By STACEY SOLT

tneditor@tnonline.com [1]

It's fun, discovering where life's twists and turns will take you next.

As a correspondent for the TIMES NEWS, I've had the chance to interview countless people in Carbon, Schuylkill, and Lehigh counties. While these people may not realize it, they have each touched my life in some small way.

Of course, there are the few who have impacted my life in a big way. I've been deeply touched by hard-working individuals in our area, people overcoming struggles to be their best, and men and women who are passionate about what they do.

One such person was Lori Williams, my friend and the director of financial aid at Cedar Crest College. As a student at Cedar Crest, Lori guided me through college - and became one of my first interviewees for our college newspaper. She made me feel comfortable as I honed my interview skills, and I discovered a passion for writing and sharing information that I continue to enjoy each day.

Later, as I became a writer for the TIMES NEWS and other local publications, Lori became a great resource. She was always willing to talk about the latest college trends or offer advice for a story. While I tried to be impartial and worked with financial aid advisors from throughout the greater Lehigh Valley, there are only a few colleges in the area - so I worked with Lori at least once each year. She was featured in multiple high school "grad tab" publications printed by the TIMES NEWS.

This past year, I had the chance to work even more often with Lori when I became a part-time writer at Cedar Crest. We spent many meetings together discussing financial aid packages, outlining scholarship opportunities for students, and brainstorming ideas for our new website. It was great to be working closely with Lori again, and I was able to see a side of her that I wasn't privy to as a student or reporter: A kind and caring person who cares for her family, her friends, and - perhaps most importantly - her students.

While it was wonderful to work with Lori again and to see her so often on campus, it wasn't meant to last forever. This week will be Lori's last on campus. She is leaving her position to spend more time with family and to pursue a newfound passion. While I am sincerely happy for her, campus just won't be the same without her.

To Lori: Though this is likely the last time that your name and my byline will grace this newspaper, I wish you the best in all that you do. I believe that I speak for us all when I say, thank you for being a great source, co-worker - and friend.