Where is 2020 WBN staff now?


Tanner Shimomoto

Pictured above is Ryan Mccord at his first soccer practice.

If one thing has become apparent these past couple months, it is that life keeps on going. Life does not go on pause when pandemics shut down cities, when Americans line the streets protesting for their right to breathe, nor even when fires sweep the West Coast, and the sky turns red. 

For the WBN staff of Class 2020, the progression of the world meant simply one thing: their time as high school students was over, and the next chapter of their lives was set to begin. 

For many of them, this meant continuing their education. 

Halle Olsen, Bella Kleiner, Meghann Yochim, Kate Hedgepeth and Aly Johnston are all attending University of Oregon this year, although Yochim will be partaking in the online courses from home. 

When asked what fueled her choice to opt out of staying in the dorms, Yochim explained she was actually excited, “to be able to work my job and do school online at the same time.” As well as she is, “looking forward to saving money and also being able to hang out with my friends who also have to stay home and do school.” Yochim’s plan for now is to major in both journalism and Spanish, with a minor in Biology, or she plans to major in journalism and Biology, with a minor in Spanish.

Kleiner will also be majoring in journalism, with a minor for advertising. For her, college life will hold a semblance of normality due to living on campus and going through with her decision to try and join a sorority. A normal weekday for Kleiner will “start with at least a class a day or two,  hanging with my roommate, and bugging [Olsen] from across the hall!” Kleiner admitted she is feeling quite a bit of stress due to all classes being online, but as her friend Olsen said, “I’m dreading all the new restrictions in the dorm halls due to COVID-19. Dorm life is definitely going to be different this year, but I’m going to make the best out of it!” Olsen will be majoring in Business Administration and mainly focusing on the finance aspect of it. 

Hedgepeth will be attending University of Oregon as well, but while she does not know what she will major in yet, over the Covid-19 summer, she has found a passion for speaking out for civil rights as well as women’s rights, using social media platforms such as TikTok. 

Johnston, our former Editor-and-Chief, will be living on campus, though with such a dense group of people living together, she conceded that she is pretty nervous in terms of Covid-19. Even though, like the majority of college students, she is “really looking forward to meeting new people,” and even with classes all online, Johnston hopes to be able to make a couple friends anyways. 

On an average day I wake up at six for practice, have class at eight and continue to have a few classes. I usually go for a hike or go to the beach around noon.”

— Ryan Mccord

Co-hosts of WBN’s award winning podcast Resting the Starters have also graduated and spread far and wide. Finlay Dunn is majoring in statistics at University of Utah; Samuel Blohn is majoring in business at the Gonzaga University; Ryan Mccord is playing soccer and majoring in business administration; and Oliver Hardt will be moving to Bend come Spring and is planning to spend his days working, climbing and learning the necessary skills he needs to go into his optimal field. As of now Hardt sees himself becoming a fireman or park ranger. 

As for the rest of our 2020 graduates, Miranda Platt has decided to take a gap year to optimize the years she will be able to attend college, and Preston Whitlock will be going to school at Portland Community College, and “working and getting a bag.” 

With so many seniors, it is no surprise that they are all continuing on, forging their own path and writing their next chapter, but the one thing every single former staff member’s interview had in common was their praise and love for the WBN program, and each one explained their own personal reason for why the skills and experiences they gained through journalism is helping them on each and any path they may choose.