We’re looking for guest columnists for next year

December 11, 2013 

It’s been a few years since we’ve had a consistent mix of local voices on our Opinion page, and now is a great time to fix that.

For the next few weeks, we’ll be taking applications for a couple of volunteer positions as guest columnists.

Our requirements are pretty simple: You must live in Gig Harbor or on the Key Peninsula, enjoy writing about our area or topics of general interest, and be able to submit a column up to 600 words once a month for the next calendar year.

We’ve had some great contributors in the past. Some have focused on the places and events that make us unique, while others have used humor. The common ingredient is a well-told story that resonates with readers, and we think there are a few of you out there who would enjoy the interaction with our community.

Here’s how you can apply:

 • Put together a cover letter than explains your interest and a few topics you’d like to write about.

 • Write one original column that hasn’t been previously published.

 • Submit your packet by Dec. 31 via email at gatewayeditor@gateline.com with “Guest columnist” in the subject line. Your work can be attached as a document or sent in the body of the email.

Of course, you can also drop by a hard copy or mail it to: The Peninsula Gateway, 3555 Erickson St., Gig Harbor, WA 98335.

In particular, we’re looking for a few different voices who are willing to take on current events from their perspective.

The more local, the better.

You could write about a social club and the people behind it who make it work. You could examine local government — anything from parks to tolls to utility rates — and suggest different ways to look at things. You could even feature places off the beaten path that often get overlooked.

Most importantly, we value your voice, and we want you to represent our community in your newspaper.

The goal would be to start in mid-January and to run in this space on a monthly basis. Watch for an announcement soon after the new year.

ALUMNI OF DISTINCTION

We’ll also be looking for community applications for our annual Alumni of Distinction program, Gig Harbor’s unofficial Hall of Fame.

Each year, we honor Peninsula School District graduates who have gone on to distinguish themselves in their respective fields. We like to think of it as a lifetime achievement award, something that goes to people who grew up here and contributed to society in a meaningful way.

A nomination form will be in the Gateway during the next several weeks. In addition, we recommend those who nominate someone to include daytime contact information and potential sources for letters of recommendation.

I sit on a panel that includes Peninsula School District administrators and community members, and we’ll review nominations in late winter or early spring and invite our Alumni of Distinction to our annual Students of Distinction banquet for public recognition on May 21.

Past alumni have included educators and coaches, a former athlete who went on to play in the NFL, an author, a forest service worker, a scientist who works for NASA, a judge and a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, among others.

Aside from celebrating accomplishments and sending off soon-to-be graduates with heaps of praise, one of the things that makes the Students of Distinction event so special is our alumni and the way they appreciate today’s standouts.

During their acceptance speeches, the alumni often talk about how impressive the students’ achievements are.

And while it’s true — each group of Students of Distinction seems to be more impressive than ever — our alumni provide another perspective, because they grew up here, became community leaders and chose to give back in one way or another.

Think of someone who fits that mold — someone who graduated at least five years ago and has made an impact in their chosen field — and nominate them for this special recognition.

Editor and Publisher Brian McLean can be reached by email at brian.mclean@gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_brian.

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