Going way back, I look back at how a teacher recommendation and my passion for writing has brought me to study journalism in college. As an awkward 8th grader student signing up for high school classes with my counselor, I never realized how being a reporter and editor for my high school paper will take me places. I decided to take the course introduction to journalism as an elective because I loved to write and keep up with current events. However, I did not enjoy writing fiction and poems, so journalism was a good fit. Also, my eighth grade English teacher recommended me to take the course, because he saw I had an appreciation for writing and I was a strong communicator.

When I took an introduction to journalism and upon successfully completing the course my first semester in high school, I decided to enroll in journalism production for the second semester. This course allowed me to write for the paper and be on the staff.. While in the introduction class, I learned how to write in a journalistic style since it is different than academic writing. I learned many valuable skills and I was up for the challenge for writing for the paper as a reporter. My first few months I was cranking out stories, coming up with story ideas, and I was promoted to the perspectives editor position of the paper. My staff even attended the 2014 Columbia Press Conference in New York City. Once my freshman year ended I wanted to take the journalism production course again, but not enough people signed up so there was no paper at all my sophomore year. With no paper to write for I realized how much writing for the "Wildcat Chronicle" was significant to me which is where I decided to study journalism in college.

The paper was brought back my junior year in high school where it was an online paper rather than a monthly paper in print. This phase was where my journalism skills developed and our staff flourished. I served as the sports editor my junior and senior year, and we as a staff grew closer together. We competed in competitions and we had good success. Our staff won blue ribbon awards and our online paper became both locally and nationally recognized. As a senior in high school, I competed in the IHSA sports competition at Eastern Illinois University after winning third place in the sectional competition. Our staff went to the spring national high school journalism competition in Seattle where our staff took courses and competed with other schools across the country! We did not bring any wins at this competition, but it was a good way to network and meet others who were passionate on journalism.

Once I graduated high school, I missed writing for this publication. It was a true honor being on the staff. To this day, I miss writing for the "Wildcat Chronicle." I still keep in touch with the newspaper adviser who was my favorite teachers back in high school. It is now 2019 and it's a good time to reflect how far journalism has taken me. I like thinking about how a simple recommendation and supporting staff and adviser would influence my major in college.