Today is my last day as editor of Levittown Patch.
I have chosen to move forward with my career, but I will never forget the town where it all began.
As I prepare to leave you in the capable hands of Emily Wood, I think back to the days since Levittown Patch launched on Sept. 30, 2010.
In these 246 days, Levittown Patch has published more than 1,350 articles, almost 400 announcements and more than 1,900 events.
Most importantly to me, in that time Levittown transformed from a spot on the map into a second home.
The people of Levittown welcomed me into their community, many of them not knowing what Patch was or who I was. Now I can walk into any high school, community meeting or event and without a doubt see familiar faces and hear someone yell my name (or at least, "Patch Girl!").
We have been through almost an entire school year together, three sports seasons, blizzards and floods. We have seen crime and loss as well as celebration and triumph. I learned a lot about Levittown, but what stands out most is the ability this community has to come together as one when necessary, whether it's to support a local family who lost a father, help tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri or reach out to tsunami sufferers in Japan.
There's a certain pride that people born and raised in Levittown have, and if you ask me they've earned it. Of all the communities on Long Island, it would be difficult to find more dedicated parents cheering on the sidelines of baseball games, spending late hours at Board of Education meetings and going to work day in and day out to provide their children with a better future.
There were many times when this job was a challenge. From running to house fires in the snow to staying up all night to write a Board of Education story after a long meeting, there were times I wore myself thin. Still there was always someone there to brighten my mood, whether it was PTA Council President Esta Lachow asking "Are you sure you don't live here?" as I trudged into the Levittown Memorial Education Center for the third time that day, Levittown Board of Education President Mike Pappas comparing me to Lois Lane or MacArthur parent Steve Ellers saying "I've got you covered," from behind his camera when I looked stressed at football games.
I will miss my afternoons spent in the gym with Island Trees varsity basketball coach Andy Schneider and the Lady Dawgs, daily emails from Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Charles Murphy, long chats with Levittown Kiwanis Club President Ann Torcivia, history lessons from Polly Dwyer and Paul Manton and friendly greetings from Division Avenue High School Principal Francesco Ianni at sports games, events and meetings. That guy is everywhere, isn't he?
Wherever I couldn't be, my team of talented writers and photographers filled the gaps. Thank you to my hard working freelancers, columnists and bloggers who helped build the site into a valuable source of local news.
To the other local editors- thank you for being there every day for support and a laugh. Many of you have become friends that I will keep long after this job has ended. I know each of you will continue to do the amazing job you have been doing in covering your own communities and I look forward to continuing to follow your work.Thank you to my supervisors for the guidance you have given me, all that you have taught me and for always showing that you believed I could succeed.
Lastly, thank you to my family and friends for sticking by me through the unpredictable work hours, stressful times and never ending talk of Patch.
Good luck to Emily Wood, who I know will keep Levittown Patch on its path to becoming the center of local news coverage for this dynamic community. I wish you all the best and I hope to still see your friendly faces around the town that launched my career and reminded me why I am so lucky to call Long Island home.