It was only supposed to last four months.
On a sunny May 1 morning 17 years ago, I entered the doors at The Morning Star to start my internship as a co-op student from the University of Victoria.
Introduced to a hard-working team of journalists, sales people, creatives, and production assistants armed with Exacto knives, I was shown the ropes of what it takes to put out a three-times weekly newspaper.
Sitting at that little desk with the shared, non-cordless phone and the see-through iMac computer, I used my film-loading camera, notepad and pen (smartphones weren’t very smart back then) to cover all sorts of fun community events.
I photographed my very first Falkland Stampede, Funtastic and IPE.
I rappelled off a cliff at Ellison Provincial Park and watched from an airplane as the SkyHawks Canadian Forces parachute demonstration team jumped mere centimeters from where I was clipped in.
By August, I had fallen in love with this community – not only with the stunning beauty of the North Okanagan, but with its generous, warm-hearted people.
So when the entertainment editor at the time decided to give his notice at the end of summer, and the job was offered to me, I jumped in with both feet.
Here I have remained, covering the artistic minds and creative talents that have enriched so many lives, mine included. I have learned, grown, and have been supported by so many people, it makes my head spin and my heart burst.
Alas, with all good things, sometimes you need to make your own curtain call. And that time for me has come.
My feet will be firmly planted on Okanagan soil. This community has fed me so well and will continue to nourish my being and my family with its creativity and its genuine care for its citizens. We really do look out for one another.
The same could be said for my colleagues. What can I say? I count you as brothers and sisters, with our occasional cat fights in the sandbox of what is a very stressful way to make a living.
Lately, you have had to endure what is a complete about-face on how the news is produced. Like this dinosaur, you have had to get over digiphobia and join the modern world as a matter of survival, and you’ve done it with style and always remembering who you serve first – the reader.
You are the most caring, community-minded individuals who dig deep into a story with sensitivity, not sensationalism, and put out an incredible product day in and day out. A lot of blood, sweat and tears has been spilled for this newspaper, so never let the trolls under the bridge stop you. Keep up the fight!
As for me, I’ll still be writing and I will still be looking out for that rolled up result of some youngster’s first job at my doorstep. I’ll sift through the pages to get the real sense of this community. I’ll see those faces smiling back at me, the babies born, the goals scored, the politicians elected, the multitude of events, and all the highs and lows on what is daily life.
This girl may be leaving the newsroom, but not from her newspaper.
See you on the flipside and thank you so much for reading.