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  • Corey Williams

auld lang syne / xx.

I started this decade as a sophomore in high-school who was obsessed with art & had terrible taste in music; I’m ending this decade as a high-school English teacher with seventy-five kids, teaching them about proper comma use & advocating for 21st – century learning. If you would have asked me my senior year in high-school where I’d be, I’d probably say somewhere writing in New York or living out of an RV while making art. In one decade, I have graduated from college, completed an internship, moved to Danville, worked at three banks, moved to Richmond, ran a 5K & 10K, moved back to Danville, joined a Rotary club, started a business, quit a job I hated, became a full-time freelancer, graduated from two amazing fellowship programs, took a road trip of New England, started teaching, began the coursework for a Ph.D program & so much more.

This journey would not have been possible without some amazing people in my corner. People who have supported me & encouraged me. In the past ten years I have interacted with thousands of people & every single one of them have left an impact on me somehow but I want to give a shoutout to those who have really left a mark this decade. Thank you all; you have pushed me in some way that led me to where I am today.

  • Daniel & Ashley - thank you for pushing me & giving me the courage to make the jump as a photographer, a writer & a creative.

  • Joyell - thank you for cultivating my appreciation for Black culture, Black literature, spiritual healing & negritude.

  • Brandon, Jeff & Lauren - thank you for showing me the ropes of entrepreneurship & how to be a community leader.

  • Porchia & Ryan - thank you all the ways you two are changing the region with your creativity; you inspire me everyday.

  • Barack Obama - I want to be half the writer, speaker & public figure you are.

  • Kendall Ratliff & the MBF Staff - thank you for believing in me & playing such a significant role in the transformation of our beautiful little Rivertown. Kendall, thank you for guiding me through every phase of our friendship.

  • Caleb, Andrew, Corinne & Charlotte - thank you for supporting ALL of my craziest ideas; I wouldn't be here without you guys. 2020 is gonna be our year.

  • Baggz - thank you for being my first teacher friend and for showing me all the awes & wonders of education. You have inspired me so much just in the three months we've worked beside each other. PIRATE GANG.

  • Mrs. Midkiff - thank you for teaching me to fall in love with writing & art; I am the writer, artist & teacher I am today because of you.

  • Anh & Becky - thank you for encouraging me to be the first one on the dance floor & for showing me how design can change the world. (And how to embrace my extreme extroversion.)

  • Bruce Wilson - thank you for teaching me to see awe in the world; to seek it all even if it means traveling alone.

I’ve also traveled to some pretty amazing places this year, full of great food, places to explore and great people, too.

  • Richmond, VA

  • Durham, NC

  • Asheville, NC

  • Winston-Salem, NC

  • Boston, MA

  • Philadelphia, PA

  • Saxapahaw, NC

  • Roanoke, VA

  • Greenville, SC

  • Chapel Hill, NC

And some great new bands, books & podcasts.

Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to some influencers that really inspired me.

This decade has certainly been a rollercoaster of events: adventure, heartbreak, loss, triumph, surprise & joy. To the feats I have tackled, the people I met, the stories I have heard & the memories I made:


Onward, 2020.


More adventures. More roadtrips. More food. More music. More friends + family. More books. More laughs. More stories. More memories.


Happy New Year, folks!

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