Reese: Tribune memories filled with a musical beat - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Voices

Reese: Tribune memories filled with a musical beat

After 17 years, education, community reporter leaves Tribune (but not East Valley)

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Michelle Reese covered education for the Tribune, also blogging about motherhood and family issues at

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 5:31 pm | Updated: 10:58 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

During this past summer, I received an email from a Mesa teacher asking if I could spread word about his band’s upcoming trip to New York.

It took a few weeks, but I finally got around to writing the story late last week (Editor’s note: read the story at

After spending three years in marching band in high school, I’m a bit nostalgic about these types of stories.

One of the first stories I wrote for the Tribune involved this same school and its marching band as students raised funds to travel to China. The final benefactors invited me to their home to present students with a check on the day the last payment was due.

My editor even considered flying me to China with them.

I guess it’s fitting that the story I wrote this week about Mountain View High School’s marching band trip to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the last I write as a reporter for this newspaper.

In July 1996, I walked into the Tribune’s doors in Mesa for my first day of work. Over the years, I’ve been a part of the copy desk, the design desk and the reporting crew.

Many of the memorable stories I’ve done involved school programs — from a piece I wrote about the dedication of high school band parents to the summer I followed Hamilton High School’s new choir director around as he prepared for his first day as a teacher.

That same summer, I gave birth to my youngest child. The teacher surprised me a few days later with a phone call. He’d prepared a piece for the choir to sing to me and my daughter over the phone.

I cried.

Over the past decade I’ve probably visited classrooms of every grade level, preschool through senior year, and every subject. My reporting has taken me to schools in Tempe, Chandler, Ahwatukee, Higley, Gilbert, Mesa and Apache Junction, as well as their counterparts in Cave Creek and Scottsdale when I was part of the then-Scottsdale Tribune.

Many times I was there to write stories about school programs, good deeds students performed or new staff.

Once, a school public information officer invited me to decorate Christmas cookies with some preschoolers. It wasn’t for a story, but just a chance to spend time with the children.

I loved it.

There have been plenty of school finance and business stories in there, as well. Sometimes, they got messy. During one school board meeting in particular, my husband called me at 1 a.m. asking when I might be home.

I was nine months pregnant at the time.

As I say goodbye, I’ll take all these memories with me.

But thankfully, I have my written stories to look back on for years.

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