By Paige Kube
November 2011, I wandered into the Sear’s Publishing House after finally learning from then-Editor-in-Chief Natalie Butz how one could join The Elm staff. I was expecting to see a staff of five people crowded around a computer attempting to put together the paper, as it was done at my high school. There were about 20 students sitting, and waiting for their weekly assignments. I still remember my first assignment, an article on filmmaker Kurt Kolaja’s documentary “A Season in Division III Basketball.”
In December, Natalie Butz asked me to join the editorial staff as a copy editor, beginning my nearly four-year dedication to The Elm. Since then, I’ve held three different editor positions, I’ve seen three staffs graduate, and I’ve survived 84 layout nights.
Eighty-four layout nights later, I would say The Elm has been the most consistent factor that influenced my college career. The paper brought me out of my comfort zone; it forced me to reach out to individuals I may never have spoken to otherwise. It tested my patience (you would be surprised at how few people know how to properly use a comma or a semicolon). It made me appreciate the team I worked with each week—my Elm family.
The Elm has come a long way since my freshman year. The editors before me have been building this paper from the ground up, and I’m so proud of how it has continued along that trajectory this past year; it becomes more polished and professional each year (with the occasional typos slipping through). However, none of these improvements would have been possible without the following people:
Emily, Kayla, Cat, Emma B., Sabrina, Hailli, Derek, Brooke, Hailey, Meghan, Carly: You are the reasons I would look forward to Monday nights and the reasons this year has been so painless. When I first considered the idea of having to hire an entirely new staff (with only two returning editors), I was slightly terrified. You have exceeded all my expectations. I am so thankful I could share the past Mondays of laughs, screams, Oreos, and freezing-computer-frustrations with you all.
Melissa: Part advisor, part mentor, part cheerleader. You welcomed my snark and sass at the copy-editing table four years ago. You’ve helped build me into the editor I am today, but also the person I am today. You’ve made me a more confident, courageous, and honest person. Without you, this paper (and probably I) would have fallen apart.
Emma Way: Your enthusiasm and love of journalism is what will drive this paper to be better. Since your first day in the Pub House and your first printed article, I knew you would contribute so much to the paper. I’m so glad I’ve been able to watch you grow as a writer and editor (Student Life for the win). I have all the confidence in you, and I cannot wait to see how far you go as a journalist, even long after your time at Washington College.
Elm readers: Thank you for picking up copies of the paper. The April Fool’s issue may contain Elm staff inside jokes, but the other 23 issues have you in mind. We wouldn’t operate without your readership.