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We all have a bucket list, a list of things we hope to accomplish or experience before we leave this world, something we are all destined to do.

At 47, I am fortunate enough to have already accomplished the vast majority of the items on my list at a relatively young age.

The two top items on my list were graduating from college and putting my degree to use. I graduated from USC in 1993 with a degree in journalism. And now that I am nearing a quarter century in the newspaper business I am quite confident it is mission accomplished as it relates to the second one as well.

But there are still things and events which serve as constant motivation for me. Chief among them is a phone call I received from a friend early in my association with the St. Helena Star, which is currently in its 17th year.

During our conversation, my friend asked me when I was going to work for a “real” newspaper like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, or Washington Post?

Don’t get me wrong. He meant the question as a compliment. After all, if given the chance, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to work for three of the iconic newspapers in our business?

Still, the comments rubbed me the wrong way, -- and in all honesty — still do. It has been over 15 years now and I still remember those comments as if it were yesterday. Those comments have remained a driving force for me ever since. I am proud of the work I have done for the Star the past 17 years. And I am content with the career I have carved out for myself over the past quarter of a century.

As of this moment, there is one item left on my professional bucket list —the writing of a book. But if everything goes as planned that item will be crossed off the list in the next few weeks when Old School: Building a Life Through Sport goes to press.

The purpose of the book, which is a collection of my work over the past 25 years, is to honor my parents while also showing an appreciation for the players, coaches and people I have covered and come in contact with during my career. In addition, I hope this book will give people a glimpse into who I am, and by extension who we all are at heart.

G.S. Whitt

St. Helena