New Beginnings! An End of the Year Wrap Up
by Aliscia Phillips, Editor in Chief
MAY 2021 – As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, so does my time as editor and chief of The Hive. Our other senior staff members will also be leaving as they graduate and move on to their post-high school lives. This year, as a staff, we wrote and published 32 articles which garnered a total of 2,574 views on our webpage, a 300% increase compared to last year. We also raised a little over $300 from our Saint Patrick’s Day Fundraiser which will be put towards our WordPress subscription, an Ohio Scholastic Media Association membership, and potentially creating printed copies of some of our issues.
The Hive began only a year ago, yet so much progress has already been made since then. “The first year of Newspaper (2019-2020) was definitely a growth year, and there were a lot of growing pains associated with it as we created and then tweaked our process. This year, however, we have found an efficient process that seems to work for everyone even with more than half our staff being online. It all works mainly because the staff has been so great this year. Our newspaper editor and reporters work pretty independently, so it’s important that they have the discipline, organization, and passion to do that, and this staff certainly does! I’m really proud of how far they’ve come since the beginning of the year; they’ve been wonderful to work with, and I’ll definitely miss the seniors,” said newspaper advisor, Ms. Bates.
The staff has worked very hard this year, releasing an issue for almost every month and covering a range of sophisticated topics as well as some silly ones too.
Ms. Bates explained, “Today, more than ever, student journalism is essential. It’s important that students — those on staff as well as those reading our publication — understand the purpose of the legitimate press. Good reporting is accurate, factual, and trustworthy, and these students are learning not only journalistic style but also the ethics associated with reporting.”
Each one of our staff members has been able to take away valuable lessons from Newspaper, despite it being the reporters’ first year.
Havann Brown was especially proud of her progress and her work. She explained, “Coming in, I did not know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by how fun it is to be a member of the staff. I was able to improve both my writing and interviewing skills while also working on my time management to meet deadlines. I love having the freedom to be able to choose whatever topic I want to report on because I can focus on current events that interest me and issues I am passionate about. This year I covered a wide range of subjects from the Black Lives Matter movement along with the Black student experience at Bio-Med to the debate on raising the minimum wage and I enjoyed every second of it. Knowing that people read your work each month and care what you have to say is an amazing feeling.”
McKenna Burckett specifically loved being a part of our fundraiser: “Being in the newspaper staff is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s allowed me to integrate with the other grades and delve into topics I’m interested in within the school. My writing has improved immensely with all of the practice, and I really enjoyed finding the rhythm of publishing. The most unique experience by far was the Saint Patrick’s Day fundraiser. There were only three of us at school, so we had to create the cards, fill the bags. and sell all by ourselves. It took up the entirety of advisory for about three weeks. Even though it was a lot of work, it was super fun! I liked hearing the younger kids whisper their crushes to us so we could deliver them an anonymous bag. I liked being recognized as “the candy lady” in the hallways. It made me feel like I was contributing to something larger. Plus, the repetitive task of filling bags and writing names felt like a nice break for my brain. I’m excited for next year, as I know there’s going to be a bigger class. That will make me feel less weird about going around looking for interviews. I look forward to helping the underclassmen if they need it and can’t wait for the other collaborative opportunities the newspaper will provide.
Our photographer, Owen Baird, was thankful for the creativity the club inspired. He explained, “Some of the things I enjoyed about the newspaper club was being a part of the process of the creation of the articles. I always enjoyed reading through the articles and learning about the interesting things in the articles. I really enjoyed making cutlines for photos that the author of the article had taken and brainstorming with the author about what images they wanted in their articles.”
Serena Gestring liked connecting with people and also saw improvement within her writing. “I actually really enjoy our staff meetings because I like hearing everyone’s ideas for what to write about and what they are interested in. I also enjoyed writing the article about teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic because I interviewed one of my past teachers, so it was nice to talk to him again; one teacher who has been around for my four years but who I never had, so I got to know her a little better; and one lower academy teacher who I got to meet for the first time, and otherwise probably would not have gotten to know if not for this article. I also enjoyed writing the article because I worked with Kaden Starkey, my best friend, and we always work really well together. It was overall a good experience,” she shared.
Gestring continued, “My journalism skills have definitely improved. I am really good at writing analytical and research essays in my classes, but those styles of writing are different from journalistic writing, so it was a shift. Ms. Bates, the Hive advisor, actually told me that the first draft of my second article read a lot like a research paper, and she gave me tips on how to make it be more of an article. As I wrote more articles I think it became easier to write like that. I have also gotten better at coming up with relevant and intriguing questions to ask people I am interviewing, because previously that was a struggle.” While she enjoyed her experience, Newspaper also allowed her to come to the conclusion that journalism is not the career for her
For Kaden Starkey, the newspaper was a way for him to push the bounds of his comfort zone and become more involved in the community. “I originally joined newspaper because of scheduling logistics, though it wasn’t the sole reason. I always thought that being a part of a school newspaper was something I would enjoy, but my anxiety stops that thought in its tracks. In a way, scheduling issues allowed me to force myself out of my comfort zone to do something I was holding myself back from doing, and for that, I am honestly really grateful,” he explained.
He specifically noted the confidence he’s gained throughout his experience: “Newspaper has allowed me to not worry so much about whether or not what I am writing is good enough or not. Teachers and friends tell me that I am a great writer, but I truly do not see it. I don’t hold any confidence in the things that I write – I feel it is all terrible. When getting monthly feedback from Bates and Aliscia on my articles, I was always beyond shocked that there weren’t more errors or any negative comments. I’ve been trying to let that sink in. I’ve been trying to build some confidence in the things I write.” Starkey was also grateful for the challenge that conducting interviews posed since communication will be an important part of his future career in graphic design.
“I’m actually quite sad that I won’t be able to be a part of the Hive staff for another year. I really didn’t expect that being a part of newspaper would leave a lasting impression on me, but it did. Despite this school year being beyond abnormal, I feel I’ve left with important lessons and experiences,” he concluded.
Moving forward, the newspaper will be expanding from eight members to 17, and grades nine through twelve will be on staff for the first time. Former reporter Havann Brown will become the new editor and chief.
“I am very excited to be editor-in-chief next school year. We will be expanding our staff and making some fun changes so I can’t wait to see how everything comes together. I expect that it will be another great year for The Hive,” she said.
The Hive has been a defining opportunity for this year’s students and will go on to influence countless others, staff members and readers alike. I’m endlessly grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of such a great team and I wish next year’s staff an even better year of reporting.