Don’t look back

McGUIRE

McGUIRE

I started out hating the two things in life that have become my dearest passions: cheerleading and writing.

I discovered my love of cheerleading first. I was in seventh grade, and my younger sisters wanted to try out for Cheer America. I was dragged to the clinic and stood in the back doing everything the younger girls were doing — I had been a gymnast from the age of 4.

At the end of the clinic, the coach approached me, and asked me to join her level five team. I did.

I never looked back. Cheerleading will always be part of my life.

My second passion, which became an integral part of my career, was discovered during my junior year of high school.

Again, it was someone else who steered me in that direction. My English teacher coaxed me into writing for the school newspaper.

While most of the writers had one story per issue, you’d find my byline on multiple pages of the Laker Anchor at Spring Lake High School.

The next year, I served as the news section editor. I also took an independent study on journalism.

When I began attending Michigan State University, journalism was the obvious choice for a major. I never looked back.

The top-notch MSU School of Journalism, several amazing professors, internships and journalism-related jobs led me to my first job out of college as the county reporter at the News Advocate.

I’ve been here since December 2013, and I have enjoyed getting to know the town and people.

Professionally, I’ve made connections with people all across the county who are passionate about their jobs and volunteer work — whether it be removing blight or renovating an art gallery.

It has been inspiring to see so many people who jump in with both feet to improve their communities, who see potential and find a way to get there.

I’ve had the opportunity to cover some happy, feel-good stories, and some controversial ones. I’ve always done my best to be fair and accurate.

I’ve had fun, and I’ve learned a lot. I feel that I’ve grown as a journalist, and as a person.

Six months ago, I thought that Manistee might be my forever home.

However, life doesn’t always go the way we think — like that day I discovered I liked cheerleading or the one when I first put pen to paper (or, more accurately, fingers to keyboard) for a news article.

I have flipped the page, and found — to my surprise — that I’m entering a new chapter. I’ve only gotten to write the first few lines, but it starts with a new job as the business reporter at the Holland Sentinel.

I am sad to go — Friday is my last day — but I’m encouraged by the thought that my new home is not too far away. While I won’t “look back,” I will certainly be back to visit this great little town.

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Posted by Justine McGuire

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