Lafakis: Thank you

Lafakis on senior night against Xavier on March 5. Photo by David Wegiel. 


In the interest of transparency, I believe it is appropriate to start this thank you column by telling you I’m writing this in the Butler University Fairbanks Center for Communications. I have spent countless hours in this building over the past four years. I’ve written dozens of stories and uploaded tens of thousands of photos in here. So thank you, Fairbanks, for always being my rock. When college brought inevitable trials and tribulations, I knew I could always count on the building the Jimmy John’s delivery drivers could never find. Additionally, thank you for being the home for all of my jam sessions – some of my favorite college memories involve dancing to Drake, Future, and so many more… and recording myself for my Instagram story. Nothing says “fun Friday night” like reservations for a dance party for one in a Mac lab.

Now that I’ve thanked an inanimate object, I want to move forward by thanking real people. First off, I want to thank the Collegian, Dr. Tatsiana Karaliova and everyone else involved at the newspaper for allowing me an opportunity to showcase my work. This newspaper gave me an outlet, and I am forever grateful for that. When I was a second-semester senior at Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana, I knew I would be a sports reporter and photographer for the Collegian. The rush of excitement washed over me back in the winter of 2015. That feeling has not left since. Not once.

Every time I go out to interview sources for a story or photograph an event around campus, not once have I ever felt like it was work. I can truly say, with 100 percent sincerity, that I love what I do. I love this campus, I love the people who inhabit it and I feel like I owe this school my best. I owe my best to all the faithful readers who take the time each week to check out my work and also the paper as a whole. As a student journalist, one thing I have learned is that you never know who is watching you. I feel like it is our job to present the news in an honest and truthful manner. Working with other students to hone my craft was definitely a highlight of my four years. Those late nights in Fairbanks definitely paid off.  

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all the Butler fans and families who took time to show love and offer kind words about my work. I never imagined any of this happening. I feel so lucky and grateful. I’ve met some truly amazing people in my travels. I have traveled across ten states — ! — around the country and also the Bahamas to cover Butler athletics. If I listed all the amazing things I’ve witnessed, this column might rival “War and Peace” in length. So I’ll just say this: some incredible things have happened, and I’ve crossed off some major bucket-list items. I never thought I would take photos of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and LeBron James… but if you want to know more, Tweet at me (@JJLII30). I’ve been known to use Twitter a few times.

This place, this university, these people, have given me so much. Every day, I made it a goal to give back in some way. I wanted to leave this place better than I found it. You need to spend an extended amount of time at Butler to truly understand and embrace it. The folks here… special is an understatement. So thank you, everyone, for welcoming me with open arms and laying the foundation for an unreal experience.

Butler means everything to me.

I’ve buried the lede – but the above sentence is the understatement of the century.

-Jimmy Lafakis

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JJLII30


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