Today marks the last day of my undergraduate studies at Missouri State University before my commencement ceremony tomorrow and this journey would not have been possible without all of the help I’ve received from the wonderful people I’ve met along the way.
So here goes, thank you:
Lori Gates - aka Mom - for always being a part of my posse.
Steve Gates - aka Dad - for teaching me to listen.
Ryan Gates - aka Leroy - for being an older sibling I can be proud of.
Gary Watts - for showing me that it’s never too late in life to start something new that makes you happy.
Rita Gates - for teaching me that sometimes the best medicine is a glass of wine and a good bike ride.
Kathryn Kamp - for proving that good Iowa girls can grow up and follow their dreams.
Gates Thomas - for always marking the special occasions in my life with the best birthday phone calls.
Polly Scoutaris - for showing me that life is full of adventures and whenever you can try something new, you should do it.
Sandra McMahan - for understanding that coffee is absolutely necessary to function.
Taylor Paul - for showing me that not all actors are self-absorbed people, and good guys that aren’t boring really do exist.
Jack Dimond - for always having time to offer advice, even when it’s really late in the evening, too early in the morning, or your day off.
Andy Cline - for sending my work to Sarah Bennett and getting me started at The Standard, without my life wouldn’t be the same.
Mary Jane Pardue - for having high expectations and always believing that I could meet them.
Timothy White - for making every film studies class entertaining and for introducing me to “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”
Sarah Bennet - for hiring me at The Standard as a reporter when I had no experience and for not thinking I was a crazy person to voluntarily copy edit every Monday night.
Leah Seiter - for calmly handling my first story assignment that blew-up when I accidentally pissed off the Missouri State Greek Life Coordinator.
Jon Poorman - for teaching me how to be a great friend and an approachable editor.
Lauren Healey - for showing me that being true to yourself is the best way to get through anything.
Lindsey Howard - for being the ying to my yang by balancing out my intenseness to journalism with your big personality that always makes people laugh.
Steph Anderson - for being a fellow Penguins fan in the land dominated by Blues lovers and for staying true to your passion for photography.
Michael Gulledge - for patiently helping me learn to use the clone stamp tool in Photoshop, along with introducing me to the idea of taking photos for fun.
Sarah Hiatt - for being the amazingly kind person you always are and for always being up for a challenging photo illustration.
Josh Campbell - for teaching me to be calm and collected, even when your assignment falls through.
Evan Henningsen - for always being willing to help out with photos and going the extra mile by shooting extra assignments during the week, purely for fun.
Nicolette Martin - for introducing me to BuzzFeed and being willing to take on the role of editor-in-chief next year. I’d be nervous about leaving The Standard if it were anyone else but you lady.
Kelsey Berry - for showing me the meaning of true kindness and for being the most positive person I’ve ever met.
Rachel Brown - for entertaining me each and every week with your cartoons and awing me with your endless creativity.
Karman Bowers - for being up for anything and for understanding my love of Dr. White’s classes.
Colleen Hamilton - for showing me that women can be great sports writers too.
Tim Godfrey - for showing me that real funny people do exist at Missouri State and for leaving the best voicemails.
Sam Holzer - for not judging me when I wore a yellow youth rain poncho to my first Cardinals game because it was misting.
Mike Ursery - for showing me what the meaning of being committed is and for always being dedicated to your work at The Standard, even if it means risking a bad sunburn.
John Robinson - for showing me how to accept constructive criticism to improve your writing every week.
Amber Duran - for showing me the meaning of being a selfless reporter and always being willing to pick up an extra assignment, or go the extra mile to get something right.
Trevor Mitchell - for making Monday story pitch meetings entertaining every week with your ideas and anecdotes about Walmart and the City Council.
Peyson Shields - for showing me what it means to be passionate about something you believe in - being healthy - and going after it.
Briana Simmons - for showing me that The Standard is a team effort, and everyone has a voice that needs to be heard.
Katie Lamb - for showing me that you can be a class act reporter, and a nice person too.
Taylor Burns - for volunteering to cover Circuit Court and showing your commitment to great news coverage by triple checking facts with the Office for Student Affairs.
Kelsie Nalley - for being positive from the first day I met you and for being willing to host The Standard staff at your parent’s house for our end of the year party. That took guts girl.
Kaycie Surrell - for introducing me to the wonders of C-Street and for showing me how to be a great features writer.
Thomas Bentz - for being the best friend a girl could ask for, and being understanding when we get busy and don’t talk as often as we should.
Matt Kile - for teaching me that putting your own happiness first isn’t always a bad thing, and that you should never give up on something you really love.
Christopher Kempke - for listening to me, and always being understanding when I needed a late night Krispy Kreme fix.
Brittani Tyree - for being the best roommate a girl could ask for and showing me what it means to be a good friend.
Raven Hayes - for showing me what it means to forgive someone, and that good friends are worth holding on to.
Mr. Wilder - for teaching me to play the saxophone and giving me my first creative outlet - jazz.
Mrs. Kirby - for introducing me to Harry Potter and kick-starting my love affair with reading.
Sarah Hill - for being my first best friend and for giving me a second family growing up.
Paul Farnsworth - for deeming me worthy to wear the Captain America T-shirt and for showing me how to be a good boss.
Gabi Markovich - for understanding my love of superhero movies and for wearing 3D glasses to The Muppets with me, even though it wasn’t in 3D.
Kelsey Loncarich - for showing me that you could be a stellar athlete and still look cute.
Kreslee Ketchum - for sharing books with me during our B&B days and for letting me know that I wasn’t alone in my obsession for them.
Kelsey Scott - for having a great sense of humor and showing me that no matter what happens, tomorrow will always be better.
Steve Herzog - for teaching me how to be a columnist and write with an informed opinion.
Trysta Herzog - for keeping me entertained, and informed, with your postings on social media.
Ben Loewnau - for helping me develop my passion for the Black Keys and for always being up to listen when I’ve had a rough day.
Cali Shobe - for always having an upbeat attitude about copy editing, even when there’s a small mountain for you to look over.
Gage Turner - for teaching me that if you don’t know the answer to a copy editing question, always, always ask.
Theresa Brickman - for being a breath of fresh air in the office on Monday nights.
Nick Stephens - for showing me that nothing in life is more important than spending time with the people you love.
Heather Wieprecht - for teaching me the meaning of true kindness and for helping me through College Algebra Trig.
Daniel Bogle - for teaching me what it means to be accepting of other’s opinions, and that even if you disagree, you can still be respectful.
Bobbie Sawyer - for showing me that if you really want something, you will find a way to do it - like moving to Austin, Texas.
Brent Rinehart - for teaching me to play Peggle and for being the best designer a newspaper staff could ask for.
Kandice McKee - for providing breaking news updates for The Standard, even though you’re not on staff anymore, and for always being willing to help the team out.
Lauryn Ashley - for being my travel buddy on one of the best vacations of my life and showing me that great friends can still have a good time together, even when they’ve been apart for ages.
Will Liebman - for showing me that when you have a goal and you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Jacob Baggs - for always being in a good mood and for always being ready to make the people around you laugh, even if it’s at your own expense.
Stephen Spicer - for showing me that life is what you make it, and that taking chances - like going to Argentina or opening your own business - are worth it.
Eric Bockhorst - for being the best little anyone could ever ask for.
Rob Stegeman - for giving me good advice and always believing that I would make the right decision.
Amanda Simpson - for showing me that even when life doesn’t go according to plan, you can still follow your dreams and be successful.
Dan Turck - for being an amazing Art class buddy and for introducing me to the music that makes my world turn.
Pamela Marta - for taking me on my first trip overseas and broadening my horizons each week in your classes in high school.
Ashley Jemes - for understanding me, and my love of film and theater in high school when everyone thought we were just odd ducklings.
Emily Atteberry - for showing me how to actually use Twitter as a journalist, and for giving me faith that someday, we might actually meet in person!
Kris Collins - for always having a good sense of humor and for showing me that some Americans actually like soccer.
Cody Mulvihill - for being one of the first people at Missouri State to become my friend, and for staying one all the way through.
Derek Yost - for always being positive and in a good mood at The Standard office, even when you’re moving mountains of paper across the hall.
Brandon Lentz - for sitting next to me in Macroeconomics and helping me pay attention to what Dr. Per was trying to teach us so I could get an A in the class.
Mr. Thomas - for showing me that you’re never too old to be a Star Wars junkie and that sports aren’t just about winning, but trying your best.
Justin Boman - for being my theater buddy senior year of high school and making my time in Neosho bearable.
Eli Yokley - for showing me that with enough gumption, you can accomplish anything - like creating your own website that people actually pay attention to.
Daniel Keeling - for always being down to be my movie buddy, or swimming buddy, or let’s just hang around and drive across town because we’re bored buddy.
And those are just a few of my thank yous. There are many, many more, but it’s getting late and this is getting long so I’m going to save them for another time and place.