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The Hilltop News welcomes LaGrange College back to campus for the spring semester. As we swing into 2017, it is worth looking back at the year that was. And what better way to do that than with our 2016/2017 special issue: STRANGER THINGS

Why call this special print issue, “Stranger Things”? Well, the year 2016 was—to put it mildly—strange.

Here in Georgia, the autumn was beset by drought and record temperatures. The strange weather brought a few more days of short-sleeve weather, late-changing leaves, and a spate of wildfires throughout the north of the state.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world deals with its own set of strange circumstances. Syria is engulfed in a civil war that has resulted in a global refugee crisis. The United Kingdom voted yes on Brexit and is preparing to separate itself from the European Union. And the United States capped off its historically bitter presidential election with two bizarre outcomes:

1) Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first female candidate to be awarded a major party’s nomination, won the popular vote.

2) Donald J. Trump, a reality television mogul, controversial firebrand, and populist billionaire, won the Electoral College and the American presidency.

Strange days, indeed.

At The Hilltop News, our student writers followed suit by embracing the strange. Rather than stick to the old familiar—the “straight news” story—we stretched out into the history of literary journalism. Using techniques from an examination of the pioneers—W.T. Stead, Lillian Ross, Hunter S. Thompson, and Joan Didion, just to name a few—our writers built articles that celebrate the weird and wonderful world of the LaGrange community.

In this issue, you will find stories about the college’s marching band and its new digital media program.  You will read about make-up artists, Pokemon Go! addicts, music teachers, chicken-wing munching truck-drivers, and orchestra-composing police officers. You will follow one intrepid reporter has she uncovers the lost history of LaGrange College’s debate teams.

So join us as we do the unthinkable: we talk to strangers. And unlike the strange outbreak of forest clowns that emerged toward the end of the last year, there’s nothing to be afraid of within these woods.

You can pick up a copy at the new stand outside the 24-Hour Study Area!