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No. 8: The Student Who Died

April 16, 2017

A list of the top 10 memorable issues of student publications during my teaching career.

I have always had a special place in my heart for the many editors-in-chief who have worked so hard on the student publications I have advised. Being editor is not easy, but is such a good crucible for growth.

It is one thing when they move on, but quite another when you lose them. I have had to fire two, and two resigned, but one died…albeit the next semester.

In February 1985, I went away for a weekend for a faculty conference sponsored by the Journalism Association of Community Colleges. When I got home Sunday night I got a call from the parents of my Fall 1984 editor, who was still on staff. The 19-year-old was killed over the weekend when the off-road vehicle he was driving in a creek bed rolled over.

I have had older former students die from time to time, but this was the only time in my career when one died while still a student of mine. His parents were calling me because of the impact I had made on their son.

I broke one of my cardinal rules as a publications adviser and actually wrote something for the school newspaper –under my own byline, of course.

PREVIOUSLY: 10: The execution, 9: We don’t need no headlines.

NEXT UP: It was just a matter of time

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