To Selma: A fond farewell

Published 8:06 pm Thursday, July 19, 2012

I’ve had roughly two weeks to prepare for this — my farewell column — and still I haven’t found the words I want to use to describe my three months here.

When I arrived in Selma in early May, I hit the ground running and immersed myself in the Selma community the best way I knew how: covering events hosted by you, the residents of Selma.

Each and every one of you made my transition from college life to the real world easier than anyone had predicted. In the past four-plus years I’ve spent here in Alabama, I’ve fallen in love with everything about the state and its people and am proud to call it my home.

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But, with that being said, I’m off to embark on a new chapter of my career at a newspaper in Washington, D.C. And while I’m excited to be moving to what I consider the Mecca of the journalism field during an election year, leaving Alabama has been much more difficult that I expected.

In a short period of time, Selma taught me so much about both my writing and myself, and I feel like it better prepared me for a career in journalism than any class I ever took at the University of Alabama during my four years there.

To everyone at the Times-Journal, thank you for your advice, your friendship and for making me excited to come into work everyday.

To Melissa, thanks for always greeting me with a smile and for the news clips we so often watched on your computer. To Michelle, thanks for helping me track down every Orrville resident imaginable and for always keeping me in line. To Karen, thanks for the countless directions you’ve given me and for keeping me laughing. To Robert, thanks for your guidance, your connections and the trips we took in the cleanest car I’ve ever seen. To Bill, thanks for your advice, your emails and your newsroom visits. To Dennis, thanks for taking a chance on hiring an Alabama graduate and for your frequent words of encouragement. I’m sorry we never got a chance to hit the links. To Stephanie, thanks for the lunches and dinners we shared. To Lynn, thanks for always making sure I was working. To Tina, thanks for the Koozies and for your trips down to the newsroom. To Fred, thanks for keeping the mood light and staying on top of everything happening outside of Selma. To Jean, thanks for the countless kind words, the museum tour and for lunch.

To Ashley, I don’t know what I’d do without you. We golfed, played tennis, had dinner and spent a lot of time together. I’m so thankful that you decided to come to Selma with me after graduation last May. I promise we’ll remain close.

To Tim, I’d have never thought my boss could become one of my very best friends and writing mentor. You always kept the newsroom relaxed, which helped prevent writer’s block and kept us having fun. I’ll never forget the lessons you taught me, and I hope we can keep in touch in the future.

And to you, Selma, I cannot thank you enough. Although I’m off to new endeavors in Washington, I’ll keep memories of you close to me. I’ve loved every minute that we’ve spent together these past few months, and can’t wait to watch you continue to grow into the city I know you can be.

We’ll be in touch.