Senior Goodbye: Sydney Spann

I’ve been at The Appalachian for a long damn time. I’ve seen us go through three print redesigns, two website redesigns, office remodeling, three adviser changes, Pacemakers, Pinnacles, numerous North Carolina awards, four different editorial boards, starting podcasts and television shows, moving to new departments and all the drama that ensued. I have been a graphic designer turned graphics editor, visual managing editor, editor-in-chief and then back to visual managing editor.

For my sanity, I shouldn’t have come back after I decided not to run for EIC again. I was exhausted. I was beat down and disappointed, as are all editor-in-chiefs, but the thought of leaving this weird little family of mine was much harder to imagine.

Malik, Aleah and Katie—thank you for believing in me in a way I never knew someone could. I wouldn’t have grown into who I am without your support.  

Brooks, Efrain and Moss—Brooks, you have been the best work husband a girl could ask for. Thank you for learning to love me as I have learned to love you. Efrain, your creativity and excitement is what every graphics editor comes to the paper with. Don’t lose that. Thank you for showing up when you did. Moss, it’s hard to ignore your passion and talent. Being EIC will be the hardest thing you will ever do, and I have the utmost faith that you will be absolutely exceptional.   

Natalie—my work wife. We all like to think we are busy and hardworking, and then we meet you. From the moment I met you, you have continued to surprise me. Your sass and tenacity is everyone’s favorite part of meetings. The communication department should build statues in your honor. You say thank you to everyone, but you are the one who deserves all the thanks. Thank you for taking on the job with grace and intensity. Your legacy will live longer than any of us.

Reilly—Nora and I’s rock. The comeback queen. My shoulder to complain on. Thank you for believing in The Appalachian. Thank you for coming back and bringing a spark along with you. Your wit and charm amaze me, and your dedication knows no bounds. You took on a role that was long-awaited, and you made it your own and for that, I am more than grateful.  

Maleek, Nora and Victoria—I truly don’t know where to begin.

Maleek, thank you for literally pushing me to join The Appalachian. Thank you for being my first face I saw on move-in day and for bringing a piece of home with you. Your influence at the paper was silent and unnoticed, but your impact was far greater than anyone will ever know. You waited every night for me to finish the paper even though you didn’t have to, you stood up for those who were unaccounted for, you kept egos in check. Every person you have ever met knows you will go far, including me. You are brave and wonderful and one of my very best friends. I love and miss you.

Nora, I am crying. You walked into the office with overalls, and I knew you were special. You came to every meeting and designed whatever graphic I assigned to you. I pushed you into a role I know you didn’t think you were ready for, but the way I have seen you grow in the past year is nothing short of outstanding. I know you will continue to doubt yourself and to that I say: stop. You move mountains. Your impact here is far greater than any I have seen before. Thank you for your continued leadership and friendship. If I never joined the paper, I wouldn’t have met you, and, damn, I can’t imagine my life without you. You’re the best we’ve ever had. I love you.  

Victoria, I feel like I have known you my entire life. You appeared when the universe knew I needed you most. You made every person at this paper feel like they were home and that is a characteristic few people have. Thank you for being my drinking buddy, my right hand woman, my dictionary when I’m at a loss for words and my very best friend. Thank you for curing my homesickness, thank you for keeping me in check, thank you for letting me cry, scream and yell. It is hard to put into words what a soulmate brings into your life. I feel lucky that I found mine so early. I love you.

I could write novels about these people and this place. Deciding to come back was my greatest decision. Thank you to every person, mentioned or not, for making me remember what is good and frustrating and worth fighting for in this world.