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Lessons learned in Atmore

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Yesterday officially marked one year that I have been working here at the Advance and of course the year has had it’s ups and downs, but overall I have enjoyed my stay in this small town.
Now that I have been here a year I know certain events that Atmore area residents and organizations conduct, so I somewhat know what to expect throughout the upcoming year.
One of the first major events I attended when I began working at the Advance last year was the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet. I remember getting ready for the banquet and was very nervous about the entire night.
I was in charge of taking notes and writing an article about the speaker James (Jim) Hayes, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama president, and what he spoke about.
I remember taking vigorous notes as Hayes spoke about different things including both statewide and local economic development. I also remember wondering how I was ever going to be able to copy down each and every word Hayes said in order to create a good article for the paper.
Well, I do not know how good the article was, hopefully Hayes would be proud of the work I did, but I did learn one valuable lesson that night. I learned that I do not have to write down every teeny little word someone says in order to have a good article and I also learned how to shorthand. And although I am probably the only one who can read my incredibly sloppy handwriting, it works for me and I feel, or at least I hope, my writing and interview-conducting has improved throughout the past year.
I was also told to write an article about the Citizens of the Year, Earl Bryant and his wife Marilyn. I felt a little bit more at ease with the Citizens of the Year article because I had heard such great things about the Bryants so I was not really all that nervous to talk with them. And, I learned that all the nice things I had heard about them were true when I did talk to them because they were both very sweet individuals.
Also the Chamber banquet is where I learned about the infamous Betty Warren. I honestly thought people were crazy when they said she would tell me that she loved me because I thought ‘she doesn’t even know me, she can’t love me.’ But, I learned that those people were not crazy and that Betty Warren simply has a deep love for everybody she comes into contact with.
I have attended many more events throughout the year in Atmore and at some I had a great time, at some I was nervous and at some I even danced!
The people in Atmore have probably taught me more than I would have ever learned in college because when you are in college they don’t exactly paint a realistic picture of what it’s like in the ‘real world.’
So, I appreciate all the Atmore area residents who have taken me under their wings and showed me the ways of the world.
I look forward to another year with the great people of Atmore.
Adrienne McKenzie is a staff reporter for The Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at lifestyles@atmoreadvance.com.