By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News
Thinking back, I’ve never formally introduced myself.
My name is Alex Strouf. I’m a now 18-year-old kid with a passion for the sports and entertainment industries.
The first time we met was over three years ago now. I was going into my sophomore year in high school, writing recaps of Denmark High School football games.
A few weeks before my first article ran in The Denmark News, I was sitting in my then-principal’s office. Oran Nehls informed me of an internship opportunity at The Denmark News, and I could interview for it that day.
I was ecstatic and nervous. I was 15, actively writing for a self-made online blog. I was lucky if a couple hundred people saw my work each week.
Being unable to drive a car, I walked to the office where I would meet with Julie Radue, who at that time was the lead writer, bookkeeper, and did a whole lot else for The News.
We discussed my experience, my dreams, and the newspaper.
“Can you write for next week’s paper?”
No-brainer. I was building a resume while filling readers in. I can’t even explain how excited I was at that time.
As the school year began and ended, I had written over 25 articles for the paper. All in all, I was pretty happy with my work and still thrilled with the opportunity.
The following summer, I was determined to streamline my position, my passion for broadcast, and news from DHS athletics to one location.
I quickly created a website where I would do play-by-play for football games, write exclusive features, and post the rest of my work. I called it, “Inside Denmark Sports.”
The idea took off.
It was only three short weeks later I was offered a paycheck for my contributions.
That idea didn’t make sense to me. I could get paid for doing something that I absolutely loved doing?
That’s what led me here. I started writing three articles every week for just over 100 weeks straight.
I’ve always loved telling stories. This was the perfect way to do that.
I’m writing this today feeling a mixture of emotions. Excited. Sad. Proud. Optimistic.
On Thursday, I’ll be moving into my tiny dorm room at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. I’ll be pursuing a major in Communications with an emphasis in Media Studies.
While this is an absolutely amazing time in my life, I leave behind what I believe was an unbelievably fun tenure at The Denmark News.
The relationships and friendships gained are immeasurable. Every interview I’ve conducted, every game I’ve covered, every story I’ve written has changed me in some way.
I am beyond grateful for every experience I’ve had during my time as the sports director of The Denmark News.
Every person I have met along the way because of my position has welcomed me with open arms.
I’ll always cherish the fact that members of this community, whom I don’t know, will recognize me in public and make an effort to chat with me, sports related or not.
That’s happened quite a few times during my time at The Denmark News, but it’s so humbling to know there are people that enjoy my work and value my opinion.
There are so many things that have made this part of my journey unforgettable. The first of many things was when I shattered my phone walking into the first game I was assigned to cover for The News.
Charles Collier and JC Marquez have quickly become two of my closest friends, and have made this experience exactly what it is. In fact, without Marquez, I likely would not be writing to this day.
All of the mental breaks playing guitar in the office, the rushes to get the final proof of each paper on Tuesday nights, and technical difficulties we’ve faced along the way have made my employment nothing short of special.
I step away from The Denmark News absolutely excited and confident that the mark I, along with my co-workers, have left is a positive and lifelong one. I hope my contributions to this newspaper for the last 150+ weeks have made you smile and/or think at least once. That to me is the biggest accomplishment.
If I’ll make a return, whether short or extended, I’m not sure. However, I am certain this publication is left in good hands, no matter how much I will miss this weekly madness.
The thank you’s would take up this whole newspaper, but I promise when I say thank you, that includes you. None of this was ever possible without you.
As always, it’s been a pleasure.
Until next time.