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Another step in the journey

April 4th, 2014

I never imagined I would be here.

At John Carroll, at The Carroll News, in this column spot.

Growing up, I wanted to be an athlete, railroad engineer, or meteorologist. But as fate would have it, I decided to take up writing, chose JCU and started writing for The Carroll News.

And now, I find myself as the Managing Editor of an award-winning newspaper at a well-respected institution.

My journey began in the spring of my freshman year of high school at Saint Ignatius, with one man showing faith in me.

Our world history class teacher told us we could receive extra credit by taking our essay to the writing lab. Always one to take advantage of extra credit, I nervously entered the writing lab looking for someone to read my paper.

Sitting in a tall chair at the back of the room, an ominous figure sat with a newspaper shielding his face. As I timidly approached him, he dropped his paper and cheerfully greeted me. I relaxed a little as he began to read.

He remained silent while he perused my essay. I squirmed in my chair. But then he uttered a sentence I will never forget: ‘You’re good at this, son, you should write more often.’

I took his advice.

I joined the school newspaper (The Eye) and yearbook (The Ignatian) and also started writing for SpartanNation.com. Before I knew it, I was moving my things into my dorm in Sutowski Hall as a nervous JCU freshman.

I decided to join The Carroll News, and was quickly part of the family. From the start, I felt welcome. Dan Cooney, Brian Bayer, Spencer German and Zach Mentz made me feel like a beloved younger brother. I moved up the totem pole from Staff Reporter to Assistant Sports Editor to Sports Editor.

I received many exciting opportunities, including traveling to Chicago and New Orleans, and interviewing Don Shula and Jim Tressel. I grew along the way as both a writer and person.

Then last week, I received the thrilling news that Alex Higl had chosen me to be the next Managing Editor of The Carroll News.

I was honored but intimidated. I had a huge responsibility: uphold  an outstanding 90-year tradition. So many amazing men and women have come before me.

As I began the transition process, my initial anxiety subsided. While obstacles confront me, my confidence is rising and I realize that this is where I belong.

Now, there is no doubt in mind that Alex and I are ready to lead this award-winning newspaper.

But before I launch into a litany of promises, I first have to thank those who have helped me reach this point in my journey.

First off, thank you for reading this column. Without you, the reader, my work would be meaningless. Your support keeps me going during those super-late deadline nights.

I owe a debt of gratitude to all the coaches and players who have made my time as Sports Editor both memorable and enjoyable. Always ready to supply a quote or a bit of encouragement, you’ve made my job fun. Some of my fondest memories at JCU have come from my visits to the athletic department.

Thanks also go to all of my colleagues, friends and mentors at JCU. You know who you are – know that I really do appreciate you. I’m incredibly blessed to know so many great people at John Carroll.

I must also say thank you to all those who have believed in me from the very beginning. I don’t need to mention their names here: they know who they are. Without their help, I wouldn’t have made it through Saint Ignatius, let alone gotten into JCU.

One last thank you also goes to my parents. They have been in my corner since day one, and have always believed in my abilities. I’ll never be able to repay them for all they’ve done.

But while I can’t repay everyone who has helped me reach this point in my journey, I can pay it forward. I hope to do this by mentoring my younger colleagues and helping others move ahead.

If I am able to do this, I will have succeeded in my job as Managing Editor.