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Final Night at WJI: Friday, May 31, 2024

By Joanna Insco from Marymount Manhattan College

Final Night at WJI

It’s a lot of pressure to write the last WJI post. How can I encapsulate the end of our time in just a few hundred words? I’m getting a bit sappy- it probably has something to do with the lack of sleep, but I’m really going to miss these people.

The evening of Friday, May 31 began with our last dinner in the cafeteria. We had potato wedges, green beans, and of course pasta. It was raining outside and we all were tired after a long day of finishing (or almost finishing) our final projects. We slowly trickled away from the tables and ran back through the drizzle to the sunken classroom.

Once there, we heard from the features team about their hard work and watched them receive tiny red clogs of courage. Then one student from each track received well-deserved yellow clogs to honor their contributions. Geni for news, Libby for TV, and Lenny for radio.

Then we dispersed into groups to reflect. Each group had a mixture of students from each track so we watched, listened, and read what each other had done. It was so impressive to see what everyone had accomplished in just a week.

We returned to the sunken room to write thank you cards to donors and fill out anonymous evaluations of WJI- and then the celebration began.

One by one Mr. Pitts called our names and we received a certificate, a t-shirt, and two recent WORLD magazine issues. Somewhere in there, we also watched a funny slideshow. The graduation song played, people cheered, and we shook Lee's hand. Honestly, it was on par with my high school graduation (I graduated during COVID).

Then it was time for the last Pitts P: Party at Pitts’ Place. I hitched a ride with one of the students and luckily, we didn’t get pulled over (this time).

When I arrived, Mr. Pitts’ daughter gave me and Lenny a tour of their upstairs reading nook and some of her cool legos and then I went to raid the snack table. Everything was delicious, especially the green grapes, those were so good. Then I watched some students play intense rounds of double-shot basketball announced by Nick Eicker. The party at Pitts’ was a sweet time of last conversations, thank yous with the “adults,” and farewell hugs with new friends.

Then, I hitched a ride back to the dorms with Harrison Watters and we also didn’t get pulled over (this time). It was a little sad getting ready for bed knowing that it was our last night, but while brushing my teeth the girls had a sweet moment chatting with our fearless Assistant Director Naomi Balk and it closed the night perfectly.

My roommate had already left (I love you Julianna) so I dragged a mattress into Annie and Christina’s room and slept in there with them. Bags packed and work (mostly) complete we took our last sleep at Dordt; two weeks better equipped for journalism than when we started.

Goodnight WJI 2024! Thank you for everything!

P.S. The news track read Psalm 33 in closing and I think you should too!