￼￼WCC’s Journalism Treasure Libby Young Is Retiring
The pending retirement of Windward Community College journalism professor Libby Young has unlocked a floodgate of words from her current and former students, all of them inspired by her “affable and exacting” style of teaching.
Young ends her 35-year teaching career this semester, bowing out with many local and national awards for her students and herself. As adviser to WCC’s student newspaper Ka ‘Ohana, she has guided hundreds of young writers into print and broadcast careers, sometimes when they least expected it.
“She’s one of the principal reasons why I eventually chose the path of print journalism long ago,” recalled Bill Mossman, now special sections editor for Honolulu Star-Advertiser/ MidWeek.
“Libby was able to show me the merits of the print world by inviting me to join the Ka ‘Ohana staff … I immediately fell in love with newspapers!”
The state House of Representatives recently recognized her contributions to the school and the community with Resolution 178, noting her many achievements at WCC, “maintaining the high standards of teaching excellence and establishing a learning environment that creates an exuberance for learning.”
The Star Poets Society, Hawaii Literary Arts Council, Kaneohe Business Group and many others echo these sentiments.
“In the early 1990s, I decided to go back to school and enrolled at WCC,” said Terri Hefner, noting that her two-decade career with MidWeek (now as senior editor) began when Young urged her to apply for an editorial assistant opening. “My English professor recommended I take Libby’s journalism class. I did, and I learned so much working on Ka ‘Ohana.”
Young’s students, old and new, will celebrate her retirement Friday with a party for her at the college — a campus that she helped to restore through a successful community campaign and sustain for years as a coordina- tor of the annual Windward Ho‘olaulea.
“I was taken by her passion for the field, and her ability to instill that passion in her students,” added Janine Tully, an aide to state Rep. Ken Ito and former reporter for the Sun Press and other publications. “Her support, encouragement and can-do attitude empower students to take on chal- lenges.”
At WCC’s “Out Loud in The Library” program March 18, Young got a standing ovation after reading five poems and reminiscing about her life. “It’s events like this,” she told them, “that remind us about how wonderful Windward is — the students, the teachers and the staff. I’m just so grateful that I got to spend 35 years here.”
Aloha, Libby Young. This reporter’s only regret: Why didn’t I get to be her student too?