Products of a good Putnam County education

March 30, 2014 by Brad McElhinny

Two of our newest copy editors are proud graduates of the Putnam County schools system.

One is a Winfield High graduate. The other is a Hurricane graduate.

Yet they’re close friends.

They’re also excellent new contributors to our newspaper.

Kelsey Thomas is a Scott Depot native, a Winfield High graduate and a Marshall University graduate.

Andrea Rectenwald is a longtime Hurricane resident, a Hurricane High  graduate and also a Marshall University graduate.

I want to tell you about them because they’ve got local roots and also because, as copy editors, they toil behind the scenes. You might not see their names or faces in the newspaper too often, even as they make us look good with their page designs, clever and accurate headlines and clutch catches of mistakes.

Me: Did you have early journalistic experiences?

Thomas: I did, I did. My mom always said I should be a journalist when I grew up, but I never believed her. When I applied for college, I was forced to choose a major. I scrolled to one of the first on the list… “advertising,” and thought, “That will do for now.” That’s what got me into the school of journalism. I switched over from there. My first news writing class gave me terrible anxiety, but when it was over, I (for some reason) went back for more as an editor. I also wrote for a small online magazine for a while in college. I got to interview a lot of interesting people — including my favorite author Augusten Burroughs and Clint Eastwood’s daughter! That’s when I really knew I was going to grow up to be a journalist.

Rectenwald: My first journalistic experience wasn’t until my sophomore year at Marshall University. Advertising is/was in the School of Journalism, so I took a few required classes including Graphics of Communication where I learned InDesign. After that class my professor recommended me for the Executive Editor position at The Parthenon for the Summer 2010 session. Since the staff was small that summer, I was able to be a reporter, photographer, editor and designer.

Me: You guys are buds from Marshall, right? Please explain that.

Thomas: Andrea and I have quite a complex relationship. We had classes together at Marshall and also worked at the same movie theater at some point, but I was afraid to talk to her because she was so cool. Thus, it wasn’t until we were randomly placed together as roommates at Snowshoe post-college that the budship began. The rest is history.

Rectenwald: Kelsey and I have crossed paths so many times over the past six years, but we didn’t become best buds until we lived and worked at Snowshoe together. We have a mutual love of napping and butterfly gummies. She’s the bee’s knees.

Me: If you are a Winfield General, what is your position on the Hurricane Redskins?

Thomas: Winfield’s clearly the better choice. After all, we are the “Town of Champions” — that sign was erected during my tenure as a General. (However, I am sure I didn’t contribute to that — though I did go to states for tennis my senior year. One of my first opponents hit the ball so hard I covered my face with the racquet instead of hitting back.)

Me: If you are a Hurricane Redskin, what is your position on the Winfield Generals?

Rectenwald: Hurricane is clearly the better choice – from academics to athletics. The rivalry is fun though and I enjoyed attending the Hurricane/Winfield football game every year. Go Redskins!!!





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