Tom Betar



These past few months have been times of great change in my life. I decided to pack up and leave the comfortable and familiar surroundings of sunny and quiet St. George, Utah, and head to the cold and sprawling Salt Lake City area, not knowing whom I would meet or what I would find. It is amazing to me that in a few short months I seem to have unearthed years and years of stereotypical notions and ideas that seem to have taken hold of an entire population.

Upon first moving here I really had no idea what the west side of Salt Lake City meant, or what it meant to live in that area. There was never any west- or east-side division in St. George, to my knowledge, and I never suspected there to be such a prominent division here.

One of the most inspiring things I have learned over the course of the semester is that people are genuinely willing to help. Sure, they may get paid and be compensated for their efforts, but I think many of the people I spoke with genuinely want to help needy children and families better their lives. I think they really want to make a difference in a marginalized community. I learned that no matter how grim or desperate a situation may be, there is almost always an organization or person out there to provide hope in some form or another. I met someone whose life was literally saved by the Salvation Army and another woman who took a pay cut to pursue a job helping others.

I feel I learned a lot about myself in realizing just how lucky I am to be where I am today.

Covering this beat really gave me more of an appreciation for my family, because without their love and support, I could be exactly where some of these needy west-side children are. It is in large part a credit to my family that I am able to pursue higher education and do not have to worry about where my next meal is coming from.

This beat was challenging, inspirational, educational and eye-opening for me. After hearing about all the struggles that families and residents go through, I realize that many of them might be dead if not for the work of these nonprofit organizations. I really have new respect for the human spirit and the capacity to help others.


As far back as I can remember I have had a passion for writing. During elementary school I would write as many stories as the teacher would permit and I would always find time to write more. As I moved through school I kept wondering how exactly I could translate my passion for writing into a stable career path. After coming to the conclusion that writing books or novels was not the most promising career choice, I discovered that journalism and the media might be my best options to pursue my passion and make a decent living. More recently, I have become interested in being a sports reporter or broadcaster, which would essentially combine my two most intense passions in life.

After being a member of the first graduating class of Desert Hills High School in St. George, Utah, I continued my education at Dixie State College, where I completed four semesters. During my time at DSC I gained much valuable work experience and met a variety of interesting and knowledge people. I was the news editor for the college newspaper, The Dixie Sun, where I was exposed to a newsroom setting and faced with deadline pressure and editing responsibilities. I was also an RA, or resident assistant, for the on-campus housing department where I worked with students and staff to ensure a productive and enjoyable living environment.

I have now transferred to the University of Utah, where I am working to complete my degree with communication as my major. I hope to one day become a noted sports reporter or broadcaster, such as Bob Costas, and to be able to see my work being enjoyed by thousands of sports fans.

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