Someone New



Helen Cook

Emil, Feature's Writer

Recently I met Helen Cook (one of our school administrators) and I had a feeling it was time for an interview. She used to be a journalist, so I thought she would have had amazing experiences- indeed she did.

Normally I’m curious about people’s childhoods, and what they thought about the world back then. I also was curious to see if Ms. Cook’s ideas about what she wanted to be when she grew up had changed.

She replied confidently, “I love English”. A straight answer, which continues with “I love writing”.

Ms. Cook describes that when she was 8, her mother helped her write a hand written letter to a university. When she first mentioned this to me, I was shocked (in a good way). She said, “At 8 years old I applied to a university” which made me think ‘super genius’.

The university replied with a sweet message, claiming they loved her enthusiasm and hoped to see her in the future.

I asked Ms. Cook why she chose her career.

As usual children can get their inspiration from what they see around them. Ms. Cook saw on TV, a journalist that fascinated her. The idea of travelling, and uncovering truths easily attracted the interest of a kid who loves to write. A kid who loves to write diaries and anything new, stories, you name it.

After asking her who her inspiration was, she answered, Kate Adie a BBC overseas reporter.

“It’s great to have a role model, someone you can compare to” she added.

I decided to ask Ms. Cook a deeper question. “Who did you love to interview the most and why?”

She stated, “A former prisoner of war”.

This is where I started to get even more interested. Around 90 years old now, Joseph McCamley was a British war prisoner of the Japanese who had lost his dog tags. It was discovered later that a US sailor (Howard Scaggs) found McCamley’s dog tags. As Ms. Cook described it, it was an “emotional interview”. A happy man. A happy reporter. Tears of joy.

A journalist can publish his or her stories in many different places. I asked Ms. Cook where she prefers to publish her pieces, with her replying, “On websites”. To be more exact, a website used by many journalists, ‘’. Why?

“Because it’s unbiased and has new reports posted really fast and there is little opinion. Mainly facts”.

As I sit there listening, I added “What subjects do you write about?”

She replies “anything now”. Ms. Cook prefers to target specific audiences, especially when blogging. She takes a keen interest in sports now, and hopes for the future to report on the health industry and continue to practice her communication skills.

I never imagined being told such a unique tale from someone who I walk past in the morning. It’s good to get to know someone, to see the world from their perspective.