Scott reflects: 150 issues, countless memories
So, in looking at the calendar, I realize that this is my 150th issue of the newspaper. That means (on a conservative estimate) over 500 days of production, or roughly 5,000 hours spent in E25 and various computer labs. I really don’t want to think about how many calories that would add up to from pizza, donuts, Dilly bars, lasagna, etc. The years just kind of get away after a while. My first issue was published on September 2, 1994. Brett Hartman was three years old.
My first issue was almost my last issue. The editors really didn’t know what they were doing, and neither did I, so we figured it out together. We tried to put together a newspaper in the last week of the summer to publish on the first day of school. Yep, that was a disaster. The last night of layout, we were here until 2:30 a.m. and, bleary eyed, I drove home to Fond du Lac wondering what I had gotten myself into. Later that week, the printer called to say that the paper was such a mess that they couldn’t print it and we had to do it over again. I actually broke down and cried. That was the first and only deadline I have missed. Oh, Brett Hartman was three years old.
In looking at the stories from that first issue, I see a review of The Lion King, which had just hit the theaters. Oh, Forrest Gump, too! We also were welcoming Keith Rodda to his first year as West principal. That was five principals ago for me. Our centerspread was focused on English teacher Jack Talbot, who was consistently warring with the school board over freedom of expression for his students. Jack is gone now, as are pretty much all of the teachers from that English department….well, except Bill Steinert (the man whose presence always makes me feel just a little bit younger). In case I didn’t mention this, Brett Hartman was three years old.
That first issue was a pretty controversial one as well. My editor in chief, Curt Fuller, published an editorial demanding the resignation of school board president, Dennis McHugh. Curt was incensed at a comment that McHugh had made in the Northwestern that special education classroom space should be cut down to save money as “They’re using too much space and, quite frankly, some of them can’t learn much anyway.” Pretty gutsy editorial right out of the gates. I find some irony as we are readying for a referendum on April 1 that is necessary because of the leadership and decisions by those school boards. Circles and circles, don’t you know. (Of course, none of this changes the fact that Brett Hartman was three years old.)
Back then, we printed pictures in the dark room, clipped art from a book, didn’t have Internet connections and actually waxed paper onto big boards to transport to Ripon for printing in the wee hours of the morning. The A-wing lab (and the A-wing, for that matter) didn’t exist, so we worked out of the Media Center and made the best of it. Things, obviously, have changed just a bit. Production hours have been trimmed way back, digital photography and online transmission have become the norm and I foresee the day when we go paperless altogether. And, of course, Mr. Hartman is now an elderly chap of 23.
You know what hasn’t changed? My editors. That first crew (whose picture accompanies this short note) are nearing 40 now. They were driven, curious, ambitious students who wanted to make a difference. In short, they bear many similarities with the troops I see in front of me as I type this. Editors from over the years have gone on to careers that have taken them around the world and deep into important and galvanizing work. Quite frankly, they inspire me. It has truly been an honor and a blessing to have worked alongside them all for 20 unforgettable years. This is my family. These are my “kids” (even those pushing 40), and I love them all. Index4Life!
By: Trent Scott