One Hundred Monkeys in Texas

July 22, 2008

Closing the books

Filed under: College,High school,Journalism,Writing — alancochrum @ 2:42 pm
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Theresa Cloer helped get me where I am today.

Not that I’m blaming her for that, you understand.

There I was, a junior at a suburban Texas high school with delusions of writerhood. I had (successfully) submitted some poetry to the school newspaper, the Scroll, and Cloer suggested that I join the staff of Quadrus, the barely-out-of-diapers campus literary publication.

I did, and then she suggested that I try out for the yearbook staff. So in the spring of the year, I received a nice little note — which I still have stashed away — that I would be part of the Valhalla staff the next fall. (In what a local talk-radio host used to call a Brush With Fame, also on that staff was a lass named Laura Lane, who eventually would become actress Lauren Lane of the TV show The Nanny.)

And then the blow fell: Our teacher-sponsor, whose students had affectionately dubbed her “Darth Cloer,” left for greener pastures. No sooner had I stepped through one journalistic door than my recruiter stepped out the other.

True, our new teacher soon arrived and guided her motley crew through the year. I went on to a journalism major, two-plus decades at a couple of newspapers and now other horizons. But it was an interesting prelude to a career.

I read in the July 21 Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the college yearbook is facing a cloudy future. Writer John Austin reports that the 2008 Aerie will be the last for the University of North Texas; the story is the same at Mississippi State and Purdue.

I must admit that I carry no particular torch for collegiate yearbooks. (I bought all of my high school annuals but none from my university.) But I think that Kansas State yearbook adviser Kathy Lawrence had a point in Austin’s story: “They’re losing the only written history of the year prepared by the students who lived it.”

P.S. — Dear Mrs. Cloer: I’m still glad that you recruited me.

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