- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
Student Voice: The Grandview Chronicle receives national recognition for website
Story by: Katie Fisher, senior at Grandview High School
Grandview High School’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, attended its first Journalism Education Association National Convention in San Francisco this April and returned with an NSPA’s Best of Show Award in tow: an honor that ranked their website as the 5th best in the nation.
While the plaque physically represents the countless hours of dedication and work The Chronicle’s staff has put into their publication, it cannot begin to exemplify the shining culture which helps to foster the curiosity of its staff. A culture I have had the pleasure of experiencing over the last three years of my life.
Oh, yeah. Hi, I’m Katie Fisher, a current Grandview senior, and Editor-In-Chief of The Chronicle.
The culture of U120, or the Publication Room (Pub room) as we refer to it, is intoxicating, and has a pull on you from the first moment you pass through the door. Its pull is real, as it was for me, and other members of Staff.
“We have a thriving culture. A culture that you would not find in any other classroom really,” Senior Editor, Will Brent Inzana, said. “It has the mentality of a club, but the feeling of a family.”
And what a family it is. Composed of 31 writers spread across our five departments of Features, Opinions, Sports, Social Media, and Marketing. An environment seeping in collaboration, where I am always amazed at the willingness of our entire staff to raise a helping hand for their fellow Staffer.
“[It is] a think tank of people that can say do this, change this, move this word,” Photo Galleries Manager, Bradley Powell, said.
While writing is where the majority of our time is spent, we always save a little for the occasional teambuilder. Whether it's playing Jeopardy or having pancake breakfasts during finals week, it is the little things that set our culture apart from any other environment within Grandview’s walls.
And it is this community and the trust and tightness of our Staff that works to build the other two main qualities I have seen bloom in my staff this year: Curiosity and Compassion. Both of which stem from the organization of our staff itself.
“We are a fully student-run publication,” has been my tagline for the publication these past three years. Our students determine what they want to cover and who they interview, The Editors also fully set deadlines, offer commentary and suggestions on all pieces, manage our website, and even grade stories. All of which has contributed towards a comfortability our staff feels to both push themselves and their abilities.
“By having it be student-led, students are comfortable talking about things they would probably be more [reserved] talking about if it was teacher-led,” Opinions Writer Jada Cousin said.
Our fantastic advisor, Matthew Varca, mirrored this message.
“When you give kids the freedom to do stuff, they do really cool things,” he said. “If I ran this class like I did my English classes, we wouldn’t have the relationships that we have, the stories that we have.”
I have full trust and confidence in every member of Staff, which has a positive impact on the subjects students are willing to tackle in their stories, even if it might be a little daunting at first.
“The Chronicle has taught me, especially about bravery,” Features Manager Karisma Flowers said. “Coming into the newspaper I was not a very social person, but [now] I am more comfortable having hard conversations with someone and asking them difficult questions.”
Features Writer sophomore Maanya Jain repeated a similar testimony.
“The Chronicle has helped me to broaden my horizons, and it has honestly been a lot easier to talk to people,” she explained. “Before I would have full-on panic attacks when I had to talk to someone, [but] now it is really easy.”
Other staff members have also recounted the deeper connection they have formed with their school community after joining Staff.
“If there is something going on in the school, I spend more time analyzing and questioning why it is, and what would change. [The] who, [the] where,” Powell said.
There are several phrases those on The Chronicle staff also live by, mostly coined by Mr. Varca, with a few notable ones being the infamous, “be politely aggressive,” or “don’t take no for an answer.” These phrases are implemented into our curriculum from day one, which works to instill an early sense of independence within all Staff members.
“You can’t be scared and do this class,” Mr. Varca said. “I think if you’re scared, you can’t learn about the world, and you can’t learn about people.”
It has been a pleasure to watch the growth that has occurred in every member of The Chronicle’s staff this year. From the joy of freshmen seeing their work published online, to the senior writer pushing their writing to address issues within the school community, and even moments in between.
I could not be more proud of this staff and their dedication to our publication. Your collaborative work earned this award, and I am so, so proud of each and every one of you.
But more than anything, I am proud of the community that we represent. The curiosity and compassion that our little Pub Room and the people inside it instill within each person that crosses the threshold.
The Three Cs of The Chronicle.
Community. Compassion. Curiosity.