Senior Column: Onward On!


Olivia Shackleton, Campus Editor

I was already feeling anxious, stressed and overwhelmed when a herd of football players whipped open the doors of my mom’s minivan and threw every item I owned into bins and carried them to Pacelli Room 006. I will never forget the whirlwind that move-in day was, but I look back on that first day at Carroll and chuckle because I could not even imagine how quickly I’d fall in love with this University. 

A very significant moment happened within my first week at JCU. I received a personalized email from Mary Frances, the editor-in-chief of The Carroll News in 2016, inviting me to the first meeting of the year. I decided I had nothing to lose and navigated my way to the newsroom for the first time. I remember the buzz of the newsroom, as I sat on the floor, half-frightened and half-excited that I might have found an activity to join. That very same meeting I remember Carly Cundiff announcing that copy editors were needed. So, I swallowed my nerves and signed up to write a story about the price of Epipens rising and also claimed a slot as a copy editor. 

This was the best decision I could have made. Every Tuesday night from 9 to 11 p.m., I sat on the floor, talking to Bob Noll, our faculty adviser, about writing and theatre, editing a few pages here and there and observing the magic that happens on a deadline night. I would like to say thank you to Mary Frances and Carly, who exemplified strong women and amazing leaders. You both made me excited to join the paper. Thank you Laura Bednar, for always being the kindest person in the newsroom and making me feel like I belonged there. 

Sophomore year I stepped into the role of Campus editor. I wrote stories, found creative ways to fill space on the pages, had my fair share of InDesign issues and had late deadline nights every week. I felt like part of The Carroll News family. Thank you Tipton Woodard for challenging me to finish before Op/Ed did (Campus always finished first) and making me laugh all the time. Thank you Ryan Brown for setting a great example of what a strong, confident and charismatic leader looks like. Thank you for answering all the questions I had, and know that I will continue asking questions in the coming months. Thank you Julie Hullett for being one of my biggest supporters and my best friend. You inspire me every single day with your dedication to journalism and your work ethic.

I took on the role of editor-in-chief as a junior, and I am so grateful to the incredible staff I was able to lead. Ella Schuellerman and Rachel Scully, you both truly shined as you stepped into the roles of co-editors for Arts & Life. You brought fresh, unique ideas and were always ready for a new challenge. Kyle Kelly, you may think you are just the sports guy, but you brought so much more to the table. You brought humor and dedication. I am in awe of how hard you work, and I cannot wait to see you break into the sports broadcasting world. Pierce, thank you for sharing your talent and passion for photography. It was so much fun reading your pages each week. Andrew Gilkey, thank you for taking Sudoku out of Diversions. Best decision ever. I always laughed as I edited your page. Last, but certainly not least, Kathleen Mackey. Kathleen, thank you for being there for me, answering all my calls, navigating every challenge and experiencing every high and low with me. We made such a good team, and I would not have wanted anyone else to be my managing editor. I love all of you.

When I returned to the role of Campus editor this year, I had a blast writing, editing, procrastinating, jamming to music and laughing. Thank you to my wonderful co-editor, Megan Grantham. Megan, I am incredibly happy that we were able to be co-editors and sit side-by-side every Tuesday and make the Campus pages come to life. Thank you for always making me feel like I could fix any issue or make any page look better. Thank you for only saying “Olivia” and rolling your eyes a moderate amount. Thank you for being such a hilarious, sweet person — you are the best. Josie Schuman, thank you for the abundant laughter you brought to the newsroom. Your presence made us so much closer as a staff. I am so glad I got to know this year, and I am looking forward to more years of friendship. Hit me up if you ever need a good headline. Nick Sack, my man, thank you for being a great copy editor. I am so glad we are buds now and that I had a semester and a half to make fun of you. I will definitely miss it. Carson Shipley, thank you for being the best business manager to ever grace the paper. You are an expert conspiracy theorist and can give one hell of a business pitch. 

Thank you, Sophia Maltese. Sophia, I cannot overstate my gratefulness that you joined the paper and came into my life. Thank you for making me laugh to the point where I fall out of my chair, talking endlessly with me about the people we love, listening to every last rant, taking political science classes with me, occasionally vlogging with me and for everything else. I am so proud that you are going to be editor-in-chief, and I know that you will “whip” the newsroom into shape. I don’t think I have ever met someone as dedicated to this organization as you are. You are going to shine.

I’d be remiss if I did not mention some of the faculty that touched my life. A huge thank you to Bob Noll. Bob, you gave me the confidence to write and edit during my freshman year. You continued your support in every endeavor I took on — whether it be writing, editing or theatre. Thank you so much. 

Dr. B, you inspire me to be a better journalist. Every time I wrote a story, you made sure to verify (I will never forget the rap!!) all the information and made sure I was contacting the proper sources. You took on the role of faculty adviser as I took on editor-in-chief, and although I cannot claim it was smooth sailing every week, I can say that I am extremely thankful for all we learned together. Thank you for all the pep talks you gave me. Thank you for all the knowledge you imparted. You have done a fantastic job advising the staff. I hope you know how much I appreciate you.

Dr. Swearingen, thank you for being a cornerstone in my Carroll experience. You have always been one of my biggest supporters and have cared about me and my goals. Thank you for answering all my questions, giving me advice, doing countless interviews, responding to my emails and listening to me talk about any challenges I faced throughout the years. You have made such a significant impact on me and my future. 

Professor Schiavoni, thank you for being the most positive, encouraging professor. Both classes I have taken with you rank among my favorite classes I’ve ever taken. You are so kind and caring, and you have a wonderful talent for teaching. I’m so thankful for you.

Thank you to my friends who supported me during these four years. Thank you Betsy Love, Davey Jenkins, Francis Boccuzzi, Mackenzie Clinger, Matt Wilson, Heather Sanderell, Lauren Stepanski and Kyle Blasinsky for bullying me but also being the best friends I could have ever asked for. You are truly the sweetest, funniest and most kind-hearted people I have ever met. Thank you Alex Bokatch for always slapping me in the right direction — I am so glad that I had someone to motivate me every step of the way. Thank you John Palumbo and Mariella van der Sulijs for not wavering on your strongly-held opinions; you have taught me to be confident in what I believe. Thank you Megan Parker and Dorothy Swagler for being such great, supportive friends.

Thank you to my family. I am sure it was not fun to hear every single one of my Carroll News stories, but you always listened. Thank you for supporting me as I grew as a writer and an editor. Thank you for being so excited for me as I take my next step and move to D.C. I am not sure how I got so lucky to have such a wonderful family.

This column may have turned into a blitz of names and thanks, but these four years are so meaningful to me because of the people who filled them. Whenever I hear the tour guides tout that John Carroll is special because of the people, I smile because I know just how true that is.