The final session was very powerful. We heard from our third former ASNE president. We started with Tim McGuire on Day 1 who encouraged us to make the most of our training at ASU and to take it seriously. He really set the tone. In the middle we heard from Rick Rodriguez who discussed the need for diversity in journalism. But our closing speaker was Gregory Favre, who was a great motivational speaker. He really put a cap stone on the enitre experience by cajoling us to keep our standards high and hold our heads up high – journalism is not yet dead. We are undergoing change, possibly painful change – but journalism is needed today more than ever.
Then we had our graduation ceremony. It was one of the most emotional experiences I’ve been a part of in my career. The 36 advisers who attended this Institute became very close in the course of 12 days. I feel like I have made friends for life from many, if not most of my fellow advisers. We were thrown together from around the country, not knowing what to expect. It was challenging – 12 hour days working together, eating together and even having fun together. We helped each other and encouraged each other every day. Many of us wondered back on Day 1 if we had made the right decision to come. For some of us it was a crash course in jounalism. For others, it was simply a wake up call to put our brains in gear and to find our inner motivation. But no matter how we were thrown together, we found ways to work as a team and become a family for each other away from our families.
At the final ceremony, we each got to present the next person their certificate and we got to tell the entire group something we learned about that person. We also had a chance to tell each other what we learned and how it affected us. It was emotional, inspirational and empowering to hear each of us tell our stories of nervous moments, teamwork, fun times, hard work and overcoming challenges. More than a few tears were shed. I know these two weeks will change how I view my job, my students and my peers – in a positive way. Applying to the Reynolds Institute was the best thing I’ve ever done as a journalism teacher. I’m glad to be going home, but sad that I have to leave my fellow advisers behind.
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