Exciting news at BEA High School
Sometimes something happens that just plain warms my heart and makes me feel pretty good. That probably happens to most folks once in a while
One of those heart-warming things for me has been happening the past few weeks. I have been making some trips up to Blue Earth Area High School to watch something exciting happen.
OK, exciting to me anyway. And I will admit right now that I might be a little biased on the subject. Or maybe even a lot biased.
What happened was that I got to watch the birth of a newspaper. Maybe that is not a big deal to some folks but as someone involved in the newspaper business for nigh on to 50 years, it is a big deal to me.
I have been involved in creating a newspaper every week for almost as long as I can remember. However, a couple of times in my life I was involved in creating a brand new newspaper.
One of my first experiences with any newspaper was at my high school in Aurora, Colorado. There was an “official” school newspaper which was actually pretty good, as it looked like a regular newspaper.
However, some friends and I started our own little newspaper, which was run off on a mimeograph machine. We covered the ‘news’ which was not in the regular school paper.
Another time, a number of years ago, a business partner of mine and I started a newspaper from scratch in a small town in Texas. It would take me too long to explain how exactly that came about, but suffice it to say we found a town that seemed like it could have a successful newspaper, so we started one there.
I could not believe how good it felt when the folks in town thanked us over and over again for starting the newspaper.
But, I digress
As you can read about on page 2 of this week’s edition of the Faribault County Register, a group of BEA students took it upon themselves to create a school newspaper at their high school. They did it with a little help from a BEA teacher, Janelle Jacobsen.
In this age when there is a lot of gloom and doom floating around the newspaper industry, and newspapers across the country are struggling and some are folding, it is sure fun to be present to watch the birth of a newspaper.
I’m thankful to Mrs. Jacobsen for inviting me to come and watch it happen. Oh, she was actually inviting me to come and help give some guidance to this group of students, but the truth is, they hardly needed any help. This group of students was extremely self-motivated and knew what they wanted to do.
I was a little surprised to learn they did not just want to create a digital version of a newspaper published on the school website, perhaps. Oh no, they wanted to create a printed newspaper on paper.
Wow did that ever warm my heart and bring a smile to my face. Of course, no one saw my smile because I wore a mask the whole time, but still, the grin was there.
The idea for a club came about when superintendent Mandy Fletcher encouraged the staff to come up with some things the students could do during lunch hour times. Mrs. Jacobsen says she had been concerned about the state of journalism in the country, and she knew there were many talented and capable students at BEA. So, she put together the idea of a Journalism Club.
She wanted to put before them the opportunity to consider a school newspaper, or at least dabble in journalism.
They did more than just dabble. They became determined to create a newspaper. She became impressed with the motivation and determination of these students to put together this first edition of The Buccaneer in whatever spare time they could find.
And, since these students are in advanced classes and involved in many extracurricular activities – and many of them have jobs as well – their time is pretty valuable.And yet, they were willing to put in the time necessary and create a newspaper.
I was impressed with that, too. As someone who has published a newspaper nearly every week for just shy of 50 years, I know it is not an easy task. So, I give out one of my infamous Cheers to this group of students who took it upon themselves, with a little help from one of their teachers, to prove journalism and newspapers are still alive and kicking.
Mrs. Jacobsen says the intent for the future is to keep the Journalism Club, and the newly created newspaper, presently called The Buccaneer, as much student led as possible. She says they had some great senior editors in McKenna Dutton and Alandra Eisenmenger, but there are some impressive underclassmen ready to take the helm as the vision for this club continues this fall.
And that warms my heart.
I wish them well.