In 2013, I was a run-of-the-mill, skinny eight-grader looking for something to get involved in.
At the annual student organization fair, I signed up to be a contributing writer for the Paper Wolf, the student newspaper for St. Paul’s School in Covington, Louisiana.
My first article was a football game recap. The game just so happened, for some reason beyond me, to be played inside of the Superdome in New Orleans. It was against our rivals, the Jesuit Blue Jays.
Somehow, I was able to cover the game from the sidelines of the Superdome for my first article ever. I even got the press pass and everything. And wouldn’t you know it, the game ended in a last second field goal victory from St. Paul’s.
I wrote the recap article that very night – it was probably awful. Regardless, I was hooked. I wanted to be a student journalist for as long as I could.
I went from a contributing writer to a staff writer to sports editor. Writing for the Paper Wolf is one of the most fond memories I have from high school, and it took me to places that built the foundation for the person and the writer I am today. I was even honored as the 2017 Louisiana High School student journalist of the Year, and I attended the Al Neuharth Free Spirit conference in Washington, D.C. that summer.
Upon my arrival at Samford in 2018, I met someone that would have a profound impact on my Samford story – my good friend Levi Edwards.
Levi was the sports editor my freshman year at Samford, and he decided to give me a shot as a contributing writer. I remember my first assignment – a soccer game. Now, when I assign a writer a soccer story, I still think about that trust Levi had in me.
I soon afterwards became a staff sports writer for the next few years. And finally, I became the sports editor my senior year.
Writing has taken me to some incredible places, introduced me to some outstanding people, and given me the confidence that I needed in so many different ways. I know that as the decades pass by, I will have an endless list of highlights from my career as a student journalist.
While covering sports for the Crimson, I have been able to interview college and professional athletes at the top of their fields. I’ve been able to speak to the coaches that run my beloved Samford sports teams and discuss their goals, successes and failures.
In 2019, I even got to interview Harvey Updyke, the infamous Alabama fan that poisoned century-old trees at Auburn. And yes, that was a really weird interview, but one of my favorites!
I am so blessed to have attended a university with an athletic community that shares their stories so openly, and one that doesn’t mind me sticking a recorder in some faces from time-to-time. Though I may have never seen the football team make a playoff run, or Bucky Ball win the conference, I’ve covered some amazing moments in Samford sports history, and I will never forget those moments.
The theme of my story as a writer is that people took chances on me. And I want to thank those who trusted me and my writing.
Mrs. Christi Simoneaux, my first journalism instructor back at St. Paul’s. You taught me more about journalism than any other teacher or professor, and I had fun doing it! Thank you for inspiring me and taking my writing to new heights.
Levi Edwards and Gunnar Saddowey, my two sports editors at the Crimson. You trusted my writing and had my back when few others did! Thank you for assigning me with (mostly) fun stories, taking my suggestions, and always helping me when I needed it.
My fellow editors at the Crimson, thank you for being great teammates. I know that we will look back at Volume 107 with pride and good memories. Thank you to our amazing advisor, Mrs. Ana Good, as well, especially for those long afternoons of editing stories.
To my sports writers, both at the Crimson and the Paper Wolf, thank you for making my job an easy one. My favorite part of editing is seeing writing styles grow and evolve, and I am proud to have been along for that ride with you all.
After graduating in a couple of weeks, I will be leaving Samford with a degree in Communication and Media and a minor in Healthcare Administration. I will attend UAB in the fall to earn my Master’s in Healthcare Administration.
Over the past nine years, I have grown tremendously as a journalist, and I have come to love the art of telling stories. No matter what my career looks like, I don’t believe I will ever stop writing. I may not know what that entails, but I know that I’m not done yet.
So, in short, this is not a goodbye to journalism. It is a “see you later.”
Thank you guys for reading my stories all of these years. You’ve been a great audience.