences, good and bad. I learned so much.
Then, adviser of The Pine Log, Amy Roquemore, visited our class in an attempt to recruit transfer students. I’ve always been pretty stubborn, so I continued to insist I was still thinking about going to the University of Texas at Arlington, while in the back of my mind, I knew I wasn’t going to go. But I thought I had to have some grand scheme to choose a college, when in reality, it was sitting right in front of me. Stallard had attended SFA, my design mentor had worked on The Pine Log, and several other alumni had done the same thing: The Flare to The Pine Log. In other words, I am involved in a long line of Flare/Pine Log family.
I don’t think I would change a thing. I’m very much a believer that you have to make the best of the situation you’re in, and I think I’ve done just that. I came in knowing I would be editor-in-chief of The Pine Log one day, and here I am.
Through my time in working on publications (all seven years) I’ve seen Austin’s 6th Street from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Halloween weekend, saw a woman shove a nail up her nose, visited Selena’s memorial, ate at the original Whataburger and so much more.
I’m proud of myself, and I still can’t believe I’m going to graduate in August. I’m a first-generation student and the daughter of a single mother who showed me how to work hard in the face of adversity. I’m so thankful for the leaders and mentors in my life along with my friends and the people who have helped me get to this place in my life.