Parting Words for the Pride
As the end of the semester approaches, I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts with you all. First off, many thanks to you, dear reader, for reading our publication, whether in print or digital. The entire staff at the Mace has worked tirelessly to keep our community informed and entertained. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as we have enjoyed creating the content.
I know many of you are just days from graduating. I am very excited to be a part of the largest graduating class in ODU’s 85-year history. Congratulations to all of you that will be walking from Webb to the Ted, finally able to set foot on the university seal in Kaufman Mall. I hope you dance across it.
To the Monarchs that have time left here, embrace it. I encourage you to get involved in our diverse and supportive community. You can find both friends and a family on this campus. Your remaining semesters will fly by all too fast. Make them count.
As a community, we’ve recently had a few chances to respond to hate with love, inaction with advice, and prove that as Monarchs, we are an incredibly strong pack. Don’t ever let that sense of pride leave you.
I admit, it’s bittersweet to leave this campus behind. Leaving the Mace will be especially tough. I walked into the Mace office for the first time two years ago as a nervous and unsure sophomore. I worked through a ridiculous case of diffidence and found my true passion. My time here has been more educational and rewarding than I could have ever imagined. A very special thanks goes to Sean Davis for entrusting me with the Mace this semester. I had some pretty big shoes to fill, but I think the Mace put forth tremendous effort this year.
Fortunately, I am comforted by the fact that our little newspaper is in great hands. Adam Flores, who worked as my staff writer for Arts and Entertainment, and even took over the section this year when I moved up to editor-in-chief, will once more fill my seat. Adam is a dedicated and gifted writer. I know that he will continue to push the Mace forward, and I can’t wait to check in with him next year to see what he’s working on.
The Mace is also losing three more graduating students. Stef Wasko, our copy editor and internationally-ranked Irish dancer, Jason Kazi, our social media guru and advertising genius, and Sabrina Brooks, our super-savvy graphic designer, will all join me on May 6 for that celebratory stroll across the stage. There is no doubt in my mind that each of these people will make waves wherever they go. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Jason for his incredible and never-ending efforts round the clock, the hundreds of emails and millions of messages, and Jugal Patel for reinventing the digital side of the Mace. Without these two brilliant minds, things would have been much harder. It has been an absolute joy to work alongside everyone here at the Mace.
As a team, we tried to cover what meant the most to our community here. From events and lectures to social activism, from online shenanigans to pizza contests and higher education issues, we worked endlessly to bring valuable information to our audience. I couldn’t be more proud of how our small team pulled together, week after week.
A big thank you to our wonderful and ever-so-brave advisers, Dr. Joyce Hoffmann and Nicole Kiger. The support from you both this semester meant the world to us, and we wouldn’t have improved nearly as much without your guidance.
I’d also like to say thank you to some people outside of the Mace that have, whether they know it or not, greatly impacted my time here at this university. First off, I have to say thank you, a thousand times, to my Women’s Studies family. To Stacey Parks for hiring me two years ago and becoming a truly wonderful friend. To Bekah and Moriah for sharing an office and passing the time with laughs. To Vaughan Frederick for being a true mentor and constant source of inspiration. And to Jennifer Fish for taking me under her wing and believing in my work. I have learned more in your offices than I have in some classes, and I will miss you all infinitely.
To Professor Doucette, for giving me an internship at his newspaper, the Princess Anne Independent, and showing me the ropes of court and crime reporting. To Dr. Buchholz for forever ruining books for me – in a good way, of course — with critical and feminist theory. Sometimes we take classes we don’t expect to love, and they end up changing our worlds. And lastly, again to Dr. Hoffmann. I wouldn’t be writing this letter if it weren’t for you. Thank you for pushing me and believing in me. When I start at The Virginian-Pilot next month, I hope I make you proud.
So, fellow Monarchs, whether you’re graduating or just getting ready to enjoy your summer vacation, take the time to reflect on your year. You can do great things here, and I hope that you will.
For our last issue this school year, we’ve highlighted stories of some of our best moments. I hope you enjoy reading them. We’ve also included stories from some pretty fantastic students, or in my new friend Bnar’s case, a very proud, soon-to-be Monarch.
Thanks for everything,