We've had some good, talented kids in the Times newsroom over the years.

    Normally, I barely glimpse at ads in newspapers and magazines.

    That was clear one day several years ago when Jan Aamoth contacted the Times looking for more information on the summer internship we were offering to a local high school student. I was clueless.

    Turns out, it was the internship we were publicizing in the Crookston Daily Times. Specifically, the Minnesota Newspaper Association, in partnership with the Carl and Eloise Pohlad Foundation, was advertising high school internship opportunities at MNA-member newspapers across the state.

    So I found the ad, and, turns out, not only would the intern get paid, the program would cover most of the salary, with the participating newspapers picking up the rest.

    Aamoth's daughter, Brea, was interested in the internship, so we hired her. Beginning that summer and continuing each summer from that point on, the Times has employed a high school student in the summer. It also opened the door to a relationship with CHS that has students earning academic credit while spending a part of their school morning in the Times newsroom as student writer and photographer through an "independent study" curriculum.

    On each student's first day, I put them to the test to see how fast they write. It's important for me to know if they're speedy or slow when it comes to completing a writing-related task. I tell each student to write a little article on themselves that introduces them to readers. I tell them to act as if they're conducting a self-interview, and then tell readers a few things about themselves that they might find interesting. If a kid takes 90 minutes to write four paragraphs, that tells me I'm going to have to give that student only a couple tasks to fill their morning shifts. If they produce 400 words in 20 minutes, I know I'm going to have to find many things for them to do each day.

    In that respect, our most recent student writer/photographer, CHS senior Ally Tiedemann, is the most difficult student I've ever dealt with. But I mean that in the most positive sense. She's so fast at completing each task handed to her that I was tempted to have her write haikus or limericks that focused solely on organic chemistry, or perhaps the fall of the Mayan empire.

    So Ally gets the “Fastest Intern Ever Award.” Here are some other honors:

    • Best Writer: Brett Warcken. Over all these years, he is still the only student to ever write an article that required not a single edit by me. For his first story, he interviewed a bunch of students at UMC's summer robotics camp, and his article was good to go. He made my job easier, and I love it when that happens.

    • Best Personality: Nick Proulx. He's like a fighter pilot now. I'll never forget that day early on in his internship when I said, "Nick, I think you should be a fighter pilot."

    • Most Political: Jordan Rauner. (She's Jordan Cooley now.) She was outspoken from early on, and I agreed with every word she said, so, clearly, she's a genius.

    • Bravest: (As a Person): Katie Davidson. She exuded a quiet (very quiet) confidence in herself, no matter the task given to her or the challenge presented. Her bravery continues today, as she now works at a small newspaper in Wisconsin.

    •Bravest (As a Reporter): Allison Reinhart. She once wrote an editorial critical of the food offerings at lunchtime at CHS, then went through the lunch line the next day, where some members of the kitchen staff greeted her with thousand-mile stares. Another time, a new business was opening and the entrepreneur was going to be there at a certain time, so I told Allison to go there with a camera and notebook, unannounced, to take his photo and interview him. She was petrified, but returned a half-hour later, giddy over the chat they’d had. In this business, you must ask questions to get the information you need, and some people would rather ingest 100 Tide Pods than do that.

    • Biggest Free Spirit: Sally Palmer. She added so much life and energy to the newsroom. One day a massive thunderstorm rolled through town with torrential rains. We were all looking out the window at the storm drain across the street by the post office, where pooling water was growing into a small lake, when someone wondered, “Where’s Sally?” A few seconds later, she appeared, in shorts and a shirt, lying on her back in the middle of all that water, moving her arms and legs back and forth. She was making a snow angel, in the water.

    • Most Positive: Victoria “Torrie” Greer. Have you ever seen that smile? Of course you have, because she’s always smiling. Seriously, her facial muscles must get sore after a while.

    • Most Pleasant Surprise: Yvette Reyes. I’d never heard of her until she expressed an interest in our internship. She did excellent work here, then left to attend some kind of “global” prep school far away reserved for only the most amazing young people. Today, no joke, she’s some kind of welder extraordinaire and yoga master.

    • Biggest Giver of Hope for the Future: Maddie Everett. She’ll be returning in June for her second stint as the Times summer intern. Her writing flirts with Brett Warcken status, her talent as an artist and musician makes me feel insignificant and small, and she gives every task her absolute best.