It’s been great, Andy!
In 1986, Robert Folghum wrote a book titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It is fitting, then, that the next stage in my life journey will include returning to the same town where I attended kindergarten, 22 years ago.
Next week, I will be moving to Thomson, Ga., and starting my new job as the editor of The McDuffie Progress. My father was publisher of this newspaper for a little more than a year, and during that time I attended kindergarten at J.A. Maxwell Elementary School. In perhaps a foreshadowing moment, I wrote a little poem in that kindergarten class that eventually won an award in the “Young Georgia Authors” competition.
I am excited about the opportunity that I will have in Thomson, in addition to the fact that the town is only two hours from Atlanta and my beloved Braves and Thrashers games. But at the same time, I am sad to leave this wonderful town of Andalusia where I have been living since November 2007.
Andalusia is actually my second stop since graduating college in 2005 — my first newspaper job was as the sports editor at the Hartselle Enquirer. And although I miss the wonderful people I worked with and met in Hartselle, I never really made much effort to ingrain myself in the community there.
It has been completely different here in Andalusia. I have met so many wonderful people and have enjoyed so many wonderful moments that I couldn’t even narrow it down. I had the opportunity to perform in my first stage musical with the Andalusia Community Theatre group; I learned how to make funnel cakes while working with the Kiwanis Club at the Covington County fair; I watched Habitat for Humanity evolve from little more than an idea in someone’s mind to the successful community organization it is today.
I can’t say enough about how especially appreciative I am of my church family at Christ the King Catholic Church, my fellow Kiwanis Club members and my wonderful co-workers at The Andalusia Star-News. You made a stranger from Gadsden who went to some crazy Northern college feel like he’d lived in Covington County his whole life.
I know there are readers out there who disagreed with my opinions, or didn’t like the way I shot a particular photo or wrote about a particular board meeting. I realize that is just part of the job. At the very least, I hope that my work made you think, understand, or maybe just put a smile on your face from time to time.
I’m leaving Andalusia physically, but I will always have my memories of my short time here. Feel free to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org any time.