A few stories I’ve done lately:

photo1Ebony Jones overcame financial challenges and learning disabilities to be one of the more than 3,000 students who will graduate today from Iowa State University. Jones has landed a job in St. Louis as a program director for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Photo by Jessie L. Bonner/Ames Tribune

When Ebony Jones first came to Iowa State University, she felt like an alien.

She came to ISU from a historically black university in the South and didn’t know what to expect at a predominately white campus in central Iowa. She found she looked different. She talked different.

During a visit to the financial aid office, Jones was referred to as a “minority student,” she said. After being part of the majority on the Alabama campus, the term rubbed her the wrong way.

“That’s what when I realized, maybe things are going to be a little bit different here,” Jones said.

Read the rest of the story here

photo5Gilbert Community School District Superintendent Lindsey Beecher stands in front of the new high school’s most recognizable feature on Friday: Giant block letters spelling out the word “Gilbert” laid into the building’s concrete wall. Photo by Jessie Bonner/Ames Tribune

When the final class buzzer goes off at Gilbert High School next month, students eager to get started on their summer break no doubt will want to flee the building.

But first, they’ll be asked to help pack up.

The brick building on Mathews Drive will be emptied, not only of every student and teacher, but also of every chair, desk and instructional item as the high school prepares to move into a new home across the street.

Teachers will be instructed to load their possessions onto pallets that will be delivered to their classrooms on the last day of class, while each student will be asked to carry his or her desk and chair outside to a waiting semi-trailer.

“No one has to do this, but most of them will want to because they’re anxious to see the new digs,” said Johna Clancy, the Gilbert Community School District’s business manager.

Read the rest of the story here

It was a little challenging taking photo for this story. While juggling a notebook, backpack and camera, I realized I was still getting back into the swing of things…photo4This story was really fun, I love interviewing college kids sometimes, their energy and excitement about the future is contagious.adidas

If you happen to catch Derek Huenecke’s gaze, don’t be concerned: He’s just interested in your shoes.

The 22-year-old is an aspiring footwear designer and an avid shoe collector. In a few days, he’ll also be part of the first class to graduate from Iowa State University’s new industrial design program. A few days after that, he’ll head to Germany for a six-month internship with footwear maker adidas.

A video recently produced by the university’s marketing team featured Huenecke, who talked about his passion and his — at times — wandering eye when it comes to sneakers.

It happens a lot at the gym, he said.

“It’s weird because I’m afraid people are thinking I’m checking them out,” Huenecke said. “I’m just looking at your shoes.”

Read the rest of the story here


This last one is the most-read story I’ve done since I’ve started writing here. Ames is a university town, which is probably why it caught people’s attention.

You can read the story here


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