No matter where I’ve wandered since graduating from high school in 2008, Lacombe has always been home for me. I grew up on a farm outside of town, went to the public schools from Kindergarten through Grade 12 and spent most of my time, both on-skates and off, bumming around at the Barnett Arena. Returning from Carleton University in Ottawa to spend my Christmas break as a reporter for the Lacombe Express is a great opportunity to get reacquainted with the place where my mail still gets delivered.
Since I moved away for university five-and-a-half years ago, Lacombe has undergone a lot of change. The town became a city, the number of traffic lights more than doubled to a total of five and the renovations that seemed never-ending while I was a student at École-Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School were finally completed. Lacombe got a racetrack, a splash park and fancy new welcome signs that greet vehicles coming into the City.
However, many things about this place have stayed the same. Kavaccino’s can still be relied upon as a purveyor of delicious lattes and desserts. The five-way stop continues to perplex every out-of-towner who rolls through it. Trips to the grocery store still can’t be completed without running into half a dozen people you know. The arena is still a second-home for figure skaters, ringette and hockey players. The people are still friendly and the streets remain quiet and safe.
I graduated from Lacombe Comp back in 2008, an important year in the news if there ever was one. In 2008 Fidel Castro retired, Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to Canadian Aboriginal people for residential schools, Beijing hosted the Olympics and economies around the world were hit hard by a global financial crisis.
It was an ideal time to be heading onto further studies rather than out into the job market. I hit the books at the University of Alberta and after spending three-and-a-half years studying in Edmonton and six months pretending to study (but really just roaming around) in Oslo, Norway, I managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in English literature. After finishing school, I spent a few months travelling in Europe before coming back to Canada. I found myself in Whitehorse where I spent a year cross-country skiing, canoeing, playing roller derby and working as a communications officer for the Yukon Department of Education. Apparently, I have a thing for cold places.
This past September, I started the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa. Becoming a journalist has been a dream of mine for many years and there’s no better way to study the craft than in the heart of Canada’s capital city. I’ve always loved writing, asking questions and meeting new people, so working as a reporter is a natural extension of my favourite things. I like to tell stories that range from quick, community updates to in-depth research- driven pieces. I’m also interested in exploring new ways of reporting through multimedia journalism.
I’m excited to pursue a career that provides opportunities that allow you to immerse yourself in the topics you are passionate about and enable you to make valuable contributions to your community. For the past four months, I’ve been put through the paces on story finding, interview techniques, article structure and writing. And now the newsmakers of Lacombe get to deal with me while I put those skills to practice.
The Lacombe Express has bravely decided to allow me to chase down some pretty interesting stories and people. From hockey stars to municipal politicians, I’ll be covering the local news that matters to Lacombians.
So if you see an intrepid reporter poking around downtown Lacombe over the next few weeks, don’t be afraid to come say hi. It’s just me, reconciling my small-town memories with this burgeoning little City, one story at a time.