» Patrick armstrong – parmstrong@my.apsu.edu.

How do I sum up the last six years of my life at The All State? That’s really hard to do. I started out as a staff photographer and I will never forget my first assignment: capture pictures of students smoking in the illegal areas of campus without their face visible. And yes, smoking was still an issue back in September 2006.

I could go on and on about the many different assignments I’ve covered and roles I have done on staff, but that’s not what I want this article to be about. My entire college career — both undergrad and graduate — has been devoted to this publication, and I would not have had it any other way.

Working here has blessed me with many opportunities and experiences I never would have dreamed of. TAS has given every staff member real world experiences no class can simulate. Not only have these experiences been worthwhile, but the people I’ve had the pleasure to work with day in and day out have made these past years incredible.

Most people do not realize how much manpower actually goes into producing one issue of the newspaper. Each week a talented team of about 30 to 40 people comes together for one goal. They sacrifice their time and energy to bring you the news, and that should be applauded.

We have accomplished a lot this past year. Being ranked 4th Best College Newspaper in the South and earning the title of Most Outstanding University Newspaper are just two of the many honors we have garnered this year. One person cannot take credit for this. These accomplishments and others have been because of the hard work our team has done.

We have given a voice to students and groups who have felt silenced and brought awareness to issues. For the last 81 years, TAS has been the true voice of students, and I am happy to say that same principle is practiced today.

I want to thank everyone who I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. Tabitha Gilliland and Jake Lowary have been mentors, advisers and close friends to me. Both of them have helped me become who I am today and I am eternally grateful for all they have done.

I would like to thank the administration next. Many college newspapers face pressure and censorship from their higher ups on campus. There have been stories they probably wish would not have been published — mine are part of them — but they still respect and defend our freedom of the press.

I’m not going to lie, these past few years have been really tough for me. The pressures of graduate school, the newspaper of course, the loss of my mom and other things have taken a toll on me. The person who has helped me through all of those is Tammy Bryant in Student Affairs. Words cannot describe how much you have been there for me over the years. You have been a second mother to me, and I will never forget all that you have done.

The last people I want to thank are the many people whom I have worked with over the years in Student Publications. Jenelle, Chasity, Synthia, Brian, Trent, Kristin, Rachel, Anna, Ashley, Eunwoo, Marlon, Mateen, Dru, Devon, Kasey, Lois, Amie, Jenny, Shanna, Tangelia, Dave, Stephanie Coward and Martin, Jess, Mandy and the list goes on.

One of the special things about my Student Publications family is we are just that: a family. We are there for each other during our highs and our lows. Whether it be a shoulder to cry on, a place to stay during the flood or someone to simply talk to; we help and care for each other.

I don’t have a catchy ending phrase like journalism giants Walter Cronkite’s “That’s the way it was” or Edward R. Murrow’s “Good night. And good luck.”

So I will end my final article this way: Remember the freedoms we have granted to us in the First Amendment. Religion. Speech. Press. Assembly. Petition. And do not be afraid to exercise them. TAS