• CHS Journalism Students Keeping It Rolling

    A Blog Roll, That Is!

    The 2015-2016 Smoke Signal staff: Front Row (L-R): Lisa Rocha, Rachel Lilley, Rylie McGinnis, Kaitlyn Hickman Back Row (L-R): Jeffery Abbey, Joe Gilligan, Connor Allen, Caden Jones, Bronte Hermesmeyer

    The 2015-2016 Smoke Signal staff: Front Row (L-R): Lisa Rocha, Rachel Lilley, Rylie McGinnis, Kaitlyn Hickman Back Row (L-R): Jeffery Abbey, Joe Gilligan, Connor Allen, Caden Jones, Bronte Hermesmeyer

    How can it be that another school year has come and gone and our children are all another year older? Realizing that my opportunity was almost gone, I found myself running to the high school this last week for one last visit with the Journalism class, where I so often find a story. Today, though, I actually was interested in who would be coming back to the class, and why as well as what benefit those students had found in a class of that kind.

    As usual, it was senior journalism student, Rylie McGinnis, who set the conversation in motion.

    “For me,” Rylie began, “the purpose of a school paper is to give “our” spin on what happens here. Other media outlets tell our story from an outsiders perspective, but we live our story so we know it better than anyone else.”

    I suppose I did not tell her, but I actually thought this a brilliant perspective and one I really had not considered. Remember when your mother would say, “I know you better than you know yourself,” and didn’t you HATE that ridiculous remark?

    For a minute, my mind wandered back to the days when I taught journalism and how technology has changed the look of the classroom. Instead of pencils, and rulers, and word counts, and mockups, today’s journalism students sit in front of their laptops and edit as they go, inserting photos at the same time.

    There is also no longer a “paper” but instead, a continuous online blog roll, insuring that the news is always fresh and timely.

    Rylie picked our conversation back up. “Sometimes this new method of doing the paper is really stressful because we don’t have the two weeks of procrastination between each issue, but it does make the paper flow better,” she smiled, reminding me that I am really going to miss that smile that never comes without the dimples.

    And then, I turned to sophomore Bronte Hermesmeyer, who like Madison Hagood before him, reminded me that he really hopes to have a career in journalism and that he is using this CHS class as a training ground.

    “I’m a first year journalism student, and I’m considering getting a journalism degree. I’d actually like to go into sports journalism, in either film or print. I’m actually considering going to the University of Texas because it has one of the best sports journalism departments in the state. I’d like to start out in a market about the size of Waco or Temple, but I’ll go where the job takes me, of course.”

    From what everyone told me, Jeffery Abbey is the complainer and another first year student, and yet, he plans to be back in this class next year.

    “I don’t particularly like writing so I came into this class hoping to get better at it, and it is actually fun to write about things going on in the school,” and that was as much as I could get out of him, very unlike his two eldest brothers that I taught long ago, I might add!

    “One of our biggest problems,” Mrs. Ingram inserted, “is that we share a camera with the annual staff since we do not have our own. That means that we don’t always have the photos we need when we need them.”

    “I had a journalism class in Austin when I was a freshman so I kind of knew the basics,” Connor Allen told me, “but this year is my first year to actually get to write articles. I especially like sports articles, but not really feature stories,” he confided.

    “I decided to take journalism because I needed an extra class,” Rachel Lilley broke in. “Plus, I love English and want to teach English, but I also want to write. I knew that journalism would help with all of that. I love this class. I haven’t always been very successful at times because I’m a procrastinator, but it has been a great class for me!”

    I didn’t really visit with Joe Gilligan this time because we brought you his story last week. Joe, of course, qualified for state competition in editorial writing, but when I arrived this week, Joe was out in the bloodmobile, donating blood. Kids will do anything to get out of class, you know!  :)

    Kaitlyn Hickman also gave blood, but her experience was a little different, landing her in the local ER after she feinted from the whole experience!

    Sophomore Caden Jones was in the bloodmobile as well, but he did track me down to tell me that he will be back next year, writing away.

    Unfortunately, Lisa Rocha was absent on this day so I was unable to visit with her, but I must admit that I walked away totally impressed with what is happening in this one corner of Comanche High School. Great job!

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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