To The Badger Herald,

You’ve given me so much over three amazing years. This dingy, dirty, musty office has become a second home for me. Whether it’s to escape obnoxious roommates or to just goof around with the other Heralders, I love you and all of your quirks.

When my freshman year Liz Waters’ neighbor — shoutout to Dakota — dragged me along to a new members’ meeting in September 2018, I had no idea how much this place would come to mean to me. I was a wannabe-stats major, and English was definitely not my favorite subject in high school. But after seeing my name in the byline for the first time in October, I knew journalism was where I wanted to be.

I ended up writing almost 20 articles that year, learning all about sports I had never watched before as I covered the women’s volleyball team, the men’s soccer team and finally became the Herald’s first beat reporter for Forward Madison FC in their inaugural 2019 season.

At the end of the spring semester, I was encouraged by my editor — shoutout to Nour — to apply for sports editor. In a field with six applicants, I was the third choice, leaving me to remain a sports writer. I still have the rejection email saved in my archives (sorry, Abby). But, with a stroke of luck, one of the chosen applicants ended up choosing another job, allowing the position to fall into my lap.

I never looked back.

Between myself and the other sports editor, John, we elevated the sports section to new heights, covering more teams than we’ve covered in a long time, filling four pages in print regularly (it doesn’t sound hard, but trust me, it is) and improving our drawing web traffic like we’d never seen before.

After all of these successes, I decided to apply for Editor-in-Chief for the 2020-21 school year. Little did I know this would be the most hectic year of all of our lives.

I was chosen as EiC in March 2020, less than a week before the country went on lockdown and we were all sent home. I officially took over as EIC in May, and with the help of a laundry list of people, managed to lead the greatest student newspaper through a pandemic year seemingly unscathed.

While The Herald has caused me countless moments of stress and exacerbated all of my anxieties for post-graduation, I could not be more thankful for my time at this paper. Whether it is getting to go to all of the sporting events, partying in the office, beating the Cardinal in our annual football game or bonding with most of the people who will be with my wedding, every moment was a gift.

While I have dozens of great memories at The Herald in our beautiful, majestic office, perhaps my favorite memory was the softball game just a few weeks ago. Surrounded by all of my closest friends, many of whom I’ve worked closely with for two years, I had more fun losing to the Cardinal than I think I’ll ever have losing again.

The fact that this newspaper made me lose my voice for a game with zero stakes shows just how much this place has meant to me for the last three years. I’ll cherish every single memory I have with The Herald.

While The Herald has created many great memories, it’s also helped me prepare for the real world after I graduate this December.

I’ve learned how to structure and write an article. I’ve learned how to handle errors and misprints with grace. I’ve learned (almost) all of the bizarre rules of AP Style. And most importantly, I’ve learned how to be a better interviewer and better communicator through thousands of interactions with writers, editors, sources, alumni, other members of the media and more.

With everything I’ve learned, I cannot forget to mention some of the people who have meant the most to me in my three years here.

To the sports editors of my freshman year, Danny Farber, Will Stern, Vicki Dombeck and Nour Hatoum, thank you for taking me in and letting me learn so much when I was just a measly little freshman looking for any opportunity to write.

To the upper management team from my sophomore year, Abby Doeden, Emilie Cochran, Molly Liebergall, Gretchen Gerlach and Abby Steinberg, thank you for teaching me so much day in and day out as I finally blossomed into a legitimate student journalist.

To my co-sports editor, John Spengler, thank you for the best year in the sports section ever, as we covered more sports than ever before, went on a road trip to the Ohio State game (thank you, John Daly and alumni) and learned so much together both in and out of work.

To my management team, Molly DeVore and Mary Magnuson, thank you both for being amazing peers over the past year. I feel like I’ve learned more from you than you’ve learned from me, and I’m a better person because of it. I’ll truly appreciate all of the advice you’ve given and the lessons you’ve taught me during this difficult year.

To the rest of my closest friends who don’t fit into a specific category, Nuha Dolby, Shayde Erbrecht, Erin Gretzinger, Katie Hardie and Savannah Kind, thank you all for being amazing peers and friends over the past three years.

To everybody who has organized, written, designed, photographed or recorded for The Herald this year, thank you so much for contributing to this student paper. I would not have been successful without you.

And lastly, thank you to our readers. Without you, our paper literally would not exist.

While this isn’t a goodbye forever, it’s still time to pass on the torch. I look forward to taking over as Sports Overlord again this fall.

Yours forever, Harrison “Freaky Fast” Freuck

#bh4lyfe

That is all. Goodnight.