Big Shoes To Fill

She didn’t want this to be published, but I did — and other Spartan staffers overrode her by an impromptu vote.And she deserves it.

This column is about arguably the most driven student I have come across in five years of teaching.

And I’m writing it because she’s leaving Castleton with her degree — after only three years — and because we’re ALL going to notice her absence.

Janet is the editor of this paper — and has transformed it into a product I am really proud to be associated with. She has done it through her inherent leadership skills, primarily self-taught page design capabilities and an inner drive to not settle for just OK work.

A really shy Janet Gillett came here three years ago and immediately immersed herself in school paper.

It was an obvious hobby for a psychology major, right?

There was another page designer at the time, so Janet would write stories — lots of stories — and help edit and take photos. She did essentially anything asked of her and always did it well.

Last year, she became editor.

She does the unpleasant work of hounding student reporters to get stories in, dealing with budget issues and dealing with me, the slightly crazy advisor.

She spends at least 10 hours a weekend in the tiny Spartan office, often alone, on weeks when the paper publishes. The work continues on Monday, when the paper is shipped to the printer, and then the process begins all over again to put the next one out.

I can’t lie, I want Janet to be an award-winning journalist or page designer – but she has a more ambitious plan – to be a psychologist who helps people cope as they near death.

She’s had more than her share of experiences with grief in her short life and I know she will be a great champion for the psychology field.

I’m sure that Janet, like all people, has her shortcomings. But honestly, I don’t know of one.

She plays mother hen to fellow students who occasionally need it, yet never seems to need help in return. She works tirelessly, is fun and funny and kind.

She always has gone above and beyond in the classroom leading to universal praise from professors. And because of her unusual drive in high school, the college level classes she took there will allow her to leave here with a degree after only three years.

Janet is headed to graduate school in Chicago now to realize her dream of being Dr. Gillett the psychologist. She’s nervous, maybe a little scared, but also excited.

I’m excited for her and am confident she’ll succeed and fulfill her dream to help others in deep need.

But her leaving is also a little troublesome for me. I’m going to miss her leadership with the Spartan, her laugh, her smile her desire to succeed. And I’m nervous about keeping up the quality of the paper that she fostered.

I’ll miss Janet, and so will all of you who read the Spartan every two weeks. Cut us a little slack if the paper looks a little different as new designers find their way. They’re filling some pretty big shoes.

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