Our High School Newspaper Has Shaped Me

Phillip Downes, Staff Writer

Although high school-run newspapers may be viewed as insignificant and a “dying club”, I believe they have profound impacts on the student body and on the school as a whole. These newspapers foster students’ passions for reporting and sharing the stories of what they find interesting, no matter how far-out those topics may be. Not every student has to read the paper, nor does every student need to report for it. Newspaper clubs offer opportunities for growth and activities for our students, and that is why we must fight to keep them alive in our high schools.
Here at Division Avenue High School we have a biannual newsletter called Dragon Tales, and I have been reporting for this newspaper since freshman year. I remember my interest in getting my own work and name in print. There was so much I wanted to write about, from the homecoming football parade and game, to our musical that year (Guys and Dolls), to the varsity lacrosse teams, to virtually anything I wanted to report on. I loved the idea of sharing stories- other peoples’ stories. That was the year I started to consider journalism as a career.
Through my 4 years at DAHS writing for Dragon Tales I have written editorials, sports articles and events articles, with multiples of each. I really kicked off my career when I wrote the first full double-paged article for the 2016 Homecoming Parade and Football Game. I remember talking to Mr. Verdi about how this was a big undertaking as a reporter. I needed quotes from key figures and I had to pay close attention to everything happening. I saw this as a challenge that I wanted to conquer, so I pursued this interest with all of my passions for writing and reporting. I felt proud of myself when I saw this article in that edition of the newspaper. Dragon Tales gave me the opportunity to discover my future career and I am grateful for that.
You don’t necessarily have to be the reporter to reap the benefits of school newspapers. It is always a great feeling when you see your name in an article, or when you see yourself and friends in a picture in the paper. You might have been a part of a big school event and you might want to see a recap of it to enjoy those moments you shared here at Division Avenue with your friends, classmates, teachers, and community members.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the majority of our students either don’t take a copy of the paper or they do so as a courtesy, flip through a page or two, and then toss it in the recycling bin. It’s understandable, you might do more than your preferred share of reading in your English classes and you might not be interested in any of the articles. But that is no reason to disregard the value of Dragon Tales and school-run newsletters in general. I have seen first-hand the power our newspaper has to influence the career of a student. I have seen my peers smile with each other as they sift through the one or two articles with their name or face in them. If this truly is the last official edition of Dragon Tales, I want to thank Mr. Verdi for his commitment to this club, my fellow reporters and editors- past and present- for their contributions to our program, and to you- as the readers- for supporting this newsletter in any capacity. Before I graduate, I would like to say that I am thankful for the privilege of reporting for this school. It has been a journey and I am proud of every one of my steps along the way.