My experience began with trying to write the best album reviews possible. It ended with the want to help the McMaster community by holding people, organizations and institutions accountable for their actions. Humble beginnings grew into the desire to create a high enough quality media source to rival journalism schools across the country despite not having one.

I wanted to help grow the Silhouette into one of the most credible media sources in Hamilton with a bunch of undergrads in programs that may not be related to journalism at all. Many of our paid staff had little experience of this nature or scale. Many of our volunteers had no experience at all.

Over my last five years of contributing, a lot of people have entered the windowless basement only to leave as lifelong friends. Generations of you have come and gone since I was introduced to the paper. You, as extraordinary members of society during your time here, have been unforgettable inspirations to my development as a writer and as a person.

No matter our personal circumstances, no matter how big the story and no matter how short the deadlines, we could always put our trust in each other to put out quality content week after week with laughs and beaming smiles in an office where brightness barely radiates otherwise.

For Sil alumni, I remember the late night sports games we watched as time ticked passed midnight and the want to watch just one more play before getting to work putting content on the website. Heated arguments over things as trivial as a top 10 movies list were funny in retrospect, but were battles to prove that your perspectives were valid and deserved consideration at the time.

I even remember how empty our mentions on social media became when my favourite trash talkers graduated. These were filled again years later with continuous support from members of the community who enjoyed our work.

These lofty, idealistic ambitions and goals were always meant to pass on the confidence and trust you had in me to a generation of Silhouette members you may never meet. I am sure that this year’s staff will understand the influence you have left on me with their own memories and experiences from this year, and I only hope that they remember me in a similar light to how I remember our times together.

For this year’s staff, I will always cherish the time we have spent together. The shouting, bad puns, food shared with friends, events attended throughout the year, the mix of vibrant and wonderful people and personalities have made this year better than I could have ever hoped for. Meetings with you all, a staff filled with members who were so eager to contribute, improve and share your work, reminded me of my humble beginnings and the feeling of pride from every piece published.

The responsibility has weighed heavily for the past five years to make my mentors and friends proud by trying to surpass the high standards they set. Our actions and words have the ability to help or hurt the people we trust and respect, and I hope mine have honoured you.

All I really wanted was to get a little bit closer to that ambitious vision so we could remember and respect the alumni that continue to leave their mark years after graduating and reach the full potential out of this year’s staff to create the highest quality product possible. I hope you are all proud of what we have accomplished.

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