The 2023 graduating seniors of the Ledger

The Tacoma Ledger says goodbye to our seniors after their quarters of dedicated work.

Madeline Hiller

For Ella.

It’s been a jam-packed four years with The Ledger, so I will try not to overthink this.

 I hated writing. If you had asked me ten years ago if I would ever have a job involving any writing, I would have laughed and probably cried. In high school, I helped start a journalism program, and we took a field trip to UWT to see how a college newspaper was run. I was given a phone number to call once I was enrolled with the school, and before I had even started classes, I had an on-campus job. 

The Ledger has helped me through more than I can ever say, and I have grown immensely in these four years. I started as a news writer, which proved intense once COVID hit. After months of writing about a pandemic, I became a section editor for Arts & Entertainment for my second year. I have been Editor-in-Chief for my junior and senior years here at UWT. 

Across all those positions, I learned how to communicate efficiently, written and verbally, manage a team and connect with people on various levels. I used to be so quiet and introverted, and now I run weekly meetings, which I never imagined I’d be able to do. 

In more ways than one, The Ledger has kept me going. This team gave me something to wake up for, and they helped me through thick and thin, even if they didn’t know it. My love for The Ledger will always be there, and I am leaving this newspaper in more than capable hands. To my team, thank you for everything, always.

Josie Trueblood
Managing Editor

The Ledger is a lovely arts-haven here at UWT – I am so grateful to have been able to write, edit and help manage this student-run paper. From supporting me while on study abroad to giving me opportunities to apply what I was learning in my management classes, The Ledger has been incredibly flexible and a great way to connect me to campus and other wonderful artistic people. I truly hope The Ledger continues to be a weekly, print newspaper – having arts and writing on campus is so important! I can’t wait to see what Katie and Steph do next year, I know they will absolutely thrive as Editor in Chief and Managing Editor. Thank you all for an exciting two years!

Destiny Valencia
News editor

To the readers of The Ledger,

I will be graduating in just a few days, which means that my time writing for The Ledger and serving as the 2022-2023 News Editor is coming to an end. My time writing is running short and every word I write approaches my last. I am grateful for the time I got to work with such a fun crew and write about amazing and interesting individuals here and around Tacoma and the UWT campus. Writing for The Ledger started off my career into journalism and I got to work with amazing students trying to improve the lives of its current student body, discussed art with artists from all over the country, and covered local events and topics that were relevant to my community here in the City of Destiny.

I would like to thank all my coworkers here at The Ledger, from Andrew our layout manager who always jazzes up our paper, Alexa for working alongside me on the grueling Huskies in the Hallway, Madeline and Josie our fearless leaders, to Katie for being the fun mom of the office. Thank you to Daniel Nash, our Student Publications advisor, for working with me even at times when I felt unsure of myself and the work I do. I am sorry I am not mentioning everyone, but I could write about you all forever.  And lastly, thank you to all my readers who spent the time reading the work we have all created.

My time at The Ledger has been fantastic and transformative. I am a storyteller, always have been and always will be. Working for The Ledger has given me a platform to share my work with the world and tell the stories of others. I felt that my work has been purposeful, insightful, and important to my community.

Now time for the next chapter, as this won’t be the last.


Destiny Valencia

Kiarra Blakely-Russell
Former A&E Editor

My time at The Ledger was quite interesting…as a senior, I learned a lot in such a short time. I learned how to challenge myself and not stick to the status quo, but to keep within the required routine. I also learned to set boundaries’ and be firm on what I felt was right and become confident in my abilities as the editor for the A&E section— Learning others writing style and working with them, came easy for some, as we were able to create such creative and imaginative pieces, which were able to push them into challenging themselves too. 

Creativity is a key part of writing and I believe, a key part of journalism, and without it a paper would be incomplete and redundant I’d like to say. There are many parts to a story and telling it, just as there are many styles in journalism and with such little time, I was able to pick up on this papers style of writing, and meet an interesting group of people who were quite lovely to observe. Coming from a very structured newspaper at my old community college, with an immense diverse age group, it was very alienating at times to understand and resonate with those around me here at The Ledger. However, with those downfalls I was able to resonate and have good conversation from time to time, which at times made my day. 

Those around me I’d like to pay thanks to, Andrew, who was the website’s editor, was incredibly kind and hardworking, they were talented, and the paper always shined because of them. Daniel was very helpful and a voice of reason during my time here at the ledger. Stevie, who was an illustrator, had such a creative mind, and was gave a lot of herself to every piece she made, I always admired that—The ledger is an amazing paper with great writers, and I appreciated this experience, as it only made me more trusting of my thoughts on working towards making Entertainment Journalism a future career. 

I can now confidently say that I am proud of what I write.

Emilia Bell
A&E Editor & Film Critic

Working for The Ledger was like a dream come true— I was able to be paid for two things I loved: watching movies, and writing. The writing itself was of course fantastic, and I feel like I learned so much!  I’ve grown so much as a writer and an editor, and I am so lucky to have had this opportunity. I often felt pretty alone on campus (mostly my own fault), so it was really nice to be part of something. I met some amazing people, and I feel so privileged to have worked with them and learned from them. I’m going to miss this a lot, and will definitely be keeping up with what The Ledger puts out. I love you all! 

Ruth Ogden
Opinion Columnist

For me, The Ledger was where I realized that my true passion was writing. For the first time, I was in an environment that actually encouraged my strong opinion! I want to give special thanks to Celia, Josie, and Madeline: thank you for your compassion, encouragement, and patience especially when I was going through some rough stuff. This year was wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m so thankful to have been a part of something bigger than myself, and I’m so happy to have met such wonderful, passionate, creative people. Thank you to everyone who made this year possible!

Alexa Christie

Working at The Ledger for the past two years has been an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. I have learned to appreciate collaboration, admire others’ capabilities, and to trust my own skills as a photographer. Going from just a photographer to being in charge of the entire photo process was challenging but it quickly became easier for myself and the rest of the Ledger team, especially at layout! Aside from exercising these various skills, the Ledger office has been a place for me to work, learn, and have fun outside of class. The office quickly became part of my daily routine and I found myself spending much more time on campus, which is difficult sometimes on a commuter campus. I am leaving The Ledger in ambitious, capable hands and I am sure the role of ‘Photo Overlord’ will continue to bring the pages of the newspaper to life. As they say, a photo is worth one thousand words, but for The Ledger, photos can only add to the already outstanding articles. I have truly put a piece of my heart in every photo taken and printed in each issue of The Ledger. 

Finally, to say goodbye to the Ledger team seems foreign and difficult; we have spent so much time together. From layout crises to birthdays and pitch meetings, translating ideas from our heads onto paper has been a process I have thoroughly enjoyed. It is rare for many people to say that they have worked with their close friends, but I recognize what a privilege it has been to work with all my friends at The Ledger.

Stevie Esteban

Who knew that almost three years of our lives would be impacted by global pandemic? It felt as though I was on a paper boat, flowing swiftly along with the river currents towards the open sea. The months spent along this journey have muddled into essays, COVID, and presentations I can barely remember. The scenery didn’t vary that much during the early days, sitting at a computer screen in the same spot every single day. Until suddenly, classes became hybrid and the days became a lot brighter and trees more sparse. No longer were we stuck inside, but still there were some rough, dark waters that made life to navigate. It was only this year that I was given the oar to steer my way around, through illustration, capstones, and conference. These waters were still navigable, but here I stand on my little paper boat, just crossing the threshold into the open ocean. I see that I am not alone, with a wave of 1400 paper boats ready to take on the open waters. The river may not stay the same, that the trees that once guided me could no longer be rooted along the riverbed, but I could not be more grateful for them. This is goodbye, but I know that this river will always be here.

Raj Kumar
Copy Editor

I remember starting out as the distribution manager at The Ledger. And I remember how it gave me a sort of sense of belonging, what with it being my first quarter at grad school, in a new city, in a foreign country. I’ve always felt a connection to the written word and I believe that helped earn my position as a copy editor for The Ledger. It has been amazing getting to read the eclectic mix of content put together every week, expanding my perspective and piquing my interest. I appreciate all the writers and their tireless work in writing fantastic content with passion, the layout team and editors, for their commitment to upholding the standards of The Ledger. And lastly I’d like to thank Daniel Nash, and the rest of the team who interviewed me, for giving me an opportunity to excel. It’s been great watching new writers come to grow while saying goodbye to others. And with that, I bid you all adieu!