The Tacoma Ledger Staff class of 2021 ‘goodbyes’

Talia Collett, Editor-in-Chief
As my time at the Ledger and UW Tacoma come to an end, I look back four years ago when I first moved to Tacoma to begin my college career. I was alone in unknown territory and although I had dreamed it, never had I thought I’d be writing for a newspaper — much less edit and guide others while finding a family in MAT 151. My college career has been one filled with uncertainty, but these past two years with the paper have been some of the most certain in my life. Working with the Ledger and all of those who occupy our team, the campus and the broader Tacoma community have not only challenged me but have also guided me to discover my voice, passions and strength in leadership. 

To the Ledger teams of our past, present and future, I take great pride in knowing that I have been able to be a part of this community and pass the baton to the next Huskies who will work together to produce a high quality publication. To Ella Lucente, Aly Goss and Daniel Nash: thank you for taking a chance on me, trusting in me when I was unable to do so myself, and for your unwavering support. To each one of our amazing reporters, editors, artists and layout team: you amaze me week after week. I am extremely grateful for your dedication, patience and trust. I have no doubt that as you continue on your own journeys that you will achieve great things.  

And lastly, to the Class of 2021, congratulations! From a pandemic to new class structures and through the extreme amounts of stress and turmoil encountered this past year, we have made it. As we leave stronger together and walk toward the future, you give me hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Alyssandra Goss, Managing Editor
This is a bittersweet moment as the Ledger has been my home for the past two years. While saying goodbye is never an easy feat, there is an extra sense of remorse as I leave behind a fantastic team of talented reporters and friends. The opportunity to be both reporter and managing editor has left me with an unfathomable amount of respect and admiration for the effort, time and skill required to create a newspaper as profound as this one — to everyone on this staff, past and present, I want to say thank you for your dedication and willingness to create a work environment that feels more like family than a job. 

This is, without a doubt, the best possible job I ever could have imagined for my university career. It has opened my eyes to various walks of life, has introduced me to new cultures and ideas, and has encouraged me to find my voice and the power therein. It is an experience that I will always cherish and hold dear to my heart.

Despite the challenges the Ledger encountered as a result of the pandemic, we persevered. For that, I am extremely proud of this staff and their dedication, and I am unbelievably optimistic for everything this paper has to offer down the line. With reporters and artists this talented, there is no doubt in my mind that this paper will continue to prosper. 

To Ella Lucente, Talia Collett and Madison Williams, thank you for your unwavering support, guidance and friendship throughout this entire process. My senior year would not have been the same without you ladies! To Daniel Nash, thank you for your patience and encouragement when times were tough and for always being our beacon of positivity. Lastly, to our section editors, reporters and layout team, thank you for your hard work and dedication toward the Ledger — it has been an absolute privilege to work with you.

So, here’s to us Class of 2021, we did it!

Natalie Peyton, Layout Manager
What a wild year to graduate. I returned to school in 2018 to major in Environmental Sustainability and my time at the University of Washington Tacoma helped me understand the value of our minds, what they can accomplish, and what you can learn if you are a member of a community like ours. To those graduating this month: congratulations! To those just starting your time here: you have chosen a great place to learn. Working at the Ledger has been fantastic and a great way for me to build my professional skills where the staff has always been professional and welcoming. I want to personally thank layout editor Morgan Morgans and page designer Phong Nguyen for a great, collaborative design team over the last year and a half and to Daniel Nash for being a creative and supportive supervisor. I am really grateful for the opportunity I have had to be on this staff for the last three years.

Elijah Freeman, Former Copy Editor & Ad Manager
When I started working at the Tacoma Ledger in 2019, I never thought that I would have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful and talented people. I’ve served under three Editors-in-Chief and just as many Managing Editors, each as wonderful as the last. 

When I first came to Washington, I didn’t know anyone, and it was my time spent in the office of the Tacoma Ledger where I found my first community. I am eternally grateful for all the people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, and lessons I’ve learned. I’m so grateful for every experience I’ve had at the Tacoma Ledger. 

Congratulations to all 2021 graduates!

Mitchell Fermo, Former News Editor & Distribution Manager
Working for The Ledger has been an unforgettable experience, and moving on from being a part of the paper has been much more difficult than I could have imagined. While the pandemic cut short my time on campus, I am nevertheless amazed and honored to have been here to help document the ever-changing nature of UW Tacoma, from the continuous mission to further equity and equality, to the discussions and collaborations to work towards campus expansion and especially to highlighting the staff, faculty, students and community members who helped to make UW Tacoma a home for me, and hopefully many others.

I have had so many wonderful mentors — including Daniel Nash, Chris Demaske, and Linda Byron — who guided me and encouraged me to push myself, to try new things and to put myself out there both as a journalist, and as a person. Likewise, I have simply had an incredible amount of leaders — especially Kelsie Abram, Ella Lucente, Talia Collett and Aly Goss — who trusted me and gave me the chance to help deliver a quality paper to the school. Finally, there have been so many wonderful coworkers and peers — especially Elijah Freeman, Maya Thomas, Leticia Bennett, Natalie Peyton, Bengisu Cicek, Nicolus Luna, Brooks Moeller and Lore Zent — who have been there to really make the Ledger feel like home and a family. 

The campus has changed a lot in three years. The Ledger has changed a lot in three years. So many people have put everything into making The Ledger an outstanding paper, and I know many more will continue to pour their hearts and souls into making The Ledger what it is: a paper by the students of UW Tacoma, for the students of UW Tacoma.

Andrea Nadal, Opinion Editor
When I first moved to Washington I didn’t expect to find a home, it was just another place that my family ended up. Over the years I began to find myself settling in and even seeing a life for myself here, I had never expected to find something like that. So, when it came time to apply to colleges I decided to stay local and really start to make some roots for myself here. That has been one of the best decisions of my life. 

Through working at the Ledger I have had the opportunity to delve into a wide array of topics, first as a news reporter and then as the opinion editor, both of which have allowed me to broaden my understanding of the region. I will never forget the time that I have spent at the Ledger, and all of the things that I was able to learn and experience through my work. The time I spent doing this has been invaluable to the growth I have been able to make as a person and will help to inform the ways that I engage with the community once I leave UW Tacoma.

Lore Zent, A&E Columnist & Illustrator

As summer approaches, I finish up my final classes at UW Tacoma. How crazy the journey has been. I originally came back to UWT after two years of hardship while navigating my way out of an abusive relationship. I came in with a ‘just get through and survive’ instinct. Little did I know I would be greeted with genuine friendships. I am forever grateful for the time I have spent at the Tacoma Ledger in each of the sections I have worked in. 

I am grateful for Mitchell Fermo, my news section editor. For helping me through all the learning curves when first joining the Ledger. Tentative and kind, he helped me become the writer I am today. I am thankful for Ella Lucente, our previous Editor-in-Chief. The first person I ever met through the Ledger and first friend I made rejoining UWT. I look back at the involvement fair booth and ACLU UWT officer days fondly. Talia Collett, Madeline Hiller and Andrea Nadal; as we all entered the Ledger in the same year it was a joy to watch you all pick up the ropes and grow into the editor-in-chief and section leaders you are today. And thank you Madison Williams for always being a friend and encouraging me in my artistic endeavors. Thank you Daniel Nash for being the best staff advisor I could have imagined, you were always a listening ear whether about work, academic or general life worries — I enjoyed our light talks on video games and other pop culture media. I could go on and on about all the new experiences and friendships I have made through the ledger but these are just a mentionable few. 

While the pandemic definitely changed the status quo of how our newspaper functions, we made it through this year. We banded together when times were tough and continued to put the effort in. I truly feel that the Ledger crew is not just a team but an ever changing, ever-strong family. I have no doubt that the Ledger will continue to strengthen and prevail over the years. 

Thank you UWT for giving me refound hope, another chance and stronger connections. And thank you the Tacoma Ledger: for giving me the time of day, a bigger glimpse at the world, chances to go to events I wouldn’t know about otherwise, and stronger communication and writing tools. I honestly really hate to leave, but I know my experiences here have made me ready too.

Brooks Moeller, Sports Reporter
These past four years at UW have flown by so fast and I am so thankful for my time here and the experiences I was able to have. I never thought I would end up writing for a newspaper coming into college but here I am now, finishing up two and a half years of working with the Ledger as the sports columnist. It not only gave me confidence as a writer that I never had before but also created a passion for sports writing that I hope to continue wherever I end up next. 

As we finally begin to return to normal out of the pandemic, I hope that one thing we can all work on is balancing out the negative news with the positive. It seems like recently every news story I read or see on TV is negative and sad to read/watch. Obviously, a lot of these are important topics that need to be covered, but in a world with so much wrong in it, it is also important to focus on the good things in life that bring us joy. The sports world is no exception, it is impossible to go a day on Twitter without seeing someone bash my favorite teams. I always tried to end my articles with something positive to look forward to no matter what the topic I was covering. Overall, I just hope that we can share more good news when it is available and look at everything from a positive point of view. 

Thank you to everyone at the Ledger who gave me the opportunity to write about my passion every week and thank you to everyone at UW who helped and supported me along the way!