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Taking pride in having made a difference
Jessica A. Botelho
Warwick Beacon photos
FOREVER GRATEFUL: Botelho is thankful to readers, as well as Beacon publisher and editor John Howell, for giving her the opportunity to live her dream as a writer.

As a lifelong Warwick resident, I’ve been familiar with the Warwick Beacon since I was a little girl. I was excited to see photos of myself featured in the paper a few times, once with my dad at a father-daughter dance as a kindergartener at St. Rose of Lima School, and again during Christmastime with my brother and cousins when we visited the newsroom for photos with Santa Claus.

When I grew older, I never thought I’d be writing for the paper, let alone dressing as an elf to greet children during the same event I attended as a child.

After three years of working at the paper, it is bittersweet to announce that I have found another job. My byline won’t be seen much longer, a fact I want readers to learn from me.

I started working at the Beacon full-time in November 2010, starting off as an intern during college, and again a year or so after I graduated from Rhode Island College in 2005 before officially becoming a staffer. I’ve valued my time working at the paper, and never knew I had so much to learn about the city I grew up in and continue to live in.

I had driven by the Warwick Museum of Art countless times before visiting the building for interviews. Now, I know what a gorgeous, special location it is for local artists and collectors, as well as the community. I also had never been to the Trudeau Center or West Bay Residential, places that humbled me each time I stopped by. Watching clients overcome adversity is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Revisiting schools I attended, including St. Rose and Toll Gate, was surreal. Walking through the hallways years after I graduated filled me with pride and a sense of accomplishment. Getting the chance to write about them and their students was icing on the cake.

While I also often wrote about topics that highlighted troubling issues residents face, I shined a light on positive aspects of our city. Intense topics deserve attention, but for me, there’s nothing like feel-good news.

Through kind words and thoughtful gifts, I have also come to realize how much readers appreciate my work. I’ve received many “Thank You” cards and notes, as well as flowers, trinkets, presents and heartfelt compliments from you. For that, I am appreciative and grateful.

Seeing my name and words, often alongside photos I took, on the top-of-the-fold gave me an excitement that never diminished. With each article, photograph, and an editorial here and there, readers have allowed me to live my dream of being a writer. You’ve given me the chance to educate, enlighten and entertain you about our community.

I’ve written articles that have promoted fundraisers; dug deep for information related to investigative reporting; covered council meetings and ribbon cuttings; rubbed shoulders with celebrities; and my absolute favorite, chatted with children about issues that matter to them.

Knowing that articles I’ve written have made a difference in peoples’ lives for the better is something that amazes me and makes me feel blessed. I’m thankful to God for giving me the talent and passion for writing, as well as my parents for supporting me through everything.

But I never would have had the opportunity to do any of it without my publisher and editor, John Howell, a hard-working man who never let me get lazy when I may have wanted to pass out on my keyboard after a lengthy meeting or event the night before. You took a chance on me, and for that I will be forever grateful.

As I move on, please know that this paper will always be with me. Thank you all for letting me share with you my work, as well as a piece of my heart.


Comments
5 comments on this item

I just want to wish you luck on your new adventure i enjoyed your many articles in the paper.

Thank you so much! That means a lot to me.

Thank you Jessica. I think you did a great job. Good luck. Patrick Maloney

Congratulations and best of luck in your new job Jessica.

The kind words are much appreciated. =)

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