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Getting to know Adrienne

By By Janet Little Cooper
Just three short weeks ago I thought that I would forever be unemployed, and believed that the degree I worked so hard for at the University of Alabama had gone to waste.
Just when I had given up on my career search, the phone call I had been waiting on since graduating in August finally came. Adam Prestridge, publisher at The Atmore Advance, called and asked me to come in for an interview. I met with Adam, waited in anticipation for a little less than a week and then got the call that has thus far changed my life.
First, I would like to tell you, the readers, a little bit about myself. I am Adrienne Leigh McKenzie, from Brewton. I am the daughter of Earl and Susan McKenzie and have one sister, Alyssa, who is married to Daniel Wilson. I recently learned from them how much fun being an aunt can be – they just had their first baby, Maggie, this past October.
I graduated from T.R. Miller High School in 2002 and then went to Jefferson Davis Community College, the Brewton campus, from 2002 until 2004. I graduated with my associate's degree in science from JDCC and then went on to the University of Alabama. I graduated Aug. 12, 2006, with my bachelor's degree in public relations, and my minor in psychology.
After graduating, I moved back home with my parents and worked at the Medical Center Pharmacy. This was just a temporary, part-time fix until I got what I liked to call a "real" job. Needless to say, I was more than thrilled when I received the phone call from Adam.
Since I grew up in Brewton, I knew right where Atmore was, although I did not know much about the community. I always thought of Atmore as a little place that my friends and I drove through to get from Brewton to the beach. The only thing that I really knew about Atmore was that my mother is the principal at Rachel Patterson Elementary School.
On the day of my interview, Adam decided to give me a tour of the town, just so I knew what I would be getting myself into if he offered and I accepted the job. I assumed that the trip would take less than an hour and wondered what all Adam could possibly show me in this small town. Well, the tour ended four hours later and I learned that Atmore has plenty to see and is actually quite the beautiful community.
During the tour, I saw businesses that I never knew were present in Atmore. We drove past Atmore's Jefferson Davis Community College campus, Holman Prison, the Poarch Creek Bingo Palace and through the Poarch Reservation.
I was amazed at the fact that in the many years I have lived in Brewton, I never knew that the Bingo Palace existed. The reporter in me can not wait until the day I get to cover a story at this establishment, just so I can see the more-than 1,000 electronic bingo machines. I may even take a quarter or two to test one out. I found the Poarch Reservation to be beautiful and the fact that they are a sovereign nation, operating with their own government and laws, is a very intriguing concept for me to grasp.
Adam and I had lunch at Annie's Community Cup, which I fell in love with. It had all of the characteristics of a small town – everybody knows everybody and that sweet Southern charm. It also had the looks of an artsy coffee shop you could find in New York, where poetry sessions could be held. Besides the atmosphere, the food was also amazing. It was the greatest grilled cheese sandwich I had ever eaten!
After lunch the tour was almost over. I saw the schools and a few more businesses, all of which the newspaper covers weekly.
When the tour was concluded, I knew in my heart that Atmore was a place that I could live. I prayed daily that Adam would call me and offer me the position at the newspaper. When I got the call on a Friday, I was completely thrilled when Adam said "I would like to offer you the job at the Atmore Advance." I, of course, accepted the position and began working the following Monday.
I am looking forward to meeting every member of this community, covering meetings and attending events, and the excitement and action of working at this newspaper!
Adrienne McKenzie is a reporter for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123.