By DJ Lincks
As humans, we often find comfort in communities, as historically it was through communal relationships that we continued to evolve and grow. The definition of community, however, has changed over time. From what was a initially a means of survival, to now exhibiting feelings of fellowship with others due to common goals or interests. This, in my opinion, epitomizes my experience at Front Range Community College, and more specifically, working for the student-run newspaper, The Front Page.
Often times, I feel as though community colleges, such as Front Range, are looked and talked down upon. I had my initial hesitations, as no mention of it was ever made in my K-12 experience as being a viable option for a higher education. Those hesitations proved themselves arbitrary. Front Range not only provides a quality education at a reasonable cost, but also an intimate experience found in the classroom, student life affairs, and more.
The only journalism course Front Range offers, is Introduction to Mass Media. I was fortunate enough to have taken this class with Katie Spencer, who was at that time a faculty advisor for The Front Page, along with Robin O’Connell. It was only my second semester attending Front Range, but the class provided numerous revelations. First, that journalism is very much still alive. Second, there are guidelines that journalists must follow, of course dependent on what type of journalism is being enacted. Third, and most importantly, journalism is an accessible career choice.
Like many, I had no idea what I wanted to achieve beyond graduating college. We live in a society that places heavy emphasis on having a “plan,” which can be an intimidating idea if one has not had the opportunity to explore options. Initially, I took my time at Front Range as a means of discovering what I enjoy, so to speak. I knew that I had a certain affinity for English literature; however, the only writing I ever attempted was academic, which felt far too mechanical for my own personal interests. I never felt as though I was excelling in anything, until attending Front Range. This was a turning point in my life, going from someone with little ambition or desire for the future, to someone who felt that they could do the things they had always wished to do, and do them well. This, of course, was amplified by my working for The Front Page.
A well deserved thanks goes to all faculty members at Front Range who provide their students with a safe and encouraging environment. I believe they are aware of the false associations of Community College, and that is why it is one of their goals to show their students that they are taking it seriously, as should everyone else. More personally, I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the English department, for it is because of their devotion and guidance that I found confidence in my writing. They are one of the most thoughtful, respectful, and encouraging group of professors I could have ever dreamed of having. It was not without their support, specifically that of, Tino Gomez, Jonathan Montgomery (current faculty advisor for the paper), John Sullivan, and Michael Zekonis, that I could have achieved this current position of Managing Editor, and personal writing goals. Each of their instruction guided me in ways I didn’t think were possible and has been much of the foundation from which I made the decision to further my education at Metropolitan State University, with a degree in English and a concentration on writing.
I could not have succeeded in my position without the help of Student Life faculty and staff. Mindy Kinnaman, director of Student Life at the Westminster campus, has been one of the most influential supervisors that I have had the pleasure to look up to and learn from. Her journalistic background has not only provided me, but the entire paper, with the resources necessary to bring the paper back after losing much of its staff and transferring to an online platform. She has been one of the most understanding “bosses” that I have ever had, always ensuring my workload was manageable. The Front Page would not be possible without the tireless efforts of Mindy and Jonathan.
This is not the first managerial position I’ve held, however, it has by far been the most rewarding. I have been incredibly privileged to work with a staff of talented and hard working photographers and writers, who always ensured that they met deadlines and brought unmatched positivity and support to the paper. Frankly, they have made my position quite easy. I am forever grateful for the wonderful staff I have had the honor of working with, and I am proud to say I held a role in their hiring. I have no doubt that these individuals will go on to accomplish great things, both in their studies and outside. The Front Page is being left in very capable and willing hands.
FRCC has provided for me something that I had always longed for: community. Working in Student Life for The Front Page has been one of the most formative times of my life. The experience I have gained, beginning as a writer, then working my way to Managing Editor, and the people I have been so fortunate to get to know and call friends, is one that I do not believe I would have found elsewhere. When I first began working with The Front Page, I was intimidated. Getting paid to write had always seemed a distant dream for me, and my lack of experience contributed to a lack of confidence in my writing that almost prevented me from applying in the first place, but I am forever thankful that I did. This by far, has been one of my favorite points in my life, as I have grown more in the past two years than any other period.
It is a bittersweet time, as I feel ready for change, but not to let get of FRCC as the second home I have come to know it as. I realize that change is always necessary in order to grow, and I am leaving FRCC as a beautiful memory. I know the connections I have made here will not unravel anytime soon. There is not much else I can say to those who have supported me in my time at The Front Page and Front Range, except thank you. I’m thankful for this experience and what it has it has taught me.
FRCC Student Newspaper, The Front Page Staff. Photo by Ezra Ekman