It’s funny how I ended up writing this farewell letter to my friends and my time here at Sam Houston. I honestly never thought coming out of high school that I would end up in an editor’s chair on the second floor of the Dan Rather building writing and looking over columns about everything from the health care debate to what Brad Basker does in his spare time (you can’t imagine the terror).
I’ll spare you my personal story, but suffice it to say, it’s been a hell of a ride and I’m happy that I ended up where I have. My time here has been everything college was supposed to be, and perhaps now more than ever I understand what my parents and everyone else always said about college being the best time of your life. I have truly loved every minute of it.
Naturally, I can’t leave without saying a few words about the staff here at The Houstonian, my friends from debate and elsewhere, and even a professor or two.
First, my friends here at the paper.
To Joe Buvid, the best damn photographer I’ve ever met. We’ve become fast friends over the last semester. It’s not easy to find someone with your experience and commitment to your opinions and ideas. I’d tell you to stay true, but I know that won’t be a problem for you. Thanks for the good times both in the office and at the bar(s), my friend.
To Lotis Butchko, who knows that there is no such things as stories about sports, only stories about people. I’m honestly not sure that I’ve ever met anyone who’s as awful at news writing, but as good at profiles as you are. I’ve meet more than one person with your personality, but you’re the only one I’ve actually become friends with. Thank you for that.
To Meagan Ellsworth, the best looking reporter on campus. You know more about newspapers than anyone here, save Ms. Zeigler. I have no doubt that you have a fantastic career ahead of you. Thank you for your commitment to ethics and your knowledge, yes, but more so for always lightening the mood and keeping us on a leash.
To Heath Wierck, our illustrious copy-editor. Your twang and taste of music don’t match, but your rolling around in an office chair and random insults at Kevin provided endless entertainment. Lord knows someone needs to take him down a peg.
To the aforementioned Kevin Jukkola, who uses more big words in his writing than I do. I’ve never seen anyone contort themselves to the positions sitting in an office chair than you. Just remember, not everything that people say is subtly racist. Also, thanks for your random insults at Heath. Lord knows someone needs to take him down a peg.
To Kristina Salazar, our distinguished editor-in-chief and the only other graduate on staff. Thanks for putting up with my big mouth, my country music on the computer, my fiery opinions, and for granting me the freedom to be creative. Hope you had as good a time as the rest of us did and good luck.
To Ms. Patsy Zeigler, The Houstonian’s faculty adviser and oversight. There’s a reason I took about half of my Mass Communication classes from you. You’re a fantastic instructor, and your humor and experiences have taught not only those of us on staff, but all of those that came before us and will come after, so much about the business and how to become better writers. Thank you.
Even though this is starting to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech, I still couldn’t leave without saying a few words about a few of my very close friends in low places outside the newspaper.
To Jeremy Trepagnier, maker of the best burgers and steaks in Huntsville. Thank you for being the first person in my life to actually lighten me up and get me to open up more as a person. I cannot thank you enough for that, and I wouldn’t trade those beer-drinking nights on your porch for anything in the world. Here’s to many more, my friend.
To Ryan Bridges, most know you as the SGA President but I know you as a friend. You are both genuine and trustworthy. It’s a shame I have to graduate just after you turned 21, but at least we’ll get a week or two of cigar smoking at the bar.
To Adam, Clayton, Jerusha, Grayson, De and Clyde, the founding members of the SHSU Speech and Debate Team. I’ll always look fondly on the early mornings, late nights, and absolutely miserable long drives that we’ve shared debating all across the country. We built something great here that will be a true legacy for all of us. I’ve been honored to be a part of it. Good luck to all of you and all the other present and future members of the team. Oh, and you too Alex, almost forgot you.
As for professors, special thanks to Mr. Jim Jones of the Mass Communication Department for his work as the Speech and Debate faculty sponsor. How you make those drives all by yourself I have no idea, but I thank you for it.
Also, to Dr. Brian Domitrovic of the History Department, just like you asked me to, I read “Econoclasts,” yes, but Carl Menger too. Thanks for always having an open door so I can complain to someone about economics.
Finally, a special thanks to a former Bearkat, Jenny Swenson. You were my first true friend here and always will be. What would I have done without you? Thank you from the very bottom of my heart heart heart.
An extra word of thanks to the crew at the Stardust Room, my home away from home, my coworkers and bosses at Comfort Suites, for giving me a job and a great place to work, and everyone else here at Sam and in Huntsville for a great life, a great town, and a great experience. Also, thank you to all of you, my fellow Bearkats, for reading and supporting us at The Houstonian. We’re far from perfect, but for whatever it’s worth, we really do try and be the best that we can be.
And so we come to the end of a long letter, but hopefully you haven’t minded indulging me. I’ll leave SHSU with fond memories from great times and great friends. Life has a funny way of working itself out, and even though I never planned on coming here, as I’ve said, I couldn’t be happier that I did. I hate that this part of my life is coming to an end, but I look to the uncertain future with the same attitude that I’ve developed in my time here: as the great Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen puts it, “the road goes on forever and the party never ends.”