This month CWA’s Academy Times student newspaper became the second Washington state publication inducted into the National Scholastic Press Association’s Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for student publications—newspapers, yearbooks and magazines—which have earned 10 All-American ratings from within an 11-year span. The Academy Times newspaper has earned that high rating a total of 14 times in the past 19 years.
Induction into the Hall of Fame recognizes the tireless efforts of the 23 Tarriers who have served as editor and chief of the paper, and the countless hours journalism advisor Steve Matson, these editors, and their staffs have put into developing the Academy Times into one of the very best high school newspapers in the country.
So where are they now? Well, they are pastors, parents, lawyers, scientists, aspiring filmmakers and business leaders. Ties will feature these individuals throughout the year, sharing where they’re living, what they’re doing and what they remember most about their years on the newspaper staff.
Tracey Reim Luckner ’89
I went to Pomona College in Claremont, California. Because of my role of editor in chief at the Academy Times, I got involved in my college newspaper and was the Pomona College news editor my first year. One of my writers eventually went on to become a journalist at Newsweek and is now at Wired magazine in San Francisco.
After college I pursued an internship at Alaska Airlines Magazine (the in-flight magazine) in Seattle, and then was editor in chief of the Tacoma Weekly newspaper. From there I moved to New York City and was a research editor at Redbook Magazine for three years. Ultimately I changed course and earned an MBA in marketing at Columbia Business School in New York, but the Academy Times gave me a great start professionally.
I am now a senior product manager at Nestle Nutrition, working on new Gerber baby food products, advertising and business management. It’s perfect because I have two kids including my daughter, Grace, who is 14 months and just finished eating baby food.
Before my current job, I worked at Kraft food for eight years as a brand manager on products like Chips Ahoy! Cookies, Planters Nuts and Teddy Grahams. Writing is very important in business, as is gathering information and looking at multiple sides of a business issue, so I use my journalism skills all the time.
Paige Boyle Evers ’90
I graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1994, and then from Luther Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 2001. I am the pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Edgewood, Maryland. I am married to a Lutheran pastor, The Rev. Eric W. Evers. He
serves a different Lutheran Church, but we enjoy sharing the experience of both being parish pastors. We have a daughter, Sigrid Faith Evers, who is 2 years old.
I remember the camaraderie of spending Saturdays in the Upper School with the newspaper staff trying to meet our publication deadlines. The Macs we used were in one part of the building, and the printer was in another, so there were endless trips up and down the stairs to retrieve printed pages. Since the newspaper had only been established the year before, we were constantly learning and stretching our ideas for what we could do with the publication.
I greatly appreciated Mr. Matson’s persistence in getting the Academy Times started and his expectations for excellence, especially when our technology and equipment lagged behind our plans and dreams for the newspaper. Somehow, everyone pitched in and made it work!
During college, my on-campus job was with the public relations department. I wrote hometown news releases about students to help the colleges’ visibility across the country. My first professional job after college was with Weyerhaeuser Company in the public affairs department. I wrote the employee newsletter for Oregon and worked on many other projects for internal and external communications.
Now, as a pastor, I am constantly writing to communicate with my congregation. My members know that I am an incessant proofreader. When we work on projects together they have come to expect my close reading and careful editing of their work. They accept it with good humor! I also have enjoyed opportunities to write for theological publications outside my congregation. I rarely turn down the opportunity to write. That is largely thanks to the great foundation I received at Charles Wright while working on the Times, as well as the rigor of the writing program across the curriculum.
Kimberly Chu Reed ’91
I attended Columbia College in NYC from 1991-1995. I graduated with a degree in history with a concentration in economics. I am now a partner at American Capital Strategies in the private equity buyouts group.
I am happily married to Dale Reed and living in Beverly Hills. I recently gave birth to our first child, a baby girl, on April 16, 2008. Her name is Charlotte.
There are so many memories, but the most memorable ones are the long weekends working on last minute changes to the stories before sending it to final print. I also remember Mr. Matson’s incredible dedication and effort to get the newspaper launched.
Stephanie Lai Chen ’92
I earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University in 1996 and returned to earn my MBA there in 2001.
After graduating from college and prior to business school, I worked at Morgan Stanley in their investment banking division for three years, spending time in both their New York and San Francisco offices. After graduating from business school, I worked at the Gap’s corporate headquarters in the merchandising division, managing merchandising in their international division for both BabyGap and GapKids. While at Gap, I also had the pleasure of periodically running into Beth Olson ’93!
Since 2004, I have been a full-time stay-at-home mom for my two children. Justin is three-and-a-half years old and Madeleine is 10 months. My “professional” time is now spent as a room-parent for Justin’s preschool, working as the preschool treasurer as well as other exciting stay-at-home mom duties.
I have been married to a business school classmate of mine since 2002. We have stayed in the Bay Area—in San Francisco before children and now down in Menlo Park, just next to Stanford.
What I remember most were the crazy evenings and weekends that we spent in the back journalism room behind the senior stage, getting silly with Beth and Allison Knight (I still have some of the pictures as evidence!), and who could forget that conference in Albuquerque. I also must credit my time with the Academy Times for my intimate knowledge of PageMaker! It has come in handy.
Beth Olson Sutron ’93
I earned my bachelor’s degree in economics at Stanford University in 1997 and graduated with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2003.
Well, currently, I’m on a hiatus from my professional career as I await baby number two to enter the scene in about a month. That said, my last gig was doing marketing for the Gap brand (corporate headquarters, not folding T-shirts!) for about five years, where I launched and ran the Gap RED business. It was all very glamorous…I traveled to Africa with Bono, wrote talking points for Oprah and went on photo shoots with Annie Leibovitz…pretty much exactly like running the AT! Since becoming a mom, I’ve been doing some marketing consulting and hope to continue to work with start-ups in the Bay Area.
I’ve been married for four years to an architect and have a beautiful daughter, Annie, who is 18 months old. As I mentioned, she is about to become a big sister around Thanksgiving and we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl (get your bets in)! I’m still living in San Francisco, where I’ve been for about the last 10 years and loving it.
Whenever I have a job interview or when I was writing grad school applications, my mom constantly tells me to mention my experiences from running the AT. In her mind, it for sure is my greatest accomplishment to date (even though it was 15 years ago)!
Scott Case ’94
I earned my bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Williams College and my MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
I now work at Microsoft as a director of product management, leading a team of software product managers in Microsoft’s digital advertising technologies group. I had been working at Seattle-based technology company aQuantive in the same space that Microsoft acquired last year.
Four years ago, my wife and I worked for the Kerry campaign, making phone calls and going door-to-door. This time around, we’re supporting the Obama campaign, though more through fundraising than work on the ground.
I’ve been married for three years to a writer. Her first book, Horses That Buck, a biography of a former rodeo world champion, was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in May. I helped copyedit repeated drafts of her book using my Academy Times-honed skills! We live in Seattle in a quiet neighborhood near the Arboretum.
Scarily enough, most of my favorite memories from high school were from the late Friday and Saturday nights working on the newspaper. Between all the PageMaker tech support sessions, defective floppy disks, “rewrite” stamps and editing, I mostly remember and treasure the 11 p.m. Subway runs, ice cream fights and laughing. And I remember the perverse sense of pride I felt driving home one Sunday morning at 4 a.m., having just put to bed our 16-page “contest” issue—I’m pretty sure Marnie Bergman ’96 and Kathy Niakan ’96 were there until nearly the bitter end that night!
Heather Tapp Anderson ’95
I never finished college at the University of San Diego (way too much fun). Instead, I started a 10-year flying career with United Airlines. I lived in Manhattan, San Francisco, slopped icy beverages and traveled the world (yes, I did have editor Scott Case on a flight—it is always great to catch-up with an old comrade). I have been married for 9 years and am currently raising a 3 year old and a 15 month old.
This past year I raised over $160,000 for the Children’s Museum of Tacoma as one of their fundraiser chairs. I am actively involved in the Junior League of Tacoma and currently training for my third marathon. We must be getting old though, as the time arrives for the new generation of testing and admittance to CWA. Yikes…I do feel old.
My favorite memories of the newspaper…Marnie Bergman ’96 and Trevor Will (who is now a cousin and I see very often; Trevor I think you were paid too much!)—we had late nights with Kathy Niakan ’96 and her brother, Cyrus, oh yes, and Tim Klein…who am I forgetting at the late hour but Al the man, yes, Alan, you were drinking plenty of coke! I miss the team and one of these days look forward to a reunion.
Kathy Niakan ’96
I earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Washington, and both a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology and PhD in human genetics at UCLA. I’m now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. I conduct research in embryonic stem cells and teach stem cell biology to undergrads. I still use the principles of layout and design for paper figures—picas, the whole bit!
I just married a fellow scientist. Marnie Bergman ’96 performed the ceremony—twice we kind of forgot the paperwork. My husband is also a researcher, but studies the RNA world in plants. We are moving in the new year to the other Cambridge (he claims it’s the better one, but I’m not so sure).
I remember one of the contest issues had a DNA double helix around the border of the page, which Scott Case ’94 had designed and we splurged on color for the center spread! Steve Matson was without a doubt my most influential teacher; I’m really thrilled to hear that his efforts culminated in this award! I remember Steve taking me for many laps around the campus to “cool off,” after I got too snippy with Heather Tapp Anderson ’95, sorry, how embarrassing! There was a time when I was threatened with a lawsuit after the publication of an article and Steve stood up for me.
I also remember the intense late-night layout and editing marathons, being really concerned about sans serif and serif fonts, trying to select figures for special color sections, scrambling to get someone to buy an advertisement and being super nervous/excited to attend the national journalism competition (even though I lost, I could totally take those kids on now)!
Marnie Bergman Silver ’96
I earned my bachelor’s degree in English literature in 2000 at the University of Washington and graduated from the UW School of Law in 2003. I am a civil defense attorney at a firm in downtown Seattle, with an emphasis on construction defect disputes. Mainly, I represent builders and contractors who are sued based on alleged water intrusion, but I have a few personal injury cases (mostly construction-related) as well.
I am currently a mentor for two college students through the Orphan Foundation of America, a group which focuses on the education, support and workforce development of foster teens. I also do some pro bono legal work here and there.
My husband and I have been married almost three years. Dave is also a lawyer in Seattle, but we never cross paths in the courtroom, since his work (general counsel to condominium associations) is mainly transactional. We met on a blind date in law school while I was attending UW and he was at Seattle University. No kids yet, but we dote on our three-and-a-half pound Yorkshire Terrier, Carmela, as if she were our child. As for trips, we definitely plan on visiting Kathy Niakan ’96 and Ian in the UK once Kathy gets settled in. Kathy and I have actually been talking about taking a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu, so we’re hoping to make that happen in the spring or summer.
I’ll never forget our group trips to the annual journalism conventions. One year, the convention was scheduled in Long Beach, so we took off a day early and went to Disneyland. It worked out to be less expensive to take a limousine than to catch a shuttle or cab, so we rolled in high style to the Magic Kingdom. I still have a picture of Beth Olson ’93, Trevor Will ’93 and me in the back of the limo from that trip.
I remember someone (Scott, perhaps?) daring the staff to change Steve Matson’s name to “Stove Mutson” in the text of a story. I can’t recall if we ever took him up on the dare, but it still makes me laugh to think about it.
I’ll also never forget the time that I got lost on my way to the WJEA state conference in Puyallup. I missed the conference completely, and Mr. Matson, who had no clue where I was, had to accept an award for me. How embarrassing!
Michi Wohns ’98 (editor in 1997)
I majored in English and comparative literary studies at Occidental College, graduating in 2002 with a minor in art history and visual arts. I also majored in visual communications at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I am now applying to California State University Northridge’s special education program and hope to begin my studies there in the spring of 2009.
Since graduating from college, I’ve been living in Southern California and am now in Los Angeles, where I am working in the field of special education as a teacher’s assistant at Valley High School and Learning Center in North Hills. Over the past few years, I’ve traveled to South Africa, Japan and Europe.
I certainly remember the very late nights in the newspaper room with the entire staff and Mr. Matson! I felt a great deal of pride when a new edition of the paper would come out and the whole school would be reading it.
Loren Thompson ’98 Andrea Haughton Kladder’99
I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Puget Sound in 2003. I graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in divinity in 2007.
I’m the associate pastor of family ministries at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Illinois. Basically, I have an awesome job at an awesome church but live in a city surrounded by corn. I’m learning to deal. We’ve been here for a year now.
My husband, Dean, and I met in seminary and got married in 2006. We get to work together, which is pretty sweet. Other than that, we’re trying to keep our plants alive before making any other commitments to caring for dependent creatures.
I was managing editor during the transition from the old newsroom behind the senior stage to the current location in the science wing. I remember a Tussock Moth Day spent with the staff selecting the color for the new room and painting it together. I think they let us paint the room to mollify us after kicking us out of the old space.
I also remember our outrage at the new midnight deadline for getting out of the building on journalism weekends—the horror of being expected to finish our work by midnight!
And, of course, lots of fond memories of picas and story flow charts and retreats on which we stared at fonts for hours on end.
I find that my early experience with journalism and design ruined me for a lot of what is produced in the non-profit/church world. I often look at our church publications and wish I had the time to do some of the design work myself.
The AT was an integral part of my high school experience, and my journalism experience equipped me to be a thoughtful communicator, something which fuels my ministry as a pastor even though the field seems divergent from print journalism.
Nate Rowland ’00
After CWA I went to the University of Denver and did a five-year program with a dual BSEE (electrical engineering with a specialization in optics) and an MBA. I graduated in June 2005 and moved to Colorado. I have been living here ever since. I work in hospitality management at The Sky Hotel at the base of beautiful Ajax mountain in downtown Aspen.
I am an avid climber and skier and spend a good portion of the year ski-mountaineering around the world. The seasonal nature of Aspen (insanely busy winters and summers, slow springs and falls) makes it very easy to head north to Alaska in the spring and south to the Southern Hemisphere in the fall.
Since leaving CWA I have spent considerable time in Chamonix, the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Central Andes of Chile and Argentina, Patagonia, the Chugach Range of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Most recently I returned from an expedition on the Aleutian Island of Unimak that I had been planning for the last five years or so. The weather there is miserable, but there are 9,000 foot volcanoes that you can ski right down to the Bering Sea or Pacific Ocean. I have never been so wet or happy in my whole life.
I have many great memories of working on the Academy Times. Most of them revolve around the late night and weekend work sessions that would inevitably take place as we got close to deadline. Most of the actual composition of the paper took place outside of school hours and we were all very passionate about it, so it never seemed odd to spend the better part of the weekend or Friday night cooped up in a room full of glowing computers.
One of the other things I really loved was how it allowed individuals to be exposed to a great many skill sets (technical writing and editing, design, photography, electronic publishing, scheduling and project management, budgeting and sales, and leadership skills to name a few). We were all forced to identify what we enjoyed and wanted to pursue, and we also struggled with things that we otherwise would have avoided entirely.
Selling ad space to local businesses was probably the single most terrifying thing that I did in high school, but I am better for having done it. It was great to see staff members with such varied talents, both creative and technical, come together to create a single solid product. We really loved what we were doing.
Ahrum Hong ’01
Jen White Chiang ’01
I earned a degree in communications from the University of Washington in 2005 and graduated from the UW School of Law in 2008. I am now an attorney focusing on intellectual property and technology licensing.
As a student, I participated in the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic at UW, which helps low-income, minority- and immigrant-owned businesses with free legal advice.
I married my Academy Times entertainment editor, Jerry Chiang ’XX, about four years ago. No AT babies yet. We both graduated from law school last spring and took the bar exam in July and then headed to Europe for the rest of the summer. We are back in the States, back to work and now settled down in Ballard.
The Academy Times made an awesome trip to Disneyland when I was a student. I just remember a lot of Friday and Saturday nights spent in the newsroom. I also remember the crazy level of attention to detail, most memorably, the pica rule, which still sticks with
me whenever I look at a page layout of anything. I mostly remember the good friends I made (both my bridesmaids were AT alums).
Oh, and we had that big earthquake during journalism management. I do remember that, wondering whether that wood table was in fact the sturdiest piece of furniture in the entire building.
Marya Colignon ’02
I earned a bachelor’s degree in French literature and English from Whitman College in 2006. I have been a student ever since I left Charles Wright, but I am in my third and final year of law school at the University of Oregon and am planning to take the Washington bar exam in the summer before moving back to my favorite state!
I have many cherished memories of being part of the Academy Times—I remember all of the trips to the national conventions; the board where we posted ridiculous photos; driving home with the air conditioner on/windows rolled down/music blaring to keep me from falling asleep at the wheel because 1) we would be at school so late and 2) I lived ridiculously far away from school; and the wonderful friendships I made (I was one of the bridesmaids in Jen and Jerry Chiang’s wedding).
Mike Zeeck ’03
I attended THE George Washington University in Washington, DC. I graduated with a degree in political communication, which I promptly disregarded to chase a dream in the movie business. I’m gunning for an Oscar, mostly because it will make me a lock for the Charles Wright Academy Distinguished Alumni Award.
I work in the signatories department of the Directors Guild of America, which basically means I get producers to sign documents promising to treat Guild members according to the terms of the collective bargaining agreements.
I’m something of a chump when it comes to volunteering, but I am doing some work trying to get Barack Obama elected president. While I hate reinforcing the idea that we newspaper folk belong to the “liberal media elite,” I think one of the best things we can do to help the folks that need help is to make sure we have people running this country who give a darn about people in less fortunate situations—think Hurricane Katrina.
One of my favorite memories of the Academy Times is when we killed a 24-pack of Coke and another 12-pack on some Saturday as a staff. It got to six or seven in the evening, and we all got a bit loopy, so my managing editor, Dan Moe, went into the supply closet, put the 24-pack on his head (complete with eye holes) and the 12-pack on his arm and came out claiming to be Coke Man. Coke Man was the best managing editor EVER.
As for the paper itself, I remember the tradition of professionalism—from the pica rule to reporting, and from my freshman year to my senior year, Steve Matson and my editors (Nate, Ahrum and Jen, Marya) always made it clear that cutting corners was not okay (except maybe eyeballing the pica rule at 11:48 p.m.). We were overachievers and we made sure to put out the best product we could. You don’t give up your Saturdays to phone it in.
Last but not least, Steve Matson is a world-class teacher of journalism. I caught the last half hour of All the President’s Men the other day and Ben Bradlee is tough, but he’s no Mad Dog Matson.
Dan Moe ’04 Katherine Robinson ’05 Ashley McLean ’05
Since graduating from CWA in 2005, I have been pursuing a communication degree from the University of San Diego. My passion for journalism began with the Academy Times, but it didn’t stop there. As a freshman I immediately got involved with USD’s newspaper, The Vista, and have since worked my way up to associate editor.
In high school I attended the Journalism Educators Association/National Scholastic Press Association Journalism Convention in San Diego where I met San Diego Magazine editor Tom Blair. After that meeting, I told Mr. Matson that I would one day work there, and it came true. I have now been an editorial intern for San Diego Magazine since June and absolutely love it.
This May I will be graduating, and I am both anxiously and nervously awaiting it. Although San Diego is a great place to go to school, I am returning back to the Northwest because I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
My greatest memory of the Academy Times has to be winning “Best of Show Newsmagazine” at the JEA/NSPA Journalism Convention in Seattle. I screamed so loudly from the back of the room that Mr. Matson heard me from the stage. I was never more proud of the entire staff for setting a goal of 32 pages and accomplishing it beyond what was expected. It was such an amazing moment that I will never forget.
If there was one thing I wish I had known then, it would be to make every moment count. Back then, I thought I would never miss our Saturdays in the CWA journalism room. And even though I’m currently writing this at 12:47 a.m. on a Tuesday, still at USD because it is our layout day and we have to make our printer deadline, I can honestly say that yes, I really do miss those Saturdays.
Jamie Lee ’06 Anna Min ’07 Emily Rome ’08
I’m a freshman at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television in LA, and I’m a film production major. I’m still getting oriented with juggling all the opportunities on campus, but thus far, I’ve done some volunteer work with EcoStudents Club (calling state representatives to support initiatives that battle global warming, getting students to sign petitions, etc.), Amnesty Int’l. (writing letters to key leaders about the immorality of the death penalty) and various things with campus ministry.
What I love about college, particularly about going to college in LA, is that every day is different. There’s always something new and exciting happening either on- or off- campus, and life never gets monotonous. So that, of course, implies that I could talk forever about what goes on here, but I’ll try to limit it to a few key things:
I worked on a film set for the first time two weekends ago, on a grad student’s project. I was a PA (production assistant), so basically the bottom of the food chain, but the rest of the crew didn’t treat me as such at all and was amazing to work with. I learned so much and had such an enjoyable time, and I’m sure it’s a good step toward my dream of becoming a cinematographer.
My friend and I are DJs on our two-hour-long, weekly radio show. It’s on the campus AM station, and it’s really chill, so it’s the perfect balance between, “Hooray, we have people listening to our show!” and “Well, if we mess up, good thing we’re not on FM.”
I’m writing for two publications on campus. I’m a staff writer for both the news section and the A&E section of the biweekly student publication, The Los Angeles Loyolan. I’m also a design editor for Passion Magazine, a student publication that comes out three to four times a year and is focused on topics regarding social justice.
Though I’m not planning on pursuing journalism professionally (I was still debating between journalism and filmmaking up until last winter), I love working on these publications as a hobby. I was really beginning to miss journalism by mid-summer, actually—the past four years I’ve been so used to getting into issue one of the Academy Times by July that I felt like something was missing when I didn’t have fellow staff members to communicate with and stories to write over the summer. So while my main focus is on film, I do have a reporter’s notebook in hand once again, if only just for fun for the next four years. The Loyolan and Passion are definitely not the Academy Times, so I still do miss CWA’s newsroom, but it’s a good experience to work with different publications.
I have a couple of good memories from our massive issue six freshmen year. The day that 48-pager came out, we put it on the newsstands just before speaker’s block, and I remember all the students reading the newsmag while the speaker was talking. Teachers had to take away the issue from students, and, finally, Mr. White had to step up to the microphone for a moment to tell students to put them away. The most rewarding part of our work on the AT was always to see the CWA community reading it and to get feedback from them, so to see students reading the AT to that extreme was a particularly good moment.
Also, I remember when we won first place Best of Show at the Seattle convention for that issue. They announce the winners backwards from tenth place to first, so we got nervous when they got to the top five and we hadn’t been named at all. Just before first place was announced, Ashley McLean said very disappointedly, “It’s going to be Orange and Black (another student publication).” But then they announced, “the Academy Times,” and the announcer’s listing of where we were from was drowned out by our screaming as we jumped up and started heading toward the front to collect our trophy. We started running up there, and Ashley even ran past the second place winners!
Saturdays in the newsroom in general are good memories. It was always so lively and hectic (in a good way), and it really became my home since we spent so many hours in there and the newsmaggers and the yearbookers formed this journalist geek bond.
To know I’m a part of a group of AT veterans who have shared a devotion to our same high school publication is such an honor, and it’s really exciting to see that this has been carried on for 20 years and that this particular group has achieved something really notable in the past 12 years. We’ve each picked up on the success of editors and staffers in years past, and where the AT has gotten today is really a group effort of all of us. But the common thread is Mr. Matson: as I believe a few others also mentioned, this is really his award. He’s always been so committed to the publication and passionate about both its and its staffers well-being. He’s always challenged us to go beyond the simple and easy, and I’ve learned so much from him as a result.
About a year and a half ago, Mr. Matson and I were slightly concerned whether there was even going to be an Academy Times, as I was the only staffer planning to come back for the 2007-08 year. We began despairing because we, of course, wanted the AT to live on, but also because that would mean losing the chance for Hall of Fame at the last minute, after so many previous staffers had built up to that point. Fortunately, with some recruiting and the very helpful return of my friend Mai Nguyen (who had been on staff frosh and sophomore year), everything came together, and we had another great year. Without all those staffers who stepped up last year, we wouldn’t have been able to pull through to another All-American.