Graduate Column: Dear Abby, I’m graduating…


Abigail Buenker, Managing Editor

All my life, I have somehow found myself serendipitously tied to newspapers. Growing up, my mom and dad liked to joke that my nickname was inspired by Abigail Van Buren, a syndicated writer of the “Dear Abby” advice column.

Not to mention that many of my earliest and fondest childhood memories involve newspapers. Because my father has spent his entire career in the print media industry, my sister and I were very involved in the newspaper business by extension from a very young age. I can remember sitting behind Dad’s big wooden desk at work, holding up the comics section, and reading the Snoopy strips. Later, I’d move to the classifieds section and plead for a litter of free kittens. I can remember walking through the press room, watching the finished papers roll off the belt, examining the ginormous paper rolls that sat waiting nearby. I remember intently watching my Dad using the paper bundler machine, seeing the dark room where all of the plates were laid out, and listening to him explain how cyan, magenta, black, and yellow mixed to form images, graphics, and advertising.

As you can already tell, print media is very near and dear to me.  So when I was asked to consider joining the Navigator News in my freshman year of college, it seemed only natural that I apply and give it a fair shot. Even though I started as a lowly unpaid sports reporter, I quickly found myself working as a paid staff member. Days later, I found my niche as the business manager and reporter for the Navigator. In my sophomore year, I decided to try my hand at editing and filled the role of Copy Editor. I was then promoted to Managing Editor. So much for volunteer/unpaid sports writing, huh?!?

In all seriousness though, these past two years with the Navigator have been truly special. I have been privileged to meet many people who truly care about the college they work for and study at. Being a member of the newspaper staff truly gave me a whole different perspective of campus. Though this is the last chapter of my story here at the Navigator, I would like to thank those who helped me write it (literally).

First, to the staff at Lake Land College. Thank you to the administration that has graciously allowed students like myself to run an on-campus publication. To Valerie Lynch, Marlene Meek, and Aaron Tardy: your hard work and dedication to student success does not go unnoticed! Thank you for providing an environment where students are able to lead and grow.

To my former editor-in-chief, Derby Roan, thank you for showing me the ropes and teaching me about design elements, copy skills, and leadership. Even after her tenure at the Navigator ended, Derby remained steadfast in her role as a mentor to Zoë and me out of sheer loyalty and dedication. On that note, Zoë Donovan: I have loved working on this publication with you. Even though I was always quick to point out errors, typos, and design flaws in your work (as any good copy editor will do), you gave so much of yourself to this paper. I know you will go on to be very successful because of your great work at the Navigator.

Most of all, I would like to thank each staff member that has made this paper possible. This year after only a week of training, we started as complete strangers with very diverse interests and shortly became a team. We laughed a lot, we worked hard, and only a few tears were shed in the process. I couldn’t ask for more. Courtney Reel and Trevor Hendryx, we shared an intense love for the 2004 Classic Disney adaptation of  “The Country Bears” that I will always cherish. Cedric, thank you for always providing comic relief and abounding conspiracy theories for all of our staff meetings. Will Starwalt, I enjoyed spending many of my hours chatting about the Cardinals and the Blues with you. Matt Harvey always “kept it real” and always brought creativity to the table. Madolyn Hackler and McLean, thank you for always being willing to pick up last minute stories and always following through with your articles.

Though I will not miss the late nights and the long hours we all put in together, I will miss the people I worked so closely with. As for me, I will be transferring on to the University of Illinois and will be majoring in Accounting. I don’t know what the future brings after that, but I will always cherish the time I spent here at Lake Land College.

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