My First Column as Student Columnist

For the Plum Advance Leader

Why did I do it?

Why would anyone choose to experience a job that, as one person put it, has low pay and little recognition?

Perhaps I should begin by introducing myself. My name is Michael Keaton (for real) and I am a senior at Plum Senior High School. Over the summer I have been working here at Gateway Press on a volunteer basis. I've mostly written items in the "Where To Go" section, although I have also written some business briefs, campus news, and obituaries.

I decided that working here interested me a great deal more than preparing greasy food or pushing carts around at a supermarket. I plan to major in Communications in college, and I felt tha tworking at a local paper would help me to see what a life of journalism is all about.

Although I made mistakes (mispronouncing the last name of my editor and straying from the journalistic style), I did have a good time (which, I suppose, wasn't the point).

All of this brings me to why I did it. I guess it could be said that television and newspapers made me do it. Some of my heroes include Mike Royko, George Will, Dave Barry, and Peter Jennings.

However, my interest in writing really began in seventh grade. My English teacher at the time, Mrs. Beatty, had us write each week in journals. That single assignment in class began my interest in writing - not mindless repetition of gerunds, participles, and sentence diagramming, but a weekly journal.

My interest was fanned further by my eighth and ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Nonnenberg. Our journals were carried over into eighth grade, and I used to remind her each week about writing in them. Instead of writing about boring things like what I did this week, I would write humorous stories or I'd write down my opinions on various subjects.

Perhaps someday this will all lead to becoming a nationally recognized columnist. Or jail. At this point, it's too early to tell.