By Vivian Collings
My Great-Grandmother once said to me, “truth is stranger than fiction,” and this year, I’m really believing it.
I’m Vivian Collings, and I joined the Haliburton Echo and Minden Times team in my hometown as a full-time reporter in April.
I’ve been here for almost five months now, but I still find myself pausing from my work in disbelief of where I am and what I get to do.
I always looked forward to Tuesdays and Wednesdays as a kid after getting home from Archie Stouffer Elementary School, and later Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, because either the Echo or Times would be in my mailbox.
Most kids do that, right?
I was so excited to see what was going on around the county, to look at the photos, and to read Steve Galea’s humour columns.
Community events were, and, likely, always will be, my favourite part about Haliburton County. I dreamed that I would one day get to take photos at events, speak with and meet lots of wonderful people, and write about the experience.
Truth is certainly stranger than fiction.
After graduating from HHSS in 2017, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career. I applied to both college and university journalism programs as well as programs in art and design.
After doing too much Googling, I felt discouraged about pursuing journalism. I was convinced that I wouldn’t get a job in a small town working for a newspaper, and I certainly didn’t think it would be feasible in my beloved hometown.
Definitely not wanting to live and work in a city, I let the dream go.
I decided on a year-long accelerated program called integrated design at Fleming College’s Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD) campus which allowed me to stay home for an extra year.
From there, I pursued interior design, lived in Peterborough, then Waterloo, and then moved back home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and classes changed to online learning in March of 2020.
With COVID-19 health measures still in full-force, I decided to stay home in 2021 and receive my integrated design diploma by completing the digital image design certificate program at HSAD.
HSAD is a magical place, and, if you ever get the chance to visit the campus, please do.
After that, I realized more than ever that Haliburton was where I wanted to be.
Using the pandemic as an excuse to stay once again, I was able to find work that used my design skills, and I got involved in lots of community initiatives and events.
Eventually, I found myself taking photos at events here and there for the Echo.
That quickly led to being asked to write a couple of stories, and eventually, to my surprise, a full-time job offer.
Now, I think I have a really good excuse to stay.
I get a little teary thinking about the little girl sitting at home reading the local paper years ago, because that same girl gets to sit in the Echo office and write for you now.
That must be the definition of “full-circle?”
I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of such a talented and dedicated team.
I am so excited to be able to shed light on all parts of Haliburton County with photos and words and to continue to meet and speak with incredible people every day.
If you’d like to contact me, please, don’t hesitate to reach out by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 705-457-1037 ext. 39.