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How to tell a story

Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:33 a.m. CDT

Many times in life we’re asked to tell a story, which leaves us with many options, such as sugarcoating, letting people see our strengths and weaknesses, admitting we have fallen in love and seen it go up in oblivion.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the biggest disasters have had stories that turned out pretty cool.

I was given the idea of writing something in coordination with Newton Senior High School Alumni Week, and since the idea was given to me, inspiration has ran out the door.

It wasn’t until the yearbooks came into the office and turned to the staff page of my senior yearbook to find a picture of me working to make the final deadline that helped give me the inspiration to do an alumni week column.

The staff was truly stacked with experienced seniors and an unremarkable underclassman. The editor-in-chief Shea Conner is currently working at the St. Joeseph News-Press, and managing editor CJ Strike does writing for COIN-OP TV on a part-time basis. Newton alumni Greg Woods was the lone freshman on that staff and is still doing work for Energy 106.7 on Iowa Speedway race weekends. I am going to slow down before I get off on too much of a tangent because, don’t get me wrong, I could write a book on the good things about that staff.

My greatest strength in writing was having the chance to tell someone’s story. I’d have the opportunity to sit down with athletes for 45 minutes to an hour and then go back to the computer with one question on my mind: “What’s the most intriguing aspect of this person?” The amazing thing is that those series were truly the best things I have ever written.

I looked back on the people that I had a chance to write about and the ones I learned about because of their willingness to sit down and have a conversation. I know, come next weekend, many more stories will be told, and sometimes even though I am in my hometown, I still wonder what will be on the other side of the barn door at Sugar Grove Winery. Will it be that glorious reunion we’re hoping for, or will it be just another cliché night in Newton? It still leaves the question — did you turn the handle to see what’s on the other side?

It goes without saying that, for many people, it’s a step back into the person we were years ago, but for most it will be a step forward, as many people will now have a different story to tell.

I find myself laughing at my desk thinking that once again, 10 years down the road, I am able to introduce the current readers of the Daily News to the Newton Senior High School Class of 2004.

The greatest thing about having the chance to tell the story of the people that make up my high school class is that it’s never ending. As long as someone is willing to tell their story, it remains internal for the individuals simply willing to listen.

In the end, don’t forget you have an amazing story to tell to the world. I urge the community of Newton to celebrate, as many people who represent the past of Newton Senior High School will be coming home. Take time to celebrate with them as our past has made Newton what it is today, and what Newton is today will make for what the future of Newton will be.

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