News sportswriter bids farewell as he heads to college

Courtesy Photo Owen Kinzey snaps photos as the Alpena High School baseball team plays at Comerica Park on May 17.

Just over two years ago, The Alpena News took a chance on an average 15-year-old from Alpena High School.

This kid lacked any journalism experience, and, frankly, had no business being a freelance writer for The News.

Reflecting on it, I’m astonished that the company hired him — even though that kid happened to be me.

Yet, despite my initial inexperience, this job granted me countless opportunities to become a better writer, communicator, and community figure, which I will cherish forever.

Working for The Alpena News at such a young age has been an incredible experience.

It has allowed me to represent our vibrant community and share its stories with the world. This job has become a significant part of who I am, shaping my perspective and honing my communication skills.

During my time, I’ve received invaluable guidance and mentorship from various individuals, and that is why I’m committed to continuing my journalism education.

Starting this summer, I will attend Michigan State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism, aiming to expand my knowledge and experience to a grander scale.

However, leaving this job and responsibility behind for college is undoubtedly one of the toughest challenges I will face, because of my feelings toward this small town.

None of this would’ve been possible without the unwavering support I’ve received from the Alpena community.

To all my friends, family members, teachers, and fellow readers of The Alpena News: thank you, personally, for supporting my writing and giving me the confidence to pursue my aspirations.

Alongside my supporters, I’d also like to acknowledge several names who played significant roles in shaping me into the journalist I am today. Tori Marasco, Justin Hinkley, Steve Jakubcin, Jere Bey, Drew Celli, and Isabella Shelton have always been there to fine-tune my writing skills, provide pictures, or even fill me in with stats I might’ve missed.

I’d like to highlight the influence of two final people: James Andersen and Jonny Zawacki.

Both of those men were colleagues when I started this job, and, even though they’ve since moved on, their readiness to help remains whenever I ask.

I initially job-shadowed Jonny on the day of my interview, and, without his help showing me the ropes to this career, I would be nowhere near as successful.

James was also there from the beginning, and, still today, he would do anything to help me out or improve my writing. He’s the reason I started and the reason I continue to pour my heart and soul into this profession.

Without those two guys, I don’t believe I’d love this job at all like I do now, and I will always be thankful for what they have done for me.

Finally, I’d like to give final shoutouts to all the student-athletes I’ve worked with and the many coaches I’ve talked to.

Whether I was interviewing my best friend, struggling to maintain a balance of laughter and professionalism, or engaging in casual conversations with fellow schoolmates who also happened to be student-athletes, I believe the best part of working this job at my age is the connections made within it.

Outside of player connections, I built bonds with numerous coaches, allowing me to expand The Alpena News’ sports coverage even further.

I’d like to thank every coach who always took a few minutes to complete an interview — especially coaches Eric Mackenzie, Laura Dubey, and John Pintar — for presenting me with several chances to take The Alpena News’ coverage to another level.

Considering that I have written my last sports article, I will miss all the time spent at baseball fields, hockey rinks, football fields, and, of course, the Art Gillespie Gym.

As I finish my final article for The Alpena News and my high school journey ends, I have one last thing to write before signing off.

For the last two years, every article I’ve ever written has featured ‘Special to The News’ beneath my name. I sincerely hope that, during my time here, each piece brought something unique and special to you, our readers.

Thank you to all.

This adventure has been amazing.


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