Writing comes naturally for this left-hander

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

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Writing is not just my job; it’s my passion and dream.

Just a little over three months ago, I began an adventure of a lifetime at the Andalusia Star-News as a staff writer. As I reflect back from my first day until now, I feel like I have come a long way in such a short amount of time. I have learned so many things as an employee here and could not be more grateful for this opportunity.

My story takes me to 2011 when Kendall Davis of Red Level was in the process of starting a website to showcase the county teams’ sports. As a 2005 graduate of Straughn High School, I thought it would be fitting to give back to my alma mater and try my hand at sports writing. I began with football and volleyball and really started turning the game I had just watched into words. My articles began catching wind and soon enough, I saw I could turn this into something much more.

When the website we were running did not take off as we had hoped, I sought permission from the high school to continue writing on my own. The administration granted me the chance to follow Straughn sports, which I continued until May 2021. I also compiled the stats for the football and baseball teams and kept the clock for volleyball and basketball. Most people did not realize how much time I invested into this endeavor or the fact I did not get paid by the school. While I would have been grateful of being paid, the relationships I built with athletes and their coaches meant everything to me.

I made the hard decision to step away from Straughn in May and said farewell to something I never envisioned lasting 10 years. While working at Walmart, I turned attention to God and prayed He would find what was meant for me in life. I was waiting to interview for another job and came across a copy of the Andalusia Star-News. Looking through the classifieds, I saw the need for a staff writer and contacted Publisher Robert Blankenship. I shared my résumé and some work samples, and we had a few discussions.

Not too long after, he called to offer me the job, and I wrote a two-week resignation letter to my managers at Walmart. I arrived here at the Star-News on June 21 and have not looked back. Not only do I get the “inside scoop” on everything I write, but I have a lot of support from my coworkers who all welcomed me with open arms on day one. I’m not perfect by any means but take pride in what I’ve accomplished thus far.

From interviewing retired educators and sharing their endeavors to highlighting our local businesses, this has been such a fun experience. I have written some really heartfelt stories. Sharing a dear friend’s glass art was enjoyable, and it has since helped her get her name out. Writing about a tutoring business from someone I’ve known years was a blessing. Speaking to Covington Casket about closing their previous location was memorable. Writing about Reed Carroll being diagnosed with Chiari malformation and having the opportunity to be Honorary Captain for Red Oak’s fire department was heartwarming.

I thought writing about news would be challenging but have embraced it and put my best effort forth. While I’m still learning how to take photos at events and sports, I feel like that will come in time.

God is good all the time and continues to guide me along on this journey of a lifetime. I am beyond blessed to be where I am as a community writer building relationships inside Covington County. My parents are gone, but their spirit lives with me each day, and they would be proud of me for pursing my dream.