The editor’s kid always gets ignored

Max McGaw marches with the PHS band in the Portsmouth 375th anniversary parade on Aug. 31, 2013. Max McGaw marches with the PHS band in the Portsmouth 375th anniversary parade on Aug. 31, 2013.

Max McGaw marches with the PHS band in the Portsmouth 375th anniversary parade on Aug. 31, 2013.

Max McGaw marches with the PHS band in the Portsmouth 375th anniversary parade on Aug. 31, 2013.

When the town celebrated its 375th anniversary with a big parade last Labor Day weekend, we had two photographers on the scene to capture all the gaiety — myself and our top shutterbug, Rich Dionne.

It was a great day and we published a bunch of photos in the following issue of The Portsmouth Times.

However, my favorite overall image — reproduced above — did not make the cut.

Why? Because that’s my son in the middle of the frame. The only PHS marching band student in focus. Max McGaw.

Yes, I took it.

In addition to being a newspaper editor covering Portsmouth exclusively, I’m also the proud parent of a kid in our public school system. (Our oldest son, Jake, is now a junior in college.) That presents a quandary for any journalist who’s supposed to be objective and not use their position to toot their own horn — or that of a family member.

At Portsmouth High’s graduation ceremonies June 6, I drew some glances since I was the only parent with a laptop. I was there to cheer on my son, but I still had a story to cover.

Living in the same town you cover can be tricky. Deciding whether to leave a friend or family member out of the police report is easy — you don’t. But what about family members who are worthy of some positive coverage?

At some points during the year, I wish a different editor had been at the helm of The Portsmouth Times. That way, maybe Max would have made his way into the paper once in a while.

So just this one time (I promise), permit me to gush:

Besides playing for a president in January 2013 along with the rest of the PHS marching band, Max served as president of the school’s symphonic band in this, his senior year.

He was named to the PHS Homecoming court and rode in the associated parade last fall (another picture I didn’t print). Max was also a varsity athlete, playing on the tennis team. (I pretended not to see him when I went to cover a match earlier this year.)

Just recently, during senior awards night, Max was one of 14 students recognized for their outstanding senior projects — in his case, writing a screenplay. If only he’d let me read it.

Max in a light moment with his friends Seth Oliveira (left) and Maria Cardone during the PHS band banquet.

Max in a light moment with his friends Seth Oliveira (left) and Maria Cardone during the PHS band banquet. Photo by Caitlin Wirth.

I’m proud of Max for many things, not the least of them being his choice of friends — the cream of the crop at PHS.

I could go on, but I’ll stop for the sake of my son, who probably hates the fact that I wrote this in the first place.

Next fall, Max will attend George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where he’ll study conflict resolution and economics. To our delight, he’ll also continue playing baritone saxophone with George Mason’s Green Machine, named the most entertaining pep band in college basketball by The Bleacher Report, an online news website.

And, hopefully, he’ll get some press from either Broadside (George Mason’s student newspaper), or The Fairfax Times.

Happy trails and best wishes to all the graduates from the Class of 2014.

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