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See your name in ink

The thrill of seeing my name in print has long since worn off. After all, I've been doing this since 1990 and 14 years can be a long, long time some days.

But for many of my friends, their name in ink is a thrill -- which explains the e-mail I got last week from a high school buddy.

Greg Chalker now lives in Huntersville, N.C. -- just outside of Charlotte -- and was featured in a Wall Street Journal story about finding ways other than parents, loans and student aid to pay for college. Greg and I graduated in the same class, double dated with our now-wives, played on the high school baseball team and were good friends.

He was one of those students who unquestionably had success in his future. He currently works for Honeywell, putting his degree from Georgia Tech to good use.

It was that degree that was at the center of the Journal piece. The story talked about how Greg's participation in a co-op program helped pay for more than 75 percent of his tuition.

So on the day the story came out, I got a short e-mail from Greg with a link to the story. He was thrilled to see his name in the paper and it reminded me that some of the things we take for granted every day in our own lives may be a thrilling event for someone else.

Greg's story also got me thinking about my college career. It truly does fit in the career category -- I spent more than six years there. And I paid for very little of it.

The main perk of attending Augusta State University for me was The Bell Ringer, the college's student newspaper. I started working for the college paper in my second quarter and discovered a great perk: if you were an editor for the paper, you could get a scholarship. So by my third quarter I was an editor and had a half-scholarship coming my way. By the fourth quarter, it was a full scholarship, which eventually was accompanied by a campus bookstore credit.

It really was a sweet deal -- all it required from me was a little bit of work (OK, 20 or so hours a weekend of work) from me, along with getting the newspaper out, of course. It taught me newspapers in the trenches, giving much more of an education in journalism than my classes ever did.

That's the beauty of newspapers -- and many other career paths: They are learn-in-progress endeavors. I learn something new with every issue of The Mirror and I hope you do too. I'm so proud of the publication we've developed for Thomson, Dearing and McDuffie County and can't wait to see where it goes from here.

And I hope each of you will eventually get the same thrill Greg got last week: seeing your name in print. Remember, everyone has a story. We're just here to help tell them.

Web posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004

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