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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Q&A with high school announcer Sean Valley

Sportscaster+Sean+Valley+announcing+at+the+Lake+Washington+versus+Juanita+baseball+game+on+April+10+at+Peter+Kirk+Park.+Photo+courtesy+of+Corky+Trewin
Sportscaster Sean Valley announcing at the Lake Washington versus Juanita baseball game on April 10 at Peter Kirk Park. Photo courtesy of Corky Trewin

You may not recognize Sean Valley’s (he/him) name, but most students in the Northshore and Lake Washington school districts have heard his voice over the broadcast microphone at stadiums such as Pop Keeney Stadium. Besides being a sportscaster and sports announcer, Valley is also a fourth grade teacher at Thoreau Elementary in Kirkland. Over his 23-year teaching career, he has taught a variety of age groups ranging from first grade to high school students to adults. 

His career as a sportscaster began when he was 12 years old. At the time, he and a group of friends made a habit of “breaking” into the press box at their nearby high school to run the scoreboard and announce for the football league. They thought they were trespassing only to later discover that the adults were grateful for the free labor they were providing them. Projecting his voice came easily for Valley since he began singing at five years old for his church choir, continuing to sing in choirs through high school and college. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Broadcasting degree from Washington State University, Valley worked as a radio show host and as the Seattle Sounders’ sales and marketing manager before earning a master’s degree in teaching from the City University of Seattle. 

Despite switching careers, Valley always remained dedicated to his passion of photography. Growing up, he was surrounded by a family of photographers. He began taking pictures as a child and continues to shoot photos, frequently sharing his work on social media.

 

Q: Why do you announce for high schools?

A: For me, it’s about letting the high school kids know that somebody cares about them. Because those kids who are playing high school ball, or whatever their sport is, that’s their chance, because so few kids get to go play at the next level, at the college level. These kids are working just as hard as the kids who do end up going on to D1, and so I want them to know that they deserve the same treatment. It’s all about putting in the work and somebody recognizing it, showing them that they are good enough, people do care about them.

Q: What is your favorite part of announcing?

A: Working with the kids, getting to know the kids a little bit and getting to know the families. I had an Inglemoor dad come up to me at an Inglemoor home game. He said “Sean, we missed you.” I’m like, “What do you mean you missed me?” He’s like, “No, we didn’t realize how good we got it until we heard an announcer in another place.”

Q: What is the hardest part of announcing?

A: Names! Getting the names right. And it’s because names mean so much. Because you don’t want to mess them up. And kids will say “Oh, whatever, it doesn’t matter.” I’m like, “Yes, it does matter. That’s your name. That’s your family and you’re out here representing your family and your school. And you deserve to have both of them pronounced correctly.” 

Q: Why did you begin taking photos at sports games?

A: It started because I always have a good seat when I’m announcing. And so I would take pictures while I was announcing and then share them on Instagram and tag the kids so everybody knows. I shoot for the kids. Just the same reason I announce because I know how hard they work. I want to take their pictures and share them. 

Q: Have you tried publishing your photography?

A: I don’t ever want that to be a job. Because it’s fun. It’s a hobby for me. I love sharing, and I don’t want it to be a job. That’s the biggest thing because I think when it becomes a job then I’ll dread doing things.

Q: Do you find it hard to balance announcing and also taking pictures?

A: It actually helps me focus. It really does. Because my brain is so ADHD, having something to think about keeps me focused on what I’m doing.

Q: Did you play sports as a kid?

A: I was a swimmer in high school, and I haven’t announced a swim meet in ages. But I was always around it. My dad was a football and baseball coach, my middle brother was a swimmer. My oldest brother was a wrestler. He also played baseball. 

Q: In what ways do you think your photography impacts high school students?

Go check out Valley’s photos on his Instagram @svalleyphotos!

A: I think it just shows kids that there’s somebody out there who cares that they may not even know. It’s just another way to prove to kids that you matter. I say that at the end of every game. “No matter who you are, no matter where you go, you matter.”

Q:  What would you most like people to know about you?

A: That I don’t have favorites but I play favorites. The kids who will come up and say hi, the kids who share my stuff and let me know that they shared it. I will do my best to include them as much as possible. 

Q: What is your favorite school to announce for?

A: Inglemoor, duh!

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About the Contributor
Maya Cherny (she/her)
Maya Cherny (she/her), Feature Editor
Junior Maya Cherny is going into her second year on the Nordic News staff as the feature editor for the 2023-2024 school year. She hopes to grow as a writer and an editor and is excited for all the new stories she’ll get to cover. Outside of Nordic, Maya enjoys listening to music, spending time with her friends and family, and taking classes at her dance studio. 

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