Bishop Foley Catholic High School

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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT SERIES: Dave Birkett

“People have great stories, and it’s your job to tell them.”  Those are some of the wise words Dave Birkett ('94) shared with our current Journalism students on Tuesday, October 4th.  Dave grew up with a love of sports, and came to develop a love for writing.  He has since combined those passions into an amazing career as a sports journalist, currently working as a Lions Beat writer for the Detroit Free Press.  Back in his Foley days, Dave played on both the baseball and basketball teams.  He credits Mr. Caruthers, and the Journalism class here, for helping to ignite his passion for journalism.  Dave worked on “The Venturian” paper while he was a student, and even used some clips from those articles to get his next writing job at MSU.  After graduating from Bishop Foley Catholic, Dave went on to study Journalism at Michigan State University, with a cognate in teaching.  This then led him to work at The Lansing State Journal as a freelance writer.  Dave gained experience at other publications such as The Oakland Press and MLive.  One of his most adventurous articles included joining former MSU coach John L. Smith and a small group on a trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for seven days.  He wrote about their experience for ESPN.  In 2013 Dave was named Michigan Sports Writer of the Year.  He has also received numerous local, state and national awards for his writing, along with being a Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, and member of the Pro Football Writers of America.  Dave is currently married with two wonderful children, Avery (7) and Jack (2).  He remembers Bishop Foley especially for the lasting friendships that he developed while here, and still maintains those friendships to this day.  When speaking to our students on Tuesday, Dave encouraged them to get as much experience in Journalism as possible if that is what they are interested in.  One of the most poignant thoughts that he left the students with that day was for the entire group, regardless of interest in Journalism.  He simply encouraged them to do what makes them happy.  Find something you love, and make that your career.  That is the best way to be a happy, successful person.  Simple, but often overlooked words, that rang true even for the adults in the room.  Don’t chase the money, do what you love.  He also encouraged them to “take the time to get to know people, because those people will help you in every walk of life.”  Well, it was a pleasure getting to know Dave Birkett.  We are grateful for the time he shared to impart his experiences on our students, and we wish him continued success and happiness doing what he loves.