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I’ve written plenty of back-to-school stories over the course of my journalism career, but usually they’re about kindergartners picking out crayons or freshmen nervously wandering unfamiliar hallways.

This time, the story is about me.

I enrolled in the marketing program at Madison Area Technical College this fall, and after two weeks of struggling to be a full-time student and a full-time editor, I came to the conclusion that something had to give or I was going to lose my mind. And as my mind comes in rather handy at times, I reluctantly decided to resign from my position at the Columbus Journal, effective after this issue goes to press.

I’ve had a great two years at this job, and I’m sad to say goodbye to most of it (although I confess I will not miss all of the night meetings and weekend event coverage), but I feel like it’s time for me to expand my horizons and see what comes next.

Being the editor of the CJ has truly been a labor of love for me.

As a lot of you know, my husband and I have been residents of this city since 1993, and after years of making a 40-minute commute to Madison for work every day, I was thrilled to be able to cover the news in our adopted hometown and ecstatic to have a job where my daily commute involved walking downstairs.

I’m proud of the work I did here. I tried really hard to elevate the level of the newspaper, and I feel like, for the most part, I succeeded. Yes, I know (as my husband and son like to point out), the CJ wasn’t exactly error-free over the last two years. But hopefully it wasn’t boring either.

Back in journalism school many (many, many) years ago, I was taught a newspaper’s role was to inform, to entertain and to delight readers, and that’s what I tried to do every week.

What I loved the most about this job was the chance to write about the city’s history, a topic I found endlessly fascinating. Among my favorites were stories about The Kurth Brewery fire in 1916, the Pavilion’s 100th anniversary, Rahn’s Appliance store, the Capri Steakhouse, a look back at how the redbud trees on the boulevard came to be and a piece on the Fall River Museum, founded by Betty Wright and her late husband, David.

It’s been a great ride, and I’m pretty sure, years from now, when I look back on my life, this will be one of the chapters I’m most proud of.

I thank you all for reading and for supporting the Columbus Journal during my tenure. As you may have heard, these are trying times for newspapers, and we truly do appreciate our loyal subscribers.

If you’re wondering what comes next for the CJ, let me reassure you, my successor has already been hired. He will be starting Sept. 18. I won’t steal his thunder by introducing him now, but I will say, I’ve read some of his work, and I am confident I am leaving the paper in good hands. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to miss me, at least a little.

If you’ve got a press release or an event you want covered, you can contact the new editor at I’m sure he will appreciate a note of welcome and a few leads so he can hit the ground running. I know I did.

Lisa Cestkowski was the editor of the Columbus Journal from 2015 until this week. She is now attending school at MATC, where the average student is 29 years old, and she is well above average. Contact her at