Andy Vinson was the high school freshman I shadowed in August 2006 as part of my back-to-school feature for the Knoxville News Sentinel.
How neat that I was able to reconnect with him six years later. He's all grown up now.
At the time of the story, I was new to the education beat. Photographer Michael Patrick and I arrived at Andy's home before sunrise so we could get a glimpse into the first day of high school for a freshman. From breakfast at home through classes at South-Doyle High School and then lunch time, we captured Andy's every move. I bet it must have been a bit weird to have us tagging along but he was a good sport.
The subsequent story and pictures turned out well and we received great feedback on the article and pictures. The second picture in this post is from the story package. According to the caption, Andy, then 14, called shotgun and went to the front of the family van for the ride to his first day of high school. His mom Carol drove him and his sister to their respective schools. (Hat tip to my friend Jigsha for helping me track down this photo.)
I hadn't seen Andy since then -- until last month on campus. I was so thrilled that I gave him a big hug. Talk about my worlds colliding! When I got back to the office, I told four different coworkers about my encounter.
Andy just wrapped up his sophomore year at UT. He's studying journalism and is particularly interested in the entertainment industry. He also works at the campus radio station. I gave him my contact info and I look forward to staying in touch. I'm excited to see where life's adventures take Andy.