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Sentry Alumni: Where Are They Now?

John+Trainum+graduated+in+the+class+of+2016
John Trainum graduated in the class of 2016

John Trainum graduated in the class of 2016

Courtesy of John Trainum

Courtesy of John Trainum

John Trainum graduated in the class of 2016

Michael Lowen, Sentry Staff Reporter

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The Sentry can be a great way to discover one’s passion for writing while creating lifelong friends and experiences that alumni carry with them throughout their lives. As members of The Sentry graduate, they are able to take all of the skills and lessons they learned and apply them to the rest of their life. Many of the former Sentry writers still remember and cherish the time they spent as part of newspaper.

Former head editor Emma Davidson had many positive things to say about her time as a reporter, as well as being a head editor in her last year.

“Throughout my education, I loved writing. I thought The Sentry was a unique opportunity to expand my writing skills. It was a little spontaneous, especially since I technically applied in middle school,” Davidson said.

While participating in The Sentry, she was writing constantly and it really helped her develop her skills as a writer.

“I was on The Sentry for four years, three of which I was a writer. My last year I was one of the editors, which I gained the most useful skills. I am able to write at a faster pace and respect deadlines. Editing is helpful, especially in college where you are writing longer papers,” Davidson said.

“Not only did my writing and editing skills improve, but I am very comfortable talking to people. I was shy going into high school, and this opportunity has brought me out of my shell. It helps when you are coming to college and need to meet people or finding a job after graduation,” Davidson said.

Even though Davidson is not pursuing a career in journalism, her time spent in The Sentry will provide her useful skills for her future jobs.

There is another alumnus, however, who still writes now that he is out of high school. Former reporter and Opinion Editor John Trainum currently writes for the University of Virginia (UVA).

“I’m writing for the Cavalier Daily at UVA now, and no doubt my experience with Ms. Wiedemann helped me get this position! Not to mention, journalism improves your writing all around,” Trainum said.

There are many reasons people join The Sentry. It seems like as school gets harder, the writing becomes more of a job rather than a passion for most students. Journalism can be a way for students to write about topics they are truly interested in, and not many people get to do that after graduation.

“I was interested in writing outside of my schoolwork, especially about things I was passionate about, like political philosophy. Journalism was a great outlet for that kind of expression,” Trainum said.

It is no doubt that the way to get better at writing is simply just to write more. Former Sentry member Ethan Hitchcock gives credit for his outstanding writing abilities to the journalism class he took in high school. He mentioned how his skills improved over the years by describing his first article, and then his college essay.

“My first article was undoubtedly terrible,” Hitchcock said.

His writing improved through his time working for The Sentry. Hitchcock was thrilled to see his hard work pay off, as he was accepted to all his schools because of his essay.

“The admissions officer from JMU emailed me and said out of the thousands of essays she’d read, my essay was one of the top three all-time.  I was accepted to every school I sent the essay to,” Hitchcock said.

Even though this class is based around writing, members get to make lifelong memories that they carry with them forever. In fact, there is one memory that Hitchcock made while in The Sentry that he will never forget.

“I [soiled] myself on Spirit Day wearing white corduroy pants. The stain has never come out, physically or emotionally,” Hitchcock said.

Even though that was clearly a embarrassing moment that will never be forgotten, he cherishes the time that he got to spend writing for The Sentry.

The Sentry had a very positive impact on all of their lives, and the skills and lessons they learned have clearly stuck with them. These alumni are grateful that they were able to be part of such a great class, and they would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys writing to apply.

 

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Sentry Alumni: Where Are They Now?