Nancy Hastings, MJE

Connecting with you and Kathy Craghead in the exhibit hall at the first JEA convention I attended as an adviser, you welcomed me and treated me as your colleague rather than seeing me as just the former student of your friend Mark Herron. You helped bring me into the fold and made me feel worthy of getting involved despite being a first-year adviser, and you've continued to set countless examples for me as a mentor for the past 25 years.

-- Sarah Nichols, MJE

Sarah Nichols

Thank you, Sarah Nichols, for trusting me to chair the JEA Mentor Program through the pandemic. Although it was a huge challenge, the program now flourishes under a wonderful committee. I have gained so much in as an educator in this leadership position.

-- Jane Blystone

Linda Jones

Thank you for your years of service to Illinois advisors and students. Your decades of leadership in the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago provided many advisors their only journalism lifeline and connection! Now you have broadened your reach and helped dozens more advisors and students as the Director of the Illinois Journalism Education Association. Your hard work to give student journalist opportunities has not gone unnoticed and I speak for all of Illinois when I say THANK YOU!

-- Katie Fernandez

H. L. Hall

What a great two weeks I had in the summer of 1995 serving as H. L. Hall's lab tech for two weeks at Ball State. I learned so much and had so much fun. And ice cream. To eventually serve on the JEA board with him, stay at his home when speaking at THSPA for him and continuing to stay in touch, H. L. is certainly one of the biggest influences on my own career. Yes! Yes! Yes!

-- Tom Gayda

Val Kibler

You are the one person who can ask me to do something, and I will jump to it! We shared early morning conversations from school, numerous texts, and dinners at Southern Kitchen . You are an icon. Valerie Kibler and I will always look up to you.

-- Mary Kay Downes

Chris Waugaman

You've been my journalism bud in Virginia for years. I appreciate your leadership in everything from jCamp to VAJTA. I can always count on you. Most of all, I appreciate your support and encouragement as we crossed the finish line of the Kent State Masters program together. You have always been a great friend and leader in Virginia and now on the national level. We need more hard working teachers like you who spend every day trying to get better and help more students and colleagues.

-- Val Kibler

Kathy Habiger

I may not have ever taken students to a JEA convention without you generously sharing your documents and your time guiding me through the process. That was the first of many ways you showed me that a mentor can definitely be someone younger than you. Thanks for the encouragement and friendship!

-- Cindy Horchem

Kelly Furnas, MJE

Thank you for modeling for me -- and for all of JEA -- how to lead a team of volunteers with patience and grace. Your work ethic and skill set made us so much better, smarter, more relevant and more efficient. What I appreciate most, though, is how you made me feel like a valued and supported teammate in every situation, even as (especially when) I made mistakes along the way.

-- Sarah Nichols, MJE

Candy and John Bowen and Susan Tantillo

Thanks to Candy and John Bowen and Susan Tantillo for all the years we worked together on the JEA board and for several summers at the Advisers Institute at Kent State. We worked hard, but we laughed a lot. John and Candy were perfect hosts. Susan, John and I also worked together several summers at the Ball State workshops.What a blast! I'll always be grateful for these three friends.

-- H.L. Hall

Karin McKemey

Karin! You are an inspiration to me! Thank you for taking the time to share how I could connect my experience in the newsroom and apply it to scholastic journalism as a brand new teacher. I appreciate you!

-- Katrina Berry-Ivy

JOY Jurors

Thank you to the dedicated professionals who offer their time and expertise to help select our JEA Journalists of the Year. It's not easy to sort through dense portfolios packed with amazing work, especially under tight deadlines, but you do it and provide our state winners with helpful feedback. An extra special thanks to those of you who offer super-quotable feedback that can slide right into speeches and blog posts.

-- Joe Humphrey

Mary Kay Downes

Yearbook Queen, Mary Kay, MKD - whatever people call you, I want you to know what a journalism hero you've been to me and I'm sure to many others. You teach and nurture all other teachers, taking them under your wing and not pushing them out of the nest until they are ready. You (and your sidekick Linus) set an example that we can all learn from. I want to be like you when I grow up. Thanks for being such an amazing friend and role model for me and so many others around the country.

-- Val Kibler

Dan Mueller, Danielle and Leah

Hi to my favorite yearbook peeps,

I wanted to express my gratitude for all the support you've provided during this challenging job transition. Your friendship means the world to me, and I can't thank you enough for being a source of comfort and encouragement.

Your reminders that I am on the right path have been a reassuring during this time of change. It's invaluable to have someone like you who believes in me.

-- Debra Klevens

Sarah Nichols

Thank you for pushing me to become a leader in JEA and for always pushing me outside my comfort zone. I learned SO much in our time together on the board, but most importantly I treasure the friendship that has grown over the years. You always make those around you better at whatever they are doing, whether it's your students, your family or your colleagues. I'm a better person because of you and I appreciate how you've helped me grow.

-- Val Kibler

Ron Clemons

Thank you for your wisdom and guidance when I started my career!

-- Bretton Zinger

Bob Button and Wilma Wirt

Bob and Wilma were both legends in our field for years. Bob took the time to invite me to lunch and then to be on the board of VAJTA. Wilma worked with us at VCU to organize the VHSL Fall Championships and the summer editors workshop which later turned into jCamp. Both set high expectations for me and everyone else they encountered. I admired their work ethic and their love for our profession. Bob and Wilma loved my students, heck all students, but most importantly, they fostered advisers to become better teachers and leaders.

-- Val Kibler

Bradley Wilson

Thanks for doing such an amazing job creating our C:JET magazine quarterly. I appreciate the hard work you put into everything you do for JEA and jCamp. Every organization needs a person who puts such thought into every decision. Thank you for your commitment and investment in scholastic journalism!

-- Val Kibler

Ron Clemons

Heartfelt thanks to Ron Clemons who first impacted my being more than "just" a JEA member by appointing me as NewsWire editor in 1978. It was a happy coincidence that I showed up at a Summer Seminar in Illinois right after the previous editor stepped down. That appointment changed my scholastic journalism career as an adviser.

-- Susan Hathaway Tantillo

Justin Daigle, Kristin Taylor, Shari Adwers, Brenda Field, Debra Klevens and Sergio Luis Yanes

Thanks you guys for being a strong group of leaders that I'm so fortunate to work with on the current JEA Board of Directors. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching each of you develop your passion projects and work to improve scholastic journalism across the country. i couldn't be luckier to have you all on the team. THANK YOU for all of your hard work!

-- Val Kibler

Louisa, Laura, Amy, Aaron, Joe, Alicia, P.J. and Kelly

Thank you ALL for your willingness to serve as committee chairs for JEA. Your tireless efforts on behalf of JEA members are so appreciated by us all. I couldn't ask for a better group of friends to work with in our organization. Thanks for your dedication to scholastic journalism.

-- Val Kibler

Gary Lundgren

Gary! Or Gary //? Someone I have long admired and found to be helpful throughout the years. From meeting him as a student in 1993 to emailing his questions as an adviser 30 years later, Gary is the real deal. His patience and helpfulness is appreciated by many. We are all better for knowing him!

-- Tom Gayda

Susan Gregory, Jane Blystone, Kate Plows, Aaron Fitzpatrick

To my PA people:
Thank you to Susan Houseman Gregory who taught me how to be an adviser and for being a great travel buddy to conventions and institutes.
To Jane Blystone, a cheerleader whose boundless cheer buoyed me time and time again.
To Kate Plows, an adviser who inspires me with her passion, ethics and strength (and helps keep me fit on dog walks).
To Aaron Fitzpatrick for being my steadfast partner in PA New Voices (we're getting closer!).
Thank you for being role models and friends. You are my heroes of student journalism.

-- Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt

Prof. Jim Paschal (Oklahoma)

The gatekeeper. He took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know about running a student press association. He also introduced me to many of the most important people I’d meet over the course of my 50 years in scholastic journalism.

-- Bobby Hawthorne

Gloria Shields (Dallas)

— My surrogate mom, even though I didn’t need one. Her last gift to me was reminding me of how important the profession is, how important my job was, and how critical it was for me to appreciate my obligation to young advisers and kids.

-- Bobby Hawthorne

The Kids and the Tweeners

— Mark Murray, Dow Tate, Scott Winter, Bob Malish, Jeanne Acton, Bradley Wilson, Jenny Dial-Creech, Gary Lundgren, the MIPA guys

Every Texas adviser I ever met, especially Vera Porter

-- Bobby Hawthorne

Marilyn Weaver

Oh boy. Through Marilyn Weaver all things are possible. When I first met her as a student attending the Journalism Workshops at Ball State in July 1993, little did I know in the following 30 years she would be my boss, department chair, master's degree project adviser, professor and do things like let me stay over at her house if needed, serve on the local convention committee I chaired, find me at various athletic events and tolerate my selfie taking ... but best of all now she is one of my greatest friends. Marilyn took me to my first convention in 1995 in Kansas City of all places! Many more followed, including Phoenix the day after I turned 21. Still can taste the bad beverage her and Earl Conn made me taste (cough syrup — yuck!) in some hotel rotating rooftop restaurant. Who knows what I'd be doing in life now had Marilyn not opened up so many opportunities for me then. I know I am not alone. Very thankful for Mrs. Weaver!

-- Tom Gayda

Alan Weintraut

Al Pal ~ Thanks for getting me involved in the national board scene when you nominated me to replace you on the NSPA board. Though you "may" have told me a little white lie about the time commitment, I am grateful that you pushed me and continue to enjoy jRetreat annually!

-- Val Kibler

H.L. Hall

From July 2001 to July 2015, each year had a wild and crazy, inspiring and sometimes frustrating, but always rewarding two weeks: The ASNE High School Journalism Institute sessions at Kent State. As one of the "four musketeers" (you, me, John and Susan), we tried to motivate, inform, encourage and support groups of 30+ advisers. Who can forget the choreography of your "Shake a Pica" song and dance or the variety of ways attendees found to win a dollar from you by "reciting" the First Amendment. (The operatic aria may have been the best, but others were unique and excellent, too.) I couldn't have had that workshop without you and Susan and John. Besides, you always made sure we had ice cream!

-- Candace Bowen

Sarah Nichols

Before I joined the JEA staff while you were JEA president, I met you at a Media Now workshop and crossed paths at various conventions. Without really knowing you, a few impressions stood out, such as your organization, confidence, professionalism and uncanny ability to manage a whole lot of things and do them all well. Sometimes perceptions turn out to be reality! You are all of those things, but most of them are the result of your ability to lead and synergize the efforts of others. I've known a few "everybody's friend" people in different aspects of my life. You are on that list, someone that everyone thinks of as a friend/mentor. Thank you for all of that, and especially for being an avid reader who loves to share her book lists!

-- Cindy Horchem

Randy Swikle

You'd be hard pressed to meet someone who is a bigger advocate or has a greater appreciation for scholastic journalism than Randy Swikle. A legendary adviser from Illinois, Randy and I developed a great chemistry co-teaching workshops and serving on the same committees over time. I have the utmost respect for Randy and all he has done. He is one of the kindest, gentlest people around. Teaching with Randy was a great opportunity to learn so much myself. It would be hard to talk about the greatest in scholastic journalism without including Randy in that conversation.

-- Tom Gayda

John Cutsinger

John, I appreciate your never-ending support of me. Love you tons.

-- Tina Cleavelin

Darla Tressner

We made great memories years ago. I'll never forget that first summer workshop. I had no idea what I was doing. Thanks for making my intro into the scholastic journalism world so much fun.

-- Tina Cleavelin

Chad Rummel

Thanks for being one of my original partners in crime as we organized the first ever jCamp in Virginia with Kelly Furnas. You always brought the creativity and fun spark to all that we did in our jActivities! We miss you in our world, but are certainly proud of all your successes!

-- Val Kibler

Jeff Nardone, Casey Nichols & Sherri Taylor

Remembering these three remarkable humans for the impact you all had on my life. So many memories, so many workshops, so many conventions. What I wouldn’t give for one more adventure. // g

-- Gary Lundgren

Sarah Nichols

What can I say that others haven't already? ^^ Reread what they said because I'm not going to repeat all you've done for JEA and journalism students and advisers. I'm going to focus on something that amazes me more than that. Even when your "to do" list fills more than one screen on your iPhone and it seems like everyone is pulling on your sleeve with just one more request -- you're always thinking of others. Flowers, notes, texts -- the right thing to say or do at the right time. I hope you get at least a tiny portion coming back to YOU so you know beyond a doubt how special you are. #_________ (You know what goes in that blank.)

-- Candace Bowen

Val Kibler, Sergio Yanes, Debra Klevins, Sarah Nichols, Justin Daigle, Shari Adwers, Brenda Field, Sarah Verpooten, Katie Merritt, Kelly Glasscock and Veronica Purvis

To all the JEA board members and executive directors I served with in my term, 2020-2024, thank you so much for everything you do for scholastic journalism and for your friendship. I will miss you!

-- Kristin Taylor

Susan Tantillo

Thank you for being the person I could/can count on for all things JEA and a lot of personal things, too. I know you remember all the Chicago conventions you helped run, but my first one as JEA executive director in 1992 is forever seared in my brain. In the midst of chaos, you were a voice of reason and calm.

Thank you for creating a foundation of excellence in our publications and the commissions you served on. At the top of the thank you list is your gracious hospitality hosting the executive board at your Florida winter home. The giggles, great food and conversation about books made the hard work easier.

-- Linda Puntney

Candace Bowen

Thank you for your guidance and encouragement. I met you in San Diego in 2014, and you're the reason I have a MA in journalism and have served four years on the board 10 years later. I'm so grateful!

-- Kristin Taylor

Candace and John Bowen

Dear honorary mom and dad, You two have been such leaders in this field for so long. I can't tell you how much I appreciated you both supporting and guiding me through the Kent State program. I treasure how you push people to become better journalism teachers. You never settle for second best and you're always fighting for what's right. I can't have any more respect than I do for you guys. Thanks for making me a better person and for all you've done for me.

-- Val Kibler

Michelle Balmeo, Kimetris Baltrip, Pedro Cabrera, Delbert Ellerton, Myia Griffith and Samved Sangameswara

When we first launched the Emerging Journalists Program at Elon University, we wanted to partner with JEA to provide instruction to our high school participants. And the six of you graciously stepped up. I consider myself so lucky to have worked with this inaugural cohort of journalism advisers who brought their passion, expertise and energy to our fledgling program and helped make EJP what it is today. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for scholastic journalism.

-- Kelly Furnas

Val Kibler

Val Kibler, thank you for keeping me grounded and helping me build and align the JEA the mentor program with JEA goals. I cannot thank you enough for expertise and friendship.

-- Jane Blystone

JEA State Directors

Thank you to all of the JEA State Directors for their leadership and support to the student journalists and advisers in their states. Their impact truly makes a difference.

-- Justin Daigle

Linda Puntney and Logan Aimone

Neither of you know how much you taught me when you served as executive directors of JEA and NSPA respectively and walked me through serving as local chair of the D.C. convention in 2009. It still serves as one of the top professional experiences of my career. I'm thankful for the lessons I learned from you both and the terrific friends and colleagues you've become. Your support of teachers everywhere has always been so admirable. You guys are the BEST!

-- Val Kibler

H.L. Hall

You were the co-chair at my first JEA convention with an official role -- JEA NewsWire Editor -- St. Louis 1978. And that was the beginning of my long-term JEA journey and a great friendship with you. Most memorable for me was our many summers at Kent State as part of the ASNE Institute there. Thank you for those terrific years and for our continued friendship, especially following college bball.

-- Susan Hathaway Tantillo

Candace and John Bowen

Thank you for helping me survive my earliest days as an adviser and igniting a love for both journalism and journalism ethics. Your guidance has helped me guide others as they start this journey.

-- Elizabeth Strehl

Val Kibler, MJE

I'm so lucky to have you as the other half of my brain. Thanks for saying yes, whether it’s to fly in a tiny helicopter at the Grand Canyon during a thunderstorm or to make major decisions we hope will benefit journalism teachers and their students for years to come. Thanks for having my back time and again, for giving my kid money to buy me a Christmas present, for deciphering my ridiculous autocorrect text messages, for having a brilliant mind but no ego, fierce and selfless work ethic and superhuman ability to get results from any person alive … and for being the person I want to work with and talk to forever.

-- Sarah Nichols, MJE

Linda Puntney

Way back in 1996, I remember you striding through the halls of a hotel in Chicago in your famous purple outfit. I thought to myself I certainly hope I can be like Linda Puntney, when I grow up! You are an icon, a legend. One of my favorite memories was when you did a workshop in the DC area and taught us how to edit our work down by 10% another 10% and yet another. I used that so often in instruction while I was teaching!

-- Mary Kay Downes

Kelly Furnas

You have been one of my journalism heroes and best friends for a long time. Thank you for partnering with me and Chad Rummel to start jCamp at Virginia Tech when you were there. Thank you for pushing me to get involved with the JEA curriculum team when it first began. Thank you for supporting me time and again as I traveled further down the leadership road with JEA. Thank you for always challenging my students and me to be a better version of ourselves. Thanks for always listening and being the forefront of journalism. You're the absolute best!

-- Val Kibler

Becky Lucas

Thank you for being the best mentor a student teacher could ask for!

-- Bretton Zinger

Linda Puntney

Linda, I can never thank you enough for trusting me to chair the local convention in Philadelphia nearly two decades ago. IT was a powerful experience learning to marshal the troops to pull off a huge convention in a city where the convention never had been held. The hard work you and all the JEA and NSPA staff showed me that a girl from a small town can do big things. From that first day I met you with my two yearbook staffers at the convention in Denver in 1992 you have worked your magic to show me the wider journalism education world. I will be forever grateful.

-- Jane Blystone

Jane Blystone

Thanks for being the best nag sister ever! I SO appreciate all you have done for me, for mentoring, for JEA and for educators everywhere. You're a model of positivity and go get it ness!!!!

-- Val Kibler

Ellen Austin

Thank you for your continued dedication to the profession. Your ability to put advisers into the shoes of their students and the depth of your feedback and support have proven invaluable.

-- Elizabeth Strehl

Nancy Smith

Thank you a million times over for being the rock for our National Student Media Contests. Your passion and care for all aspects of this programming are unsurpassed. You're a friend to so many in the scholastic journalism world and always strive to give our members the absolute best. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

-- Val Kibler

Lindsey Katz

Lindsey,

I know this year has been a challenge for the both of us. Please remember that I learned everything I did on the job. You walked into 24 years of me building something. Please don't feel like you need to keep this the same. You are your own person and need to put your stamp on things. I totally understand everything you are going through. I appreciate your optimism and want to thank you for giving the students at Parkway West a fantastic journalism experience.

I know you are making a difference, daily.

-- Debra Klevens

AJ Chambers

AJ!!!! Thank you for being an incredible mentor and more importantly, a friend! Thank you for your encouragement and your creative ideas to build a sense of community within the classroom. I'll always cherish how proud you were of my students when placing in Best of Show at SIPA for the very first time and then sending my students a gift when earning Newscast of the Year in 2022! We love our rubber ducks! Love you!!!!

-- Katrina Berry-Ivy

Richard Roth

Even though you're not a member of JEA, you are one of the reasons I am so passionate about journalism education today. I still remember the first day of my freshmen Media Fellows seminar when you played Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" video to show how journalists possess a front-row seat to not only witness, but also make history. Your own journalism career and Pulitzer nomination as a rookie reporter covering the Attica prison revolt were equally inspiring. Having a college professor like you who modeled critical thinking about news, ethics, and pressing issues, and who also supported the budding journalism careers of his students, shaped me into the teacher I am today. I'm grateful for your mentorship and friendship (and for the countless recommendation letters you continue to write for me long after I graduated).

-- Jodi Noffsinger Hwang

Erinn Harris and Meghan Percival

Though so many have always paired you together, each of you has been such an example of hard work and devotion in my life. Your willingness to help others, volunteer your time, lend an ear and just dig in and do the hard work is truly inspiring. Both of you have built incredibly successful journalism programs and given so much back to VAJTA, JEA, NSPA, CSPA and so many teachers. Thank you for all you do! And thanks for being such tremendous friends!

-- Val Kibler

Candace and John Bowen

There are really no words that can thank the two of your for being my family. You have challenged me to stand up for student voice, provide excellence in journalism education, develop partnerships across state lines to make state journalism programs grow, and to help advisers navigate the solo world of the journalism teacher. Aways and forever!

-- Jane Blystone

Mark Newton, Sarah Nichols, Val Kibler

In the giant cafeteria that is JEA, thanks for always inviting me to sit at your proverbial table by bringing me onto your leadership teams. Mark - as certification chair you were the first to bring a neophyte from Florida into the fold and you taught me so much about advising and life. Sarah - you helped me through a midlife crisis that brought me onto the board for a month before I switched jobs, but didn’t hesitate to let me serve in another leadership role. And Val, when I changed jobs again, you allowed me to continue serving in the JEA role. I am grateful for your confidence in me and will alway carry such fond memories of our travels together.

-- Joe Humphrey

Col. Charles E. “Chuck” Savedge (Virginia)

— The ringmaster. He brought me into the summer workshop world, where I and many others sat star-struck at the foot of his altar, learning from the greatest teacher I’ve ever seen.

-- Bobby Hawthorne

My Older Siblings

— Bruce Watterson, Joe Glowacki, Nancy Patterson, Ben Van Zante, Sam Effinger, John Butler, Chuck O’Malley, Joseph M. Murphy, H.L. Hall, Dick Johns, Fern Valentine, Wayne Brasler, Jim Davidson, Lorene Denny, Rod Vahl, Howard Spanogle, Bob Button

-- Bobby Hawthorne

Sandy Woodcock

Thank you so much for all your help through the years and for making my kids your kids, too. They absolutely adored going to your sessions and were beside themselves when you treated them to lunch at a convention. Those little things leave a lasting impression on kids.....and me!!!

-- Val Kibler

Val Kibler

One of my very best "kids." Enjoyed having you in our master's program and working with you on your final project. The work you're doing with the online students in your class now is just what we need for them. And JEA....whew! It's a lot and you handle it all with poise and grace -- and just a little bit of snark. Yep, that's my girl for sure.

-- Candace Bowen

Val Kibler, board members and committee chairs

Thanks, Val, for your leadership as JEA crosses from its first century into its next. You are kind of perfect for that role ... you have history and know where JEA has been, but you also have fresh ideas and are willing to chart new paths for the organization. Of course, a president is only as effective as all of the other board members and committee chairs working with them. What a great group of leaders JEA has! Thanks to all of you for your time and dedication to JEA and its members.

-- Cindy Horchem

Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt

To my PA New Voices partner:
It's hard to believe we've been at this for nearly seven years already, and while the work may be thankless and tiresome at times, I couldn't ask for a better teammate, advocate, and motivator. Thank you for all you've done and all you continue to do to keep the team focused and advance this cause. Here's to hoping this is the year the Student Journalism Protection Act becomes law in the Keystone State!

-- Aaron Fitzpatrick

My most supportive principals over the years

John Heubach, Irene Reynolds, Cindy Prieto, Missy Hensley and Mike Rolen - you have all been principals who every journalism adviser would love to work for. Mr. Rolen gave me my first position as a newspaper teacher (and my own first classroom)....and the PD and money to build a program. Mr. Heubach stayed on EBAY all day to buy me PageMaker. Mrs. Reynolds stuck by me even when we made huge mistakes. And Ms. Prieto and Dr. Hensley have really paved the way to grow our entire media program. All of these principals have been fierce supporters of the First Amendment and huge advocates of student-run media. Thank you all!

-- Val Kibler

Michelle Balmeo

Thank you for always being such an amazing adviser, volunteer, and friend! You are so gifted at what you do and it has been my pleasure to work with you in the Partner Project and watch you grow the Outreach Academy. We are lucky to have you as such a devoted teacher in our field!

-- Val Kibler

Dr. Scott Kizner and Dr. Michael Richards

Not only have I had terrific principals during my career, I've also had a few amazing superintendents. Dr. Kizner believed wholeheartedly in student empowerment and worked diligently to grow all media programs at HHS. He was even named JEA's admin of the year in 2020. Dr. Richards currently LOVES traveling WITH my students to conventions and presenting sessions on how to have a wonderful working relationship with your administrators. And he has developed a World is My Classroom Grant to provide monies for all students to be able to attend these opportunities at a very low cost to the kids. I truly appreciate their strong commitment to expanding opportunities for all our students!

-- Val Kibler

Kathy Habiger, Amy Morgan, Lori Wilken, Mike Dunlap & Jim McCrossen

My KC friends! So many great memories with these guys. Often sitting together at awards luncheons or eating at a variety of spots in Lawrence and Muncie, so much fun over the years. I certainly miss Mike Dunlap's "Oh, Tom Gayda, ha ha..." Glad we had lots of fun with him while he was still with us. Enjoyed Lori's brief time in Indiana with me and all the convention fun with Kathy and Amy. And even that Jim McCrossen, who some think is the nicest man alive... he's pretty good, too. Great people!

-- Tom Gayda

John Bowen

I could send you a text or an email or just yell over the banister from MY "office" upstairs to yours below. But I'll put this here so it's official. This is a public thank-you note for (1) always encouraging me to do what I think is needed ("A semester sabbatical in Prague? What a great opportunity for you!..." or "A Dow Jones workshop and ASNE back to back this summer? Sure?!"), (2) not complaining when I make enough chili Sunday to last you all week right before the state convention, (3) talking me off the ledge when I need it, (4) humoring me (usually) when I reorganize the way you load the dishwasher, (5) thinking there's nothing at all wrong with my ordering 6 pints of Salt and Straw ice cream on a stressful day, (7) and just always being my sounding board, my back-up memory, my partner in crime. I couldn't be who I am without you.

-- Candace Bowen

Nancy Hall and Molly Baker

Every yearbook company representative I worked with gave great support to me and my staff members. You two just put up with me the longest. Your visits often saved the day, and you never made us feel like we were bothering you. The days of your visits were circled on the calendar, and our lists of questions and problems were often long. Thanks for always sharing the burdens, calming the frustrations and cheering the successes!

-- Cindy Horchem

Emilee Hussack

Thank you so much for being my travel buddy and roomie for so many years and trips to journalism conventions, camps and institutes. You're developing into an amazing adviser and will really go places. Keep working hard and making a difference. Thanks for always being such a great friend and school partner in crime!

-- Val Kibler

Mary Kay Downes

Thank you for nine years of the best job I will ever have! You are a mentor and a friend.

-- Bretton Zinger

Jack Kennedy, MJE

For posting your "Somewhere south of Denver" wisdom on JEAHELP, serving as the voice of reason in countless small-group discussions, hosting me at your home and so much more, thank you. Our decade-long conversations about writing, sports, music, politics and most often, good teaching and advising, continue to be thought-provoking and fulfilling. I treasure our memories from late-night chats at workshops and meetings across the country, and I know the work we did together for JEA was the best it could be. You've made a profound impact on me as a teacher, Jack, and I'm grateful.

-- Sarah Nichols, MJE

Mitch Ziegler

Having an official JEA mentor these first few years of advising has carried me through the ups and downs of this crazy world of yearbooking. Thank you, Mitch, for always responding to my urgent texts and taking my calls when I needed it most. Yearbook advising is not for the faint of heart and your honesty, expertise, and reassurance about how to show up each day despite the challenges has helped me thrive even when I didn't believe I could do this. And best of all, my staffers and our yearbook program have grown in the quality of our work thanks to your guidance and mentorship.

-- Jodi Noffsinger Hwang

Bobby Kibler

Being a teacher is hard. Being a journalism teacher is even harder. Being the husband of a journalism teacher has to be the absolute hardest. Thank you, Bobby, for the years of continuous support and encouragement. Thanks for traveling to conventions, sitting through meetings and surviving along when I took off for another retreat, camp or class. Thanks for putting up with all the late nights and weekends I spent at school with the students. Thanks for loving me and supporting me for all these years. You're the best and I love you!

-- Val Kibler

Ann Akers

Ann,

I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for all the support you've provided during this challenging job transition. Your friendship means the world to me, and I can't thank you enough for being a source of comfort and encouragement.

Your reminders that I am on the right path have been a reassuring during this time of change. It's invaluable to have someone like you who believes in me.

-- Debra Klevens

Veronica, Porter, Cindy and Pam

Thank you guys for all the hours and hours of hard work and dedication you give to JEA. Not many people realize how lucky we are to have you all. I appreciate all that you do to keep JEA the premiere journalism association in the country. You guys are the bestest!

-- Val Kibler

Nancy Hall and Molly Baker

Every yearbook company representative I worked with gave great support to me and my staff members. You two just put up with me the longest. Your visits often saved the day, and you never made us feel like we were bothering you. The days of your visits were circled on the calendar, and our lists of questions and problems were often long. Thanks for always sharing the burdens, calming the frustrations and cheering the successes!

-- Cindy Horchem

Sally Renaud

Sally, your welcoming, positive demeanor brought me into the scholastic journalism world with a warm hug! As the Director of the Illinois Journalism Education Association you fought for student press rights, expanded student contests, and helped so many new advisors find their way and their purpose. I am forever grateful for your advice and support and miss seeing you at all of our meetings!

-- Katie Fernandez

Pam Boller

For years you have been the cheerful angel who greets me at each convention. Any organization needs devoted personnel to flourish, and you embody all the attributes of such a person. First at the JEA Bookstore now elsewhere you can always be counted on for a hug! Blessings to you Pam!

-- Mary Kay

Linda Puntney

In 2007 I received a phone call that changed my life – Linda Puntney asked me to chair the 2008 National Convention in Anaheim. One does not easily say no to Linda, and even though the task seemed difficult, I said yes. That call altered the trajectory of my career. I'm not sure what prompted Linda to ask, but I am so grateful. I'm more grateful, however, for getting to know Linda better over the years, as a font of journalistic wisdom, a friend and wonderful traveling companion. Linda personifies the JEA ethos of service and mentorship.

-- Mitch Ziegler

Kathleen Zwiebel

Kathy, it has been my honor to know you and work with you in journalism education at so many levels from the state to the national level for 40+ years. From our early days as young advisers to this day, I will be grateful for your friendship and your great knowledge about all things student media related.

-- Jane Blystone

Carol Lange

Dear Carol, Thank you so much for all of your mentoring for so many years. I appreciate how much you pushed me and trusted me when I got involved with VAJTA, even more when you guided me through chairing two local committees. I will always cherish the lessons you've taught me. You're one of the true pillars of journalism in this country and I'm proud and thankful to have you as my friend and mentor!

-- Val Kibler

Jack Kennedy

Thank you for being my first ever journalism teacher inspiration. Your newspapers at the Little Hawk propelled my students in Marion, VA to want to be better. I've always been in awe of you, but will never ever forget your singing about the First Amendment and holding the entire ballroom at SIPA conventions (and everywhere else for that matter) in the palm of your hand. Thanks for always inspiring me to want to be a better teacher!

-- Val Kibler

Kathy Craghead, Tom Gayda and Casey and Sarah Nichols

Casey, Sarah and Kathy always included me in gatherings of friends at JEA conventions. I will forever be grateful for their friendship, and I'm especially grateful Sarah staying in touch with me during Casey's illness, and I'm grateful to Casey for all the long conversations we about life in general and with Kathy for making me laugh constantly. She often told the story about how the two of us nearly were kicked out of the Student Union at the University of Missouri because we were laughing loudly for a long time. Her sarcastic wit was amazing! Tom and I also laughed a lot when we worked together teaching computer techniques to high school teachers at Ball State. All four made life more enjoyable for everyone.

-- H. L. Hall

Candace Perkins Bowen

If it weren't for that fated night in Milwaukee at the sparsely attended JEA convention, 1979, I'm not sure we would have ever bonded. I had already agreed to a term as NewsWire editor at that point but didn't really know what I was in for. We surely helped to grow JEA, especially in Illinois, with conventions in 1982 (even though many thought we couldn't pull it off), 1986, 1991, and beyond (as you followed your dream and left me as the local chair in 1996 and 2005.) You have always been my guiding star for all things scholastic journalism. Thank you for being my JEA BFF!

-- Susan Hathaway Tantillo

Lori Keekley

Thank you for being my journalism bud and one of my besties. You've been there for me through SO much: missed exits, 50th birthday bashes, board meetings, conventions, camp - you name it, we've done it! I couldn't ask for a better friend and role model. You're an amazing teacher, Quill and Scroll director mom and friend. Thanks for everything!

-- Val Kibler

Nancy Hastings

Oh my dear friend, Nancy. We go way back. Way way back. I've known Nancy since I was 17. Little did I know back in 1993 as a high school senior that we would go on to be great friends. So many fun memories like going to Disneyland, seeing movies like "Anchorman" during summer workshops, traveling to Nashville for a quick yearbook trip. All these years later we still get together regularly.

-- Tom Gayda

Bobby Hawthorne

Thank you for being such an inspiration to teachers everywhere with your common sense approach to writing. Every time I read something you write, I think 'duh, why didn't that dawn on me sooner?' I've always appreciated your willingness to jump in and help whenever you're asked! We have always loved having you teach here in Virginia (well, maybe not that lawyer that time at Washington and Lee). You make our students better and you lead by example, which ultimately makes all the teachers you work with better at their craft. Thank you, my friend!

-- Val Kibler

John Bowen

WWJD? No folks, I am not talking about the man upstairs, but about John Bowen. He became so famous at Chantilly High that our principal once mused, “What would John do?” when faced with a tricky situation regarding press rights. I emailed, and he replied! John, you were the prime mover behind me becoming a First Amendment warrior and I will forever be indebted to you!

-- Mary Kay Downes

Susan Hathaway Tantillo

Thank you for believing in me before I believed in myself and for bringing me into the JEA fold. Grateful for your support and guidance over the years.

-- Brenda Field

Valerie Kibler

Because of your class at Kent State, I have a staff manual and procedures that have repeatedly guided and protected me and my students. I am forever grateful for your mentorship and support.

-- Elizabeth Strehl

Linda Puntney

I knew Linda Puntney long before she became JEA's executive director. Since we both taught in Missouri, I saw her often at workshops in the state. I'll never forget the time we were at a JEA convention at the McCormack Inn in Chicago.We laughed a lot. Most of all, however, I want to thank Linda for making me a better JEA president. She was always well organized at every convention. She made my job easier. We didn't always agree, but for the most part she was a delight to work with. Thanks Linda.

-- H. L. Hall

My Classmates, Playmates & Soulmates

— Ray Westbrook, Betsy Rau, Cheryl Pell, Terry Nelson, John Wheeler, Lynn Loewy, Jack Kennedy, Paul Ender, Jeff Nardone, Mike Parker, David Knight, Sherri Taylor, Mary Pulliam, Nick Ferentinos, Judi Coolidge, Lori Oglesbee, Julie Price, Dean Hume, Sandy Hall-Chiles, Jim Jordan, Kem Kemp, Pam Bunka, Martha Akers, Rick Hill, Tina Cleavelin, Margaret Sorrows, Judy Allen, Laura Schaub, John Cutsinger

-- Bobby Hawthorne

Susan Tantillo

Somehow this awesome way to thank JEA people who mean a lot to us slipped right by me, and now I have some catching up to do! This first one's for Susan Tantillo, definitely MY JEA BFF (and beyond) and my former convention roomie. You kept me sane and focused, especially during my time as president. We shared laughter and a few tears at all those Chicago conventions, and late nights and sometimes strange campus food during all those ASNE High School Journalism Institutes. But there was always ice cream, right? And the feeling that together we made a difference.

-- Candace Bowen

Sherri Taylor, Susan Massy, Darlene Blakely

Some of the very first people to ignite my passion in scholastic journalism were the three people I spent two weeks with in Muncie back in 1993. I learned so much about yearbook from Sherri, Susan and Darlene. Three great women who helped shape my future greatly. To this day in my living room sits a stuffed cat Sherri gave me after naming me " Cool Cat of the Week." Great women!

-- Tom Gayda

HQ staff

I was on the member side for many years. I remember the patience with my questions, the cheerful voice at the other end of the phone, the calm when I felt like getting my students to a convention was a storm. Then, after I retired from teaching and got hired part time by JEA, I had a chance to go behind the curtain and see how the wizards really work. No doubt JEA depends on a large number of hard-working volunteer members, but its small staff has always helped this organization ease on down the road. Thanks to those I've worked with: Kelly Glasscock, Connie Fulkerson, Kate Dubiel, Pam Boller, Lindsay Porter and Veronica Purvis, along with Linda Puntney, Kelly Furnas and all other past JEA headquarters staff.

-- Cindy Horchem

Dick Johns, Tony Willis, Kathy Craghead

As a young college student it was a great pleasure to meet three incredible people I would go on to form great friendships with. Dick Johns is one of the most incredibly kind people you will meet. Finding out we were both from the same part of Indiana was an instant connection. More than once when he was in Muncie I had the pleasure of joining him and Dr. Louis Ingelhart and sat in awe hearing from two greats. Tony Willis is now much my monthly dinner buddy, but since 1995 he has been a mentor, colleague at a rival school and frequent guest speaker. More important, Tony has an incredible sense of humor. Speaking of which, the great Kathy Craghead was truly one of a kind. It took me awhile to understand the Mexico she was from wasn't south of the border. Kathy is one special person who was always great fun to be around. I am beyond lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know so many greats of our industry at such an early age.

-- Tom Gayda

Elizabeth (Beth) Dickey

If you have never experienced the southern hospitality that SIPA offers, you just must! Beth Dickey was my first instructor in an online class. This was so long ago that she mailed the VHS tape to us to watch, we did the assignments and then mailed them into her. Thank you for spurring my love for this career and for always being so gracious and welcoming to all things SIPA!

-- Val Kibler

Karen Flowers

Like Beth Dickey, you were one of my first introductions to SIPA and true southern hospitality. I want to thank you most, though, for the exercise you put advisers through at the Carolina Journalism Institute where we wrote about something that impacted us. You swore in the beginning of the week some of us would cry as we shared. I scoffed at that and in my smart allecky internal voice said 'no way'. I was the first one blubbering like an idiot when I shared my piece. You were a role model, an amazing teacher/adviser and a terrific friend. Thank you for being an inspiration to so many!

-- Val Kibler

Kim Green

Oh, boy. Where to begin? I can't begin to count the number of trips, be it on an airplane or in a car, traveling to a national convention; a workshop in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee or Kansas or a yearbook plant tour in Kansas City. I quickly learned that even if I had the window seat on a flight it didn't matter, as Kim had "window seat for life." Our countless adventures, balancing her cheery demeanor and my ... special qualities ... always made for a good time. There's only one Kim Green, but boy, what a special lady she is!

-- Tom Gayda

Kim Green, Tom Gayda, Ryan Gunterman

A thank-you to my ""ndiana Imports." OSMA would have never been so good for so many years without your sessions. And, face it, the banquet wouldn't have been as much fun -- and, definitely, John and I wouldn't have been able to eat all that popcorn fresh from the popper machine in the basement without you three. I miss you all -- we need a reunion!

-- Candace Bowen