By: Jessilyn Rockhold
As I prepare to walk out of room 309 on Friday, May 17 I want to know that I gave it 110% and feel accomplished with the work that I have done. It’s a bittersweet feeling as I know there will be tears when I step foot out of that door on Friday as I say goodbye to the class that has taught me some of the most valuable lessons from my high school career. The kind of stuff that I can look back on and use the rest of my life.
As the spring weather started approaching, I walked into a class called Covering Hawkeye Sports third trimester of my freshman year. Hmm? Well I’m assuming they cover Hamilton sports, but that was all I knew. I was the shy freshman girl that sat in the first desk I saw unoccupied and I spoke one word that day, “here.” The class was filled with mostly senior athletes who I looked up to a lot and was terrified to talk to. Most of them sat at the big table in the center of room, which was referred to as the “bullpen.” I still can remember many of conversations, or intense “arguments” that had taken place between them and Mr. Behnke, whether it was about the fantasy basketball league they were in, Hamilton sports, or The Cubs. At this point in time the class was broken up into lanes, and I was put into the social media lane. Not really knowing what I was doing, I didn’t accomplish much. Of course it was a learning experience, but I didn’t feel it was a good match for me.
Fast forward to my sophomore year, I was fairly confident I wouldn’t step foot into a CHS class again. The first week of school I suffered from a major concussion from soccer that then ended my ability to play any contact sports again. Soccer was what I did, it was how I stayed busy and then it was taken away from me so unexpectedly. Once again I found myself sitting back in a CHS class, but I felt a little more confident and ready to be involved. This time I picked up a camera and found my true passion, sports photography. I always enjoyed taking pictures, but never dabbled with sports photography. It was a way for me to be involved in something that would become my great passion. It also was a huge stepping stone that helped me ease my way back into social events. This was a way for me to be at the event without the stress of having to be in a big crowd, which was hard during my recovery.
Fast forward to the present. Eight trimesters of CHS later and I’m not really sure what to say to be honest. There is a whirlwind of emotions going on. And a thank you doesn’t seem to cover it.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Mr. Behnke. He has believed in me since day one, even when I didn’t believe in myself. If I had a crazy idea he was always behind me and helped me bring that idea to fruition. This class would not be what it is without him, he lives and breathes for this class and always gives it his all. He has been so dedicated to all of the students that have walked through these doors, and deserves so much more credit than he has received.
So many people deserve a lot more than a thank you, but I’m only going to take the time to publicly thank a few other people who have played a role in my CHS journey.
To Mr. Miko, you have been such a great addition to the CHS Team my senior year and you also believed in me and helped push me to be better in whatever I was doing. Thank you.
To the one and only Mr. Prins, you have played an instrumental role for CHS in the last handful of years and it’s so appreciated. Whether it is helping us set up broadcasting equipment before games or setting up a photoshoot, you are always our go to person with all of the answers. We could never thank you enough for always answering our questions and making sure we were always taken care of. Thank you.
To Mr. Bandstra, thank you for always believing in us and helping this class run smoothly. Thank you for partnering with us as we strive to bring coverage to Hamilton Athletics.
To Kaari Dreyer, also referred to as my partner in crime when it comes to Covering Hawkeye Sports, I don’t know what I would do without you by my side. Literally, we have had our desks next to each other for the past two and a half years. There’s no one I’d rather take on the role of Editor-in-Chief with for this class. You have done amazing things for CHS and I know you will continue that throughout your senior year. You were always there to keep me in line, or tell me if I was talking too loud. Sorry! 🙂 If it wasn’t for us meeting in CHS my sophomore year, I would have missed out on meeting one of my best friends.
My all time favorite memory from CHS has to be when we covered the Challenger League Softball game. The Challenger League team is a team from the area with students who have special needs, who play against each other. We had it all. There were live sports announcers, photographers, signs made for each of the players, t-shirts ordered for the team, and my favorite part, the stands filled with a student section. Many of the athletes on the team come to support Hamilton athletics so to have a night for them and give them recognition was awesome. This night was filled with so much joy and excitement for everyone.
This class has taught me so much, but most importantly it has taught me to be patient, to be committed, and to be a confident leader. I’m so thankful that sometimes things don’t go as planned, but when one door is closed another door is opened. My advice to future CHS students to step out of your comfort zone, try something new, and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. Every student is capable of leaving a great mark on this program you just need to believe in yourself and give it your best. There are so many opportunities that arise when you commit yourself and use your talents.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has walked alongside of me on this journey, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me and