By Dick Yarbrough (ABJ ‘59)
At my ripe old age, I cannot estimate the number of speeches I have made over my career. It would run somewhere in the high hundreds or maybe a thousand. I have made a lot of speeches to a lot of audiences on a lot of subjects. But I will never forget my first one. It was to the Georgia Scholastic Press Association.
I had attended a GSPA meeting as the editor of my high school newspaper, the Russell Wildcat, at the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism which was at the time co-located with the business school and known as the C-J Building. It was then and there that my appetite was whetted by the thoughts of becoming a journalist.
Four years later, I graduated from the University of Georgia with my ABJ degree and joined WSB Radio in Atlanta. Only one year out of college, I received a call from Dean John E. Drewry asking me to be one of the speakers at the upcoming meeting of the GSPA, along with Don Schanche, a correspondent with the Los Angeles Times and an earlier graduate of the Grady College. I was equal parts stunned and honored and determined to validate the dean’s selection.
I have never worked longer or harder on a speech than that one. Today, I cannot recall what I said or how well it was received. I only know that the GSPA was as important to the Grady School of Journalism then as it is to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications today and I was determined not to let Dean Drewry down.
I have been blessed with a wonderful career beyond anything I would have imagined when I was a student at Grady. I like to think it all started with a speech to the Georgia Scholastic Press Association, thanks to a dean saw something in me that I had not seen in myself.
A Grady College graduate of the Class of 1959, Dick Yarbrough is an award-winning syndicated columnist. Read his work at www.dickyarbrough.com.
Share your GSPA reflection in celebration of the organization’s 90th anniversary! Email GSPA director Stephanie Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.