I walked through the doors of the Hunter Welcome Center for my first visit at ACU and heard “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” by Matt Redman.
The warm Christian atmosphere of the campus hit me immediately as I was greeted by my advisors and other staff members.
They pointed us to the center of campus and the tour of what would be my home for the next four years began.
My family and I were taken aback by the features of the campus and knew this place was special. The dining choices and Recreation Center captured my attention. At the end of the visit, however, I toured the JMC department and met Dr. Kenneth Pybus, who would end up playing a big role in my time at the university.
Everyone knows I love sports, so when I heard of all the opportunities that were offered to student journalists in this department, I was sold.
My first year couldn’t have gone better. I already had friends coming in and was anxious to be here. I roomed with Colton Powell, Nelson Nicholson and Hunter Griffith. To each of them, I credit their openness and acceptance of me. I couldn’t have made as many friends or connections to the university if it wasn’t for them.
In the first week, I immediately got involved with our department. Colin Wieder, who was a senior at the time, met me at our departmental meeting during Wildcat Week and recruited me to the Optimist. I knew if I wanted to be great as a sports reporter/broadcaster, I’d have to start getting experience quick.
Wieder welcomed me to a friendly staff led by Brittany Jackson, Daniel Zapeda, Jessica Clark and Shera Niemirowski. To this day, I’m still thankful to them for teaching me journalistic skills so quickly and helping me to thrive in the newsroom.
Eventually, I was connected with Pybus once again and would also meet one of my dearest friends at ACU, Lauren Franco. Both have played a significant role in my everyday life and making it to the professional level.
Franco and I took in as many learning experiences as we could and talked about rising to the top one day as seniors.
ACU brought many new and exciting experiences my way during my sophomore year. Jonathan Raitz and Hannah Null became my mentors and close friends of mine at the Optimist. To both, I’m thankful to have known them and learned from their experience. I wish them nothing but the best in the future.
My choice of social club became the men of Galaxy and I wouldn’t trade my experience or friendship with them for anything. I’ll always be happy as a Moonie and cherish my opportunity to be a part of the club.
Finally, I met another one of my closest friends, Kaylie King, toward the end of the year. I thank ACU for bringing us together and giving me the close friendship I still have with her today.
In my junior year, I experienced a lot of the same things I did in my sophomore year but it was still a great two semesters as I said bye to two senior Optimist legends- Haley Remenar and my good buddy always, Davis Denton.
Here we are now, caught up to my senior year. Guess what, Franco? We did it, we became editor-in-chief and sports director of the Optimist.
The year was nothing short of how I wanted my last two semesters to turn out. It started with the football team completing its best season in Div. I, including an upset victory over nationally ranked Nicholls.
I was thankful for the leadership of Adam Dorrel and his willingness to participate in the coach’s show.
I got through the hardest class in JMC, Communication Law (thank you, Pybus). With my Optimist duties and my classes on top, the first semester was tough, but also an amazing experience.
In the spring semester, I participated in arguably the best Sing Song act ever. The men’s division was swept by our Galaxy Lumberjacks act, and I’ll never forget to measure in logs. I was close to not being involved with the act due to being so busy, but thankfully, several of my friends in the club convinced me otherwise.
Finally, both basketball teams saved their best seasons for Franco and I to cover- this is where I get emotional. We started the year by confirming we would run the first ever basketball coach’s shows in. My friend and ACUTV director Hutton Harris did an excellent job taking each step to make these shows possible. Also, Grant Boone was a terrific mentor to me as I partnered up with him to host each show.
I can’t say enough about both head coaches Joe Golding and Julie Goodenough. They led their teams with passion and intelligence this season. Both were also authentic in telling the story of this year on camera.
To be able to witness the entire season and see both teams hoist up the Southland tournament trophy was incredible. It also meant we earned a spot in the NCAA Tournaments.
This was the trip Franco and I had anticipated since we were freshmen.
She and I brought along our other sports editor, Owen Simpson, and journeyed to Jacksonville and Waco. Seeing our own school there, as well as other powerhouse schools, was an indescribable experience.
Once we got back, I had learned that Amber Chavez and I had earned both first and second place in sportscast, first in show production and I earned third for in game sports story in the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. This only added on to what’s been another amazing semester.
My time at the Optimist has done nothing but shape me into a skilled and efficient journalist with more than enough experience for the real world.
As I sit in the newsroom completing my website publishing homework on my way to graduation, I can’t help but think of all the memories ACU has given me.
All I can say as graduation approaches is, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul, worship His holy name.”