In Bolivar, people know me as a quadruplet. The usual phrase folks say when they meet me is, “Are you one of the Skopec quads!?”
My last name might sound recognizable because of the Herald-Free Press’ extensive coverage throughout my upbringing.
Rest assured, I won’t milk the quadruplet card for the rest of my time at the BH-FP. But I will say the BH-FP is the reason why I’m starting my career as a reporter, not only because I grew up in it, but also because of the special opportunities the paper provided to me.
I’ll admit that when I was young, I struggled to understand why my brothers and I were featured in the newspaper. Don’t get me wrong — seeing my family in the press was a special privilege. But I often wondered why my family in particular warranted extra attention.
To my young mind, my brothers and I were simply quadruplets, a fact that felt nothing but normal. Besides the fact that we were born together, we were still siblings just like any other set of siblings.
However, the older I grew, the more I became aware of how strange it was for my brothers and I to have simply been born, seeing how the chance of conceiving quadruplets is 1 in 700,000.
As such, I decided to put my slim shot of existence into good use and pursue something meaningful in life. The first step to doing that was discovering where I could develop my interests.
The Herald-Free Press turned out to be the outlet that sparked my groove.
One sunny April day in my eighth grade English class, a Bolivar reporter paid a visit to our classroom and announced that the newspaper was hosting a contest. She told us to write articles about the event we had been studying in class — the Iditarod, an Alaskan dog-sled race — and a few selected students would have their writing published in the paper.
I remember thoroughly enjoying writing my article, but when I submitted it to the contest, I didn’t expect to see it published. A week later, I was shocked when my teacher Mrs. Cantrell handed me a can of soda as a prize for being one of the contest winners.
I’m not sure if I would be where I am today if I hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in that contest. Holding the physical copy of the article in my hands helped me realize that I could actually contribute content to the community and pursue writing as a viable passion.
Now that I’ve returned to the community and landed in the newsroom, I am thrilled to be granted the responsibility of telling stories about our special community with the newspaper I grew up in.
One of these days, maybe I’ll get to cover a story about a local woman one-upping my family by having quintuplets. I’ll be the first on the scene to give those kids memories they can laminate and keep forever.
Kathryn Skopec is a reporter for the BH-FP.