All in the Family
Journalism graduate plays key role on The Sentinel
KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 21, 2017) — Working on The Sentinel newspaper and graduating from Kennesaw State are a family tradition, which Rebekah Fuchko found to be a natural fit for her.
The legacy began with her father, John Fuchko Jr., who graduated from KSU’s first MBA class in 1986. However, it was her brother John Fuchko III (KSU ’00) and his wife Sherie Lipham Fuchko (KSU ’98), MPA (KSU ’02), who sealed the deal for Rebekah to attend KSU. Rebekah’s twin sister Abigail (KSU ’11) and an older sister Elisabeth (KSU ’14) also are Owls.
Coming from a large family of eight, John and Rebekah range from the eldest to almost the youngest in the family. John, who serves as the University System of Georgia’s vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness, is 12 years older than Rebekah.
And that age difference, it turned out, led to a happy circumstance that would influence not only Rebekah’s desire to attend Kennesaw State – but also her future career choice.
Rebekah, who was homeschooled beginning in the fifth grade, shared a unique bond with her sister-in-law Sherie, who along with teaching Rebekah composition and English, served as an important role model.
“I think being homeschooled has given me an edge when it comes to taking personal responsibility for myself and getting things done because I’m used to pushing myself, not having others do it for me,” Rebekah said.
“Sherie did an amazing job,” Rebekah said. “I still miss her as a teacher.”
John and Sherie also taught Rebekah about the importance of getting involved in college, which can be difficult for commuter students. John had been president of the student body and each had served terms as editor-in-chief of The Sentinel.
As a journalism and emerging media major with a minor in professional writing, Rebekah was proud to follow in their footsteps and join the student newspaper.
“I gained a respect for journalism stemming from my love of writing and the power of written word and gained the passion as I went through the major.”
Having two strong role models who had served as editors of The Sentinel, cemented Rebekah’s desire to write for the student paper. She began contributing arts and living stories. Within a couple of years she had progressed to editing and later was tapped as opinion editor.
“I suppose it’s a cool tidbit that I’m the third opinion editor in my family for The Sentinel newspaper,” she said. “My older brother, John, and sister-in-law, Sherie, are KSU alums and were both opinion editors at the paper, as well as editor-in-chiefs.”
One of her articles that many readers enjoyed dealt with the supposed academic “rule” about how long students must wait for a professor to arrive for class. It turned out, there is no University rule. Each professor is free to set his or her own preference.
“That one was a lot of fun to write. I enjoyed debunking the myth,” she said. “Where did this come from? For a college publication, I thought it would make a great story. It only took me one phone call and I had my answer after speaking to a person in the provost’s office.”
Like many college students, Rebekah worked her way through school. As she progressed toward her senior year, she found herself more and more capable of juggling the demands of work and studies.
“One of the biggest challenges I've faced in obtaining my degree is working an average of 30 hours a week,” she said. “Being 100 percent financially independent has definitely been a challenge, but at the same time, it makes me feel that if I can handle that, then I can handle anything.”
Working for the past two and a half years as a server at Foundation Social Eatery, a Roswell restaurant, has allowed her to do just that. Following graduation, she plans to continue working at the restaurant while freelancing for local papers and magazines.
“I’d love to get into copy editing,” said the Marietta resident, “but writing novels would be the ultimate dream.”
In her final piece for the college paper, she wrote:
“College prepares you for a lot, but this last semester as opinion editor has taught me more about being a journalist than my classes ever could. I’ve made some mistakes ― and I’m sure they won’t be my last ― but that’s what learning and growing are all about.
“Being a part of the newsroom ― I’ll miss it. I’ll miss the editing process. I’ll miss communicating with my writers to help them put forth their best work. But most of all, I’ll miss the friendships I’ve built with my co-workers ― my fellow editors ― and what we accomplished every week as a team.”
– Robert S. Godlewski
Photos by Lauren Kress