Westminster It’s Been Real

Joining the 800News staff was never originally part of my plan. Writing was never my favorite thing to do, and English was never my favorite subject. From seventh grade until Sophomore year, English was one of my most difficult subjects in school. I wouldn’t score very high on any of my papers, and I always dreaded writing, it just simply was not my forte. 

However, when Sophomore year came around, I wanted to take on a different approach to English class. I wanted to ensure that I took initiative and was proactive about my grades that year. I told myself that I would invest more into the reading material so that I would produce better writing in the long run. With the help of my teacher at the time, Mrs. Thies, mixed with my better attitude towards writing, I was able to conquer my negative association with English class.

Later that year, I ended up falling in love with writing. I was constantly going back and re-reading my own work, making sure I corrected any little mistake. Something changed about my writing skills, however, it was not just the fact that my grammatical skills were substantially better, but I actually cared about what I was writing. This made all of the difference in the world.

In April of my Sophomore year, I received an email that I had been recommended to join the newspaper staff at Westminster the following year. This was completely out of the blue, I was not expecting this at all. As reluctant as I was at first, I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and try something new.

Ellie Jones

Newspaper is always the first hour of the day. Coming in on my first day in August of my Junior year, I was extremely nervous. I had never been on a “staff” anywhere before. This was all uncharted waters for me. However, I kept an open mind, and took the opportunity head on. 

In any class, the teacher makes all of the difference. You can always tell if they are passionate about what they do or not, and you can always tell if they care about not just how you perform in their class, but your personal well-being. Mr. VonderBruegge demonstrated these qualities from the very beginning. He made it crystal clear to us that he cared about us not just as his writers, but as people. He always wants to see us succeed, and he is always in our corner, which is so comforting during times when you think all of the odds are stacked against you. He is always extremely honest with you, whether you want to hear the truth or not. However, this is just another example of how much he cares.

The greatest piece of advice that has been given to me during my time on the Wildcat Roar staff was to always write about something that I am passionate about, and something that really interests me. This is why this class has never bored me, and I constantly get excited to write stories. I am given the freedom and opportunity to write about topics that I enjoy writing about, and this makes all the difference. I have grown so much as a writer over these past two years. I have both succeeded and failed, both of which caused growth in not only my writing, but my character as well. 

Overall, I believe that this class has contributed to who I am today. There have been ups, downs, and everything in between. I am so thankful for the relationships that I have created over these past two years, and grateful for the hands-on writing experience that will benefit me for a lifetime. It has not been perfect by any means, but I would not have traded this journalism experience for anything in the world.