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The extras we publish at The News

June 8, 2011 - Steve Murch
Here at The News we put out a number of special supplements every year. Many of them are traditional, such as the Brown Trout Festival, Young @ Heart, which runs a handful of times per year, our annual football tab, Alpena sports tabs (which only distribute in Alpena County), etc.

Over the last month I've put together three special supplements – two of them are annuals – that I thoroughly enjoy doing, even though they are painstakingly time consuming.

Back in 2001 we rushed out our first Proud to be an American prior to holidays, and just after the United States engaged in the war with Afghanistan and Iraq. We saw it as a way to show how many people from our area were serving our country and potentially could be away from loved ones. The initial one had somewhere around 60 people in it and we were pleased.

We held off on our second one and began the tradition we now have of publishing it the day before Armed Forces Day in May. While the numbers have gone done since we hit a peak a few years ago of 160, it's still amazing to see all the photos and bios come in to the paper. Everyone from newbies fresh out of boot camp to commanders of Navy ships were in this year's edition, all with family ties to the area or grew up here.

We also put together a graduation tab, listing the graduation schedules for all area schools. We also fill it with the top students from area schools. Depending on the size of the publication and the number and size of ads (which determine how many pages), we vary how we present it. It's great to get the photos of all the students in the paper. Every year it's a challenge to balance how to fill it. Some years it's as many photos as possible, others its listing the students. This year we went with as many faces as possible because we had more participation from area schools (not always the case).

This week was one I was especially excited to do – Remembering Catholic Central. It has been 40 years since Alpena Catholic Central closed its doors. The last class to graduate, Class of 1971, held its commencement ceremony on June 13 that year. To mark its closing we will have a special look back in Friday's edition of The News.

Catholic Central has a special place in the hearts of many in Alpena. You can still hear the tales of years gone by and see and feel the impact the school had on the community. Remember Catholic Central looks at the first and last classes to graduate from the school. It also looks how a Catholic education shaped the lives of those who attended; what it was like to have shared classes with Alpena High School; the sports history of the school; its role in the community; and more.

My grandfather, Orville Murch, was on the organizing committee for the school, and my dad, Mike, graduated from Catholic Central (my brother and I graduated in Mancelona, and my sister graduated from Alpena High). For me, it was more than a little interesting to do this project. And, through my research I was able to find a quote my grandpa used during the final commencement ceremony where he was the keynote speaker. It wouldn't have matter who said the words, the quote summed up the whole project for me and I would have used it regardless the speaker. I just feel lucky to have been able to use his words.

I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did putting it together. Look for it in Friday's edition of The News.


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