Moving On

In a few short hours we’ll march another crop of journalism students across a stage, sending them out into the real world at our winter convocation. A quick look at the program saw about 60 in total, four of them are My Kids – fully vetted and prepped.

After what has been my most challenging personal year, I’m pretty sure the only reason I made it through was because of the students in my classes every day. Many of them have wonderful careers ahead of them, lives in which they will go into communities and tell stories of substance. They are not full-fledged geeks, nor are they arrogant about their backgrounds. I have no concerns about their future professional lives – as journalists, they are ready. They listen and they see.

But there is something else you should know about them – they are truly great humans, they are people who really care. And this shouldn’t, and doesn’t, surprise me because that’s the kind of kids I get, year in and year out. But this year, I really saw it because … well, because I needed it. Because those 16 faces, those 16 voices, helped to ground me. Helped to remind me that there were some truly brilliant things happening in life, things that I was very lucky to witness.

So, to Wes Blankenship, Lindsay Boyle, Katie Coon and Kaitlyn Frizzell who will parade before us today, and to Maura Friedman and Cody Schmelter who have finished the program but still have another semester left on campus, congratulations. And thank you.

Now, go tell stories that matter.

Mark E. Johnson

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