I was barely able to turn a computer on when I first arrived at UCC, or I would have signed up to write for The Mainstream sooner. When more confident, I registered for J215 and then spent an entire four terms with the paper. I couldn’t be pulled away from my adopted family of creative people. If I could reasonably argue for another term (or more) I would love to have stayed even longer. My journey towards an English/Writing degree has been helped immeasurably by my time with The Mainstream, though, and I send all of my best wishes to the staff and future writers who take this course.

Jason Bamburg

Writing for The Mainstream has given me a sense of community in college that I had not previously experienced. I was expecting to find a class that would help develop skills for reporting and non-fiction writing, which it certainly did. My time in this course has also introduced me to friends and mentors that I would not have known otherwise.

Vladimir Sovyak

Thinking back to my last day of high school, I was so nervous for college. High school teachers warn about how tough the next step of schooling is, and I was intimidated to say the least. My first class was a five week summer math course, and although it was challenging, I instantly fell in love with the beautiful campus. I have loved every teacher I had over the last two years and found myself at peace among the trees, fountains and river. I look forward to returning next year to continue my CIS and cybersecurity degrees as well as continuing as the web editor for the Mainstream.

Ursula Evans

I feel like life is a series of situations or “ruts” which we constantly fight to get out of. We attempt to better ourselves and others, while at the same time, try and get out of the rut. New opportunities turn into new ruts that we strive to climb out of. My time at UCC, in all honesty, is viewed as just another rut. I am almost done climbing just to be pushed into a pit of stress, student loans and numbing myself. I know that sounds cynical, but that’s the way she goes. Thank you to everyone that helped me climb and thank you to everyone that convinced me to roll down the hill.

Sam Homola

When I first moved to Roseburg in October of 2015, my senior year transition to Roseburg was accompanied by everyone’s feelings of sadness and stress. It took me what seemed liked a small eternity to make friends and it wasn’t until I started my education at Umpqua Community College that I became more social. I made wonderful friends in my classes, through clubs like the Queer Students Advocacy, and my work as a tutor in the Transfer Opportunity Program. I worked hard, long hours mostly by the light of my computer. As someone with a stress disorder this last year was anything but easy for me, but thanks to my family, friends, teachers, and partner I was able to do it. I loved walking around this campus and seeing all the wildlife and flowers near the river. I never thought a college campus could be this close to nature. As a reporter for the paper, I couldn’t be more excited for my career in advertising but I will miss my fellow reporters. I am so thankful for all the opportunities that I have had for growth here and I want to thank all of the donors from the UCC Foundation and the Oregon Promise Grant which have made it possible for me to become the first college graduate in my family.

Renee DeAnda

I have been a reporter for The Mainstream since fall term of 2017. This journalism program has brought me laughter, tears, and enough class-brewed coffee from the bathroom sinks to fill me with the energy and strength needed to complete my articles to perfection. However my definition of “perfect,” may become warped at 11:59 p.m. of deadline night. The Mainstream has given me a sense of purpose, improved my communication skills, and taught me the value of working with others. I’ve always hated working on group projects because depending on others for their contributions can be terrifying. People suck. My newspaper family has taught me that not everybody sucks. There are good people out there who will be reliable and get the job done, even if they are stuck on campus until 11 p.m. on a school night. I am thankful for my experiences with the student newspaper here at UCC, and for the family that came with it.

Susan Jarvis

I’m looking forward to being the editor for next school year. It’s a new position that I’m anxious yet excited for, and I hope that I can grow into it. I got my first hate comment this year, and that was exciting. It was a learning moment. I sort of felt like a corner store clerk catching someone stealing a pack of cigs. I’ve learned to grow as a person since I’ve been here, that’s for sure. It’s allowed me to open up parts of myself that I usually don’t. And I talk to people here — at home, I don’t usually do that. As the editor I’m going to learn more things about the school itself, its structure, how it’s run and budgets. Budgets. Wow, if I weren’t in this position, I probably wouldn’t care, but I plan to take that information and relay it to the student body and the community. My goals for next year are to learn how to better use my time, as always increase my self-esteem, and learn to slow down and live in the moment. For next year on the publication, I want to succeed. I want the publication to continue on the path it is on.

Christian DeWeese

My first year at UCC was a struggle—not academically, but emotionally. My high school friends had taken different paths, and I felt alone. I dreaded making the half hour drive every morning to spend the day surrounded by strangers, and so I often skipped class. I was lost in my journey, unsure of which path was right for me. During the summer, I seriously doubted whether returning to school was the right decision, but I did (thanks to my mom who has always seen my potential). After spending the summer considering who I really was and where I wanted to go, I decided to get back into literature and writing, my two true passions, and the entire UCC experience changed for me. Jillanne Michelle led me deeper into the world of literature, and I finally found my family at the Mainstream. Having a solid group of people to surround myself with that I knew shared my creative talents and only wished to work together to help each other grow made my last year here significantly more enjoyable (although no less stressful). While I have decided to put school on pause while I pursue traveling and writing, I am so grateful for the people at UCC that saw my gifts and have encouraged me to nurture them.

Savanah O’Brien

While I might be finishing out my program next year through UCC, this is my last term on the campus I’ve come to know and love. In fall of 2014 I had no idea what to expect; I had hated high school with a passion yet I had an equal passion for learning. In that first year I got to know three incredible instructors, Charles Young, Paula Ursey, and Honora Ní Aódagaín, and without them I don’t think I would have ever come this far. Charles always loved my essays in History and US Politics and pushed me to write each one better than the last. Paula transformed my love for speaking into true communication. Ní Aódagaín, as every French student called her, transformed my love for Paris into something even more.

I can trace my current path back to spring of 2015. That spring I, among others, was lucky enough to participate in a two week “class” that took some of the French class to Paris. I feel blessed to have experienced another culture personally. That trip will always be special to me because it was a happy memory in what was to become a dark time in my life. I still struggle day to day with the events that took place in fall of 2015. We all do. Before that I already struggled with anxiety, depression and PTSD. All of those feelings got much worse before they got better, but this is not a sad story.

After much poking, prodding and constant asking, a friend convinced me to join The Mainstream. At first it was on a volunteer basis only. I did little odd jobs here and there; I was good at business and they needed a business manager. Working, writing and contributing to The Mainstream reminded me about everything I love about UCC: The people, the nature, the things that bind us together. I will forever be indebted to The Mainstream and while it may be an unpayable debt, it is one I gladly bear.

I would like to finish by highlighting the people who are my family and mean so much. First and foremost, to Alicia Graves for always listening to my silly ideas and for always being by my side (Forever and Always!). To Melinda Benton for being the most amazing advisor and friend at every turn. To Vlad Sovyak, Sam Homola, Corden Drift and Jason Bamburg for being like brothers and for always being there. To Kaya Maliglig for being the coolest little sister. To Christina Morrow for being awesome at Sonic Racers! To Peter Bordenave for your sense of humor and music every production Friday. To Susan Jarvis, Savanah O’Brien, Julius Benson, Ursula Evans, Renee DeAnda and Christian DeWeese for being the “next generation” and for jumping into our little family without any presumptions. And lastly, to TC103, the room I’ve come to know as home. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Charles Crosier 

My time at UCC is getting close to coming to an end, and the past two years have been quite the journey. I started out here as a student who had underachieved throughout my entire scholastic career, but coming to Umpqua Community College has instilled in me a new found hunger for knowledge. I have furthered my education in nearly every subject, and have learned how to improve upon my writing skills. For the first time in my life I am achieving academic success and thanks to UCC my future is beginning to look much brighter compared to the time I spent away from school.

Julius Benson

I leave this year happy that it is all, finally, over. I still have many personal issues that I have to contend with after this. And I will happily be on campus more often for the fun of it. No longer will I have to drag myself up at the crack of dawn and deal with the idea that a single class will derail or hinder my entire future.
I am done, I can slow down, I can be tired, and I can finally sleep
Peter Bordenave

As adviser for student media these last 15 years, I’ve repeatedly experienced the pleasure of working with UCC’s finest students as well as the unavoidable pain of watching those students graduate and move on. Just when you get them trained, there they go out the door! This time, though, as the door closes behind 2015-2018 editor Alicia Graves, the parting is extra difficult.

Normally, advisers don’t write in their students’ publications. Even this letter will only be published after student permission because UCC takes student press rights very seriously. The first amendment is nearly revered in the journalism lab. Yet, this is a special situation calling for a special letter to thank a special student who served as editor in special circumstances over the last several years.

Those special circumstances included a UCC school shooting, a media frenzy, a dangerous balancing act between the worlds of need-to-know and too-much-information, baffling attempts to avoid offense, plus the journey through a thousand subsequent dilemmas requiring difficult, mature decisions. Ms. Graves led this publication and her peers through all of that darkness and back into the light.

And, along that way, she carried with her a group of incredible students who also graciously shouldered a staggering load. Oct. 1 was not the only trauma that students on the staff of this publication have experienced. Parental divorce, loss of housing, food scarcity, abuse, transportation loss, job loss, death, fire, separation, and so many other heartaches these students have suffered through since 2015 when Ms. Graves agreed to serve as editor.

It takes a special leader, a special person, to keep a group going through all of that. How in the world did she do it? How did we all get here to this graduation with the same editor student leader who has carried such a load?

The answer is that it isn’t really the same editor student leader. She changed. We all changed, and partly why we could is because Ms. Graves was both vulnerable and tough. Turns out that accepting each other’s needs while learning each other’s strengths leads to some rather exceptional growth on a team.

When that door closes behind her, Ms. Graves will have led her staff to 21 awards, will have put 36 issues to bed, will have attended hundreds of campus meetings, and will have folded and stacked thousands of UCC newspapers. When you read this one, her last, please know that part of her soul is caught somewhere between the words. And wish her well on her way.
Melinda Benton