The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Guest Motivational Speaker Visits New Journalism Class

TJ Edmund motivates new writers through his message of perseverance
Mrs. Barrett
TJ Edmund, former Gator going into his last year of college at Rowan University, speaks to the new Intro. to Journalism class at Gateway about the ups and downs in his academic career as a journalist and what he has learned that students can benefit from.

Earlier in January, TJ Edmund, Gateway alum and current journalism student from Rowan University, came to speak to Mrs. Barrett’s journalism class! He enlightened journalism students with tips, past experiences, and guidance.

TJ was a part of Mrs. Eckstein and Mr. Joyce’s Gateway to Careers program during his senior year. He was originally placed with the Ronald McDonald house for his internship where he would interview patients and parents, but due to the Pandemic he was unfortunately let go. However, that didn’t stop TJ from getting the experience in the journalism field that he yearned for.

At the end of his junior year at Gateway, TJ had some uncertainties, “I wasn’t sure if Gateway to Careers was the program for me, and neither was my family. But, after speaking with Mr. Joyce, who knew me well, he assured me that it would be the best thing for me. He told me to push through my fears and trust the process. I am so glad that I listened.”

As the first student to intern with Dean Johnson of Follow South Jersey magazine, this was a position he could do virtually but still get the feedback and guidance he needed to get better and reach his goals. During his time with Dean, he learned to write like an authentic journalist. He was able to explore topics he felt deeply about, learn from criticism, and understand just how intensive being a journalist really is. 

To TJ, the Pandemic was a, “blessing in disguise.”

It was a very scary time full of heartache and uncertainty, but it gave him the chance to embark on a new journey where he would learn so much. Not to mention, ever since TJ interned with Dean Johnson, there has been a new Gateway to Careers student who has had the opportunity to do just the same! Way to open a door! Now, in our founding year of Intro to Journalism here at Gateway, our student writers have the opportunity to get published.

TJ shared the importance of starting a portfolio as soon as possible. He shared that when interviewing for internships, and even jobs, having a collection of versatile work is of the utmost importance. It is something that is telling of who you are as a person and a writer and gives insight to the employer on how much experience you have and where your strengths may lie. 

The importance of peer editing and taking criticism well was next on his list of ways to keep us motivated. He shared, “I never realized just how helpful peer editing could be. Not just for me, but for everyone involved.” 

Today, many are defensive when they receive constructive feedback and take it as a blow to their ego. TJ made it clear that this shouldn’t be the case. Those who give feedback on an article or piece of writing, whether it be your employer or a peer, are only trying to help you to become the best writer you can be. It’s for the good of the paper and the growth of the writer. The best way to handle feedback is to have an open mind and trust that it will only help to expand your horizons as a writer. 

As for TJ’s future plans, he is going to finish his final year at Rowan and potentially seek a graduate school education as well. He also has big aspirations to one day write an inspiring memoir about his life. 

He shared:

I have had a very interesting life, and I would be thrilled to share my experiences and lessons learned with the world. It is a big dream, but I think with perseverance and support from family and friends I can do it.

— TJ Edmund

Mrs. Barrett’s Intro. to Journalism class is so grateful that they got to hear TJ speak. You could tell just how excited he was to share his wisdom with a room full of aspiring authors and journalists. Thank you, TJ, for coming back to Gateway to share your wisdom! We wish you luck with your future ventures!

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About the Contributor
Laurel Rose Barrett
Laurel Rose Barrett, Editor-in-Chief
I'm Laurel Barrett, and I am in my second year as the Editor-in-Chief of The Chomp! I am currently a junior, and my favorite subjects are English and Science. My hobbies are reading, writing, and creating artistic projects, like posters and models. I am a lawyer in Mock Trial, a President of Book Club, and I am an NJ-JCL Executive Board Officer. I'm also a member of Latin Club, NHS, World Language Honors Society, and Gateway's Mentor Program. Additionally, I am the social media manager of a NJ non-profit called P.U.R.E. Girls, Inc. and enjoy volunteering at Angels Community Outreach. I plan to become a patent lawyer in the future and practice somewhere in New England. I look forward to interviewing featured teachers, writing opinion pieces, and creating book reviews for The Chomp this year! If you want to join our team, feel free to email me @[email protected].
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    Paige BrittFeb 17, 2024 at 11:06 am

    incredible work guys!!! you should all be very proud! this is making my little journalist former gator heart so happy. stick with it, keep putting the work in, and keep doing great things! im in my third year of rowan studying journalism and writing for their paper, the whit, and i can truly say it only gets better and more fulfilling. if theres anyway i can be of any help to you guys, please let me know

    • L

      Laurel BarrettMar 16, 2024 at 11:30 am

      Thank you so much for your support, Paige. Mrs. Barrett credits your work ethic among others for getting The Chomp off the ground in its infancy, so your support means the world to our new team on our new platform. I would love to connect. Maybe you can speak to our class about your journalism journey since Gateway.

      -Laurel Barrett, Editor-in-Chief