Kayla Trail bids farewell

Kayla Trail

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When I was told that I had to move to Macomb in order to get my degree, I was devastated. I grew up in Davenport, Iowa — a town that has nearly 100,000 residents, so moving to a city that holds a little over 19,000, I immediately began hyperventilating at the thought of this tiny little town.

However, in the past three years I have grown to adore this tiny little town, and I will forever be indebted to the city of Macomb as well as Western Illinois University. I came here for an education, but I got so much more (I know — cheesy). I gained some of the best friends that I will ever have, I gained irreplaceable memories and my best friend proposed to me in front of Sherman Hall. Who wouldn’t be thankful?

I moved here with my then-boyfriend, Dominic.  I’d never lived with a boy before, so I was basically like Monica in that episode of “Friends” where she keeps crying to Rachel, “Now I have to live with a boy.”

In all seriousness though, living with Dominic has shown me so much and has saved me in so many ways. It was really hard for me to move to a small town with no friends aside from him, so I hit rock bottom quick and Dominic was there every single time to pick me up and push me to better things. You never let me give up on myself, my dreams or my education, and for that, Dominic, thank you.

Going into college, you’re always told to join organizations, join a sports team, join a club, make your mark on your university. As someone who is a complete klutz and as athletic as a stick — I chose to join a newspaper, The Western Courier.

On top of the Courier, I was also a manager at KFC, and since I have been an editor for the past three semesters I just want to formally apologize to every single editor in the office for bringing the smell of KFC chicken to the office with me three nights a week.

Despite the fact that I have heard students say that being an editor for the Courier isn’t a “real job,” I cannot even put into words the experience I have gained from this JOB. I can safely say after majoring in journalism that I have learned more about journalism with the Courier than I have in classes.

Nothing against the journalism professors, as Lisa Kernek was a huge support system in assuring me that I had a knack for writing and her expertise really taught me a lot. However, the hands-on experience that I received at the Courier office was more than I could have ever asked for in classes.

Even though she disliked me when I first started here, Erika Ward has quickly become my best friend in college. You are practically my adopted baby sister since I’m like 94 compared to you, but thank you for everything Nicole. You’re really the real MVP. You’re hilarious, you’re a beautiful woman with a great head on her shoulders and no matter the situation you always make me feel better when I’m in a rut or doubting myself.

You have pushed me harder than anyone, you ripped apart my articles to better my writing and you would test my limits and push my boundaries with writing so I could leave my comfort zone. Who I am as a writer is thanks to writing for my high school paper, my community college paper and you. Forever thankful for you as a journalist as you have held this newspaper together through thick and thin. Despite not getting proper recognition from our department when you are breaking news and covering hard stories — you always kept us grounded and you always showed your pride in us and in our paper. The Courier is your baby and it shows. Thank you for being the best boss ever. Thank you for also keeping Dominic’s secret safe and for taking photos of the proposal (Insert winky face).

Thank you to Cody Rivera and Lucas Whitten for making fun of me for a year straight and for making me want to continually rip my hair out. Lucas, thank you especially for convincing me that you don’t like me when in reality I know you have a soft spot for me in your heart. Cody, thank you for making my best friend Emilee the happiest she has ever been. I could have never chosen a better guy for her than you and I am internally grateful for the happiness you have brought into her life.

Nick Ebelhack and Shannon Norris, thank you for being my news brats and for always making me laugh. We are the definition of a weird family as we have stressed each other out so much, but without a doubt in my mind I would never choose anyone over you two to be my section buddies. Nick, thank you for always believing in me and for always assuring me that I was doing well in this office. Shannon, thank you for always making me laugh and for always making sure I never stayed upset or mad for too long. I love you both and will never forget you two.

To my newspaper little, Kirsten, from the beginning I knew that you were the best fit to take my place when I leave here and I’m so thankful and grateful that you indeed are my replacement. You’re so charismatic, you’re witty, you’re energetic and you’re so nosey (get it?). You will absolutely love the Courier and please, please take advantage of the resources you have in this office.

To the onions editor, Josh and to the sports editor, Adam you two remind me so much of my brothers back home so I’m glad that I got two brothers out of my coworkers. You’re both so snarky and sarcastic yet loving and endearing and I will miss your guys’ humor above everything.

Jake, my son, I hope that you take care of Erika after I graduate because someone needs to. Please make sure to throw away the empty Dr. Pepper cans and to make sure you provide her with coloring pencils and markers for her to use when she’s stressed out or having anxiety attacks. You’re an amazing man and you have such a big heart, I’ll remember to use my turn signals when I’m driving for you.

Copy editing, I’m sorry I have written so much and hopefully you guys have not rolled your eyes too many times during this. Jefferson, it’s amazing how funny you can be for someone who is always so
quiet. And Gwen, even though you support the wrong Hogwarts House I will miss you too.

I procrastinated writing this letter for so long because I knew it was going to be hard. I love the Courier, I love this school, and I love my fellow editors (Please leave the Oxford comma in there so I can stress Erika out, also leave this in here too).

Courier editors please do not give up or get discouraged when you don’t receive the attention that other organizations do. Believe in yourself at all times because that shows in the work that you all do.

Finally, thank you to Will Buss, my awesome adviser who constantly reminded us that adviser is spelled with an ’e’ and not an ’o.’ Thank you to Will and to Jason Woods and Darcie Shinberger for always believing in the Courier and for always commending us on a job well done.