To others, it’s a means of measuring popularity. Some use the Oracle for last-minute birthday gift-wrapping or as a hasty coaster for a dripping cup of coffee. And still others (the majority, I suspect) politely receive the Oracle from my staff every other Friday following chapel, browse through for interesting pictures and promptly discard it in the Deli or Hava Java.
To me, the Oracle is much more than an ongoing school project or a means to attain skills that make me a marketable hire. It’s more than the temporary thrill of seeing my name at the top of the masthead.
It’s cliché, but it’s true: the Oracle is my family. I’ve made inimitable relationships with my coworkers. It’s the thing I’ll miss most about ORU when I graduate in a few weeks.
Despite what you might think, we actually spend hours and hours down in the deepest bowels of the LRC without cell reception working on captions, headlines and editing.
We’ve had a lot of memorably hilarious times. Our production week music has been especially excellent – we’d start listening to Of Monsters and Men or Deathcab for Cutie, but as the night wore on, we’d listen to the entire Tarzan soundtrack from start to finish and conclude the evening with the N*SYNC Pandora station.
We’d sustain ourselves on coffee and store-brand chocolate-filled Oreo cookies. We talked about everything – literally, everything – from roommate squabbles to relationship advice to family drama.
We’ve also had some serious bonding times. The night Carissa Horton and her boyfriend were murdered, we were halfway through production of the paper. We followed the event as it unfolded and pulled an all-nighter in the office remaking the cover, centerspread and half of the content.
I’ll never forget that night – all of the production staff gathered in the office, held hands and prayed for the families of the victims.
This year, Ash Wednesday fell on a production week. Right before midnight, we turned off all the lights in the office, wrote down something separating us from God and burned it in a tiny candleholder. We all gave each other ashes; it was a mark of our closeness.
Of course, the staff members were an irreplaceable part of this experience. However, there’s always been one constant: Kevin Armstrong.
Mr. Armstrong stayed up with us all night in the office. He bought us Dr Pepper and sweet tea to sustain us. He counseled us on our story choices and coached us on our writing. He advised us on our internships and jobs.
Even after his resignation, Mr. Armstrong answered every phone call, eager to help with stories and respond to any questions we had.
Now after several months and publishing our last spring edition, we have just received notice from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists that Kevin Armstrong was voted Teacher of the Year.
No one in the world is more deserving of this honor than Mr. Armstrong. Congratulations on behalf of our entire Student Media family. We’ll always remember to speak the truth in love, a lesson you exhibited over and over and one that continues to guide our staff.