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CASSANDRA JENKINS — Thrown to the gators and still doing fine

My first week at The Port Arthur News was interesting, to say the least. Where else in one community can you go from cruising down a swamp infested with alligators to interviewing a new parochial vicar, get free wings and see a musical all by the end of the week?

I started at The News mid-July after graduating from Lamar University in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and Communications, taking a little time in between to travel Europe. I came in fresh faced, excited and ready to start my career in journalism — and they threw me to the gators, literally.

While my first story was a county commissioners meeting the next few that followed definitely made me feel at home in a community I had unfortunately spent very little time in previously.

I started at Lamar University in 2015 and have lived in Beaumont since then. I graduated from a tiny school called Tarkington High School in the little southern town of Cleveland, Texas. I had dreams of being a writer and editor for the University Press at Lamar, and I did just that. I spent four years learning the art of communication, writing, editing and photography.

During that time, I was part of the intramural basketball team, learned to rock climb, watched a lot of sports, studied abroad and lived the college life. I’m an outdoor junky who loves to camp, fish and hike but can also frequently be found holed up in a library reading fantasy books or watching re-runs of “Friends” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

I spent the first two years at Lamar living in the dorms before branching out to get my own apartment, as a result I spent almost all of my time in Beaumont going from school to work and covering local sports as a freelance writer. When I accepted the job at The News, even though it’s only a 30-minute commute, I knew I would have to learn about an entirely new community, meet new people, learn a new system and hope to fit in. Turns out, there was nothing to worry about.

The Port Arthur and Mid-County area welcomed me with open arms. Since starting as a general news and features reporter to adding an education beat, I have covered an event in each of the four cities we cover.

I’ve met fashion designers, cops, principals, artists, authors, business owners and more, and every individual has made me feel like family. I’m proud to be starting my professional career as a journalist at The Port Arthur News and look forward to meeting many more new people, covering local stories and launching this new chapter in my life.

Cassandra Jenkins is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at cassie.jenkins@panews.com