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My future bosses are kind of cool logo 8/10/2022 Nik Streng,
Ida B. Wells student Beni Marquez, left, and McMinnville student Ellen Dong chat with Jeff Ginalias, an athlete in the upcoming Oregon Senior Games. © Nik Streng/ Ida B. Wells student Beni Marquez, left, and McMinnville student Ellen Dong chat with Jeff Ginalias, an athlete in the upcoming Oregon Senior Games.

I used to chat with Nyssa baseball coach Travis Sapp after games and we’d talk about how cool the kids are. Sapp is a longtime friend, even if we don’t agree on everything. But we always agreed that the kids are already better than we are.

I’ve spent the past seven years of my life working with high school-aged kids. I’ve been a wrestling coach at Glencoe and Ontario high schools. I’ve covered hundreds of high school sporting events in eastern Oregon, Idaho and the Portland area. And now I’m a mentor for high schoolers who want to be journalists.

And something that has been consistent during my time working with high school kids is that they are absolutely freaking awesome. I’ve met probably north of a thousand kids over the years from every corner of Oregon and they are always awesome.

They are smart. Way smarter than I was when I was in high school (don’t ask Dr. Won about how awful I was in freshman English). And they are passionate. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was their age. Having a passion for something is such a head up in life. Some of these kids are getting to work with some of the best journalists in the state and are actually excited to soak in everything they can possibly learn. They’re not too cool for school. These guys want to be here.

And working closely with my kids has been such a great experience. Ellen is a little overachiever, and her creative writing skills blew me out of the water when she first wrote her profile. She has a voice in her writing and is confident as she types in a way that teenagers aren’t supposed to be. She is going to someday join a college newspaper and is going to set it completely on fire as she writes circles around her peers.

Beni is perhaps more passionate about multimedia than I am about anything. When we brainstormed photo ideas for our meeting with track & field athlete Jeff Ginalias, I could see his brain buzzing with ideas. He was just bursting with creative excitement. When we met with Jeff, Beni ran all over the place like a dog in a bone store to get the best photos and even broke out the gyroscopic camera holder to get a cool running video.

I’m excited to see these kids grow up as young journalists. I hope they keep in touch so I can stalk their rise through college and their young careers. And I hope they think of me when they take over major media outlets and need someone to cover high school sports.

I can’t wait to be on their staff.

— Nik Streng,, @NikStreng

This blog post was produced as part of the High School Journalism Institute, an annual collaboration among The Oregonian/OregonLive, Oregon State University and other Oregon media organizations. For more information or to support the program, go to

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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