Pioneers

When I looked around the room, saw all the fresh faces, I could see my class of 30 years ago.

All the aspirations and promise of what was to come. The bright eyes, the smiles, the energy of youth. They were the students who followed us, who are studying today.

"What was it like when you began the paper," a fresh-faced, second-year student asked me.

"It was scary," I said. "We had no frame of reference. We couldn't look back at previous issues for guidance. We were it."

We were it.

A 30th-anniversary cake, printed with the cover of the first Algonquin Times edition.
On the 30th anniversary of the launch of The Algonquin Times, I remembered all of the friends, all of the faces of the founding members of that paper. Michel, Becky, Marc, Mary, Kristen, Sean, and many more. I remember the long hours, cranking out sheets of paper on manual typewriters or, if we were lucky, some of the new computers.

The developing of photographs. The layout sessions. The copy editing. It was hard as hell. It was a blast. It was unforgettable.

Our teacher, Bob Louks, joked that he taught us all he knew about journalism in 20 minutes, but he taught us much more than that. He taught us to push ourselves. He taught us to always ask questions, to always search for the answers. He taught us to write in straightforward tones but to be creative with how we let a story unfold.

I owe my ability to write to a lot of people, but Bob is right up there at the summit. He gave me lots of opportunities to reach my potential.

Last night, in seeing him again for the first time in nearly 30 years, I forgot to say one thing to him.

Thank you.

Michel Hell (reporter, photographer, photo editor), me (reporter, copy editor), Bob Louks (teacher, publisher), Pat Dare (teacher, publisher).

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