During my time at CCHS, I learned a lot academically and spiritually and benefited from a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. As a transfer student, I can say there was a difference I noticed immediately, and that this school came to me at an important time – for which I’ll always be grateful. So many teachers had a big impact on me at CCHS, but Mr. Altena’s Western Civilization and AP U.S. History classes encouraged my love of history and pushed me to think more critically about the world around me – including the weight of context and the concept of worldview. The diligent effort needed to understand people who think differently than us may now be reaching new levels of rarity and importance. Mr. Okuley’s AP Government class helped set me on a Political Science course through college, specifically in Public Policy and Administration, and Mock Trial made me a better writer, public speaker, and critical thinker. I’ll always remember how much I enjoyed Mrs. Lavery’s Literature classes and Mrs. VanderWoude’s Creative Writing class. They really opened me up to different ways of writing and were often a breath of fresh air.
In 2015, I graduated summa cum laude from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Communication, including a Scholar designation from Valpo’s interdisciplinary honors college, Christ College. After graduation, I worked as a freelance writer for the Chicago Sun-Times before turning to TV news. I moved to Sioux Falls, S.D. and spent 3 years as a producer and assignment editor for the NBC affiliate there – helping build daily news coverage and running the 5 p.m. newscast. It was challenging work that included adding magazine writing and a retail job on the side to make it all possible. In August 2018, I moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, to produce the 11 p.m. news for FOX59 local news. It’s been an amazing experience to work in a top-notch newsroom, grow in my craft, and be closer to friends and family.
My time at CCHS prepared me for a rigorous academic experience in college, but it also gave me so much more. I grew deeper into a faith that would stand by me through challenging times. The concept that the Kingdom of God is here, yet incomplete, was something I hadn’t really been familiar with before CCHS but has since stuck with me. Our responsibility to help make things better – to turn outward instead of inward, to choose love and justice, and to be careful stewards of our planet – is a Christian responsibility that we are all called to take part in. I grew in a community whose support and encouragement to succeed gave me the space to grow, stretch and learn in so many ways. I’ll always be grateful for the foundation that was laid as I continue to explore an essential industry and a changing world.