Last spring, Fairmont High School was forced to cut their award-winning student publication, The Flyer. The Flyer once operated as a monthly print publication, then later turned into an online newspaper.
Low enrollment was the main reason for administration cutting the course. The website (www.fairmontflyer.com) is still viewable but was placed on hiatus by adviser Lacy Drake. Essentially the site is frozen.
“I didn’t want to delete the site and lose all of our work,” Drake said. “I was able to freeze the site for now, with hopes of unfreezing it later.”
The Flyer has always been offered as a year-long course to all grades 9th-12th. Applications were needed to be accepted into the class, and upon passing, students would receive an English elective credit.
Former Flyer Editor Kaylee Anstaett is now a freshman at Muskingum College and is thankful for what the Flyer taught her.
“Now that I am in college, I have noticed how much Flyer has helped my writing skills,” Anstaett said.
Anstaett noted that the Flyer wasn’t a typical class. It was student-led and gave kids the opportunity to take a course that interested them, not just things that were mandatory for graduation.
“We offer so many classes and programs, that scheduling for our students is challenging,” Drake said. “Other than core classes, trying to fit another year-long course on their plate was tough.”
Fairmont also offers a semester-long journalism course. 20-30 students sign up and are placed in journalism each semester. Drake also teaches this course, noting that the same skills and content are covered in both journalism and The Flyer.
“I never have issues with enrollment in journalism, so I got to thinking that we could maybe combine the two and have the best of both worlds,” Drake said.
Former Editor-in-Chief Dalton Smith was on the Flyer staff for four years.
“My writing was well-prepared for college courses and any type of writing task I have needed in my jobs now,” Smith said. “This has gained the attention of my boss.”
In a world where face-to-face interactions are becoming less common, Smith noted that his ability to talk with others and obtain information is something that many young people lack. The Flyer taught him these skills both in the classroom and when interviewing sources out in the field.
“The newspaper gave students a voice,” Smith said. “I am lucky to have attended Fairmont when The Flyer was around.”
Starting this spring (during scheduling week), students will be able to sign up for a semester-long journalism course that will also include The Flyer publication for next school year. This course will also offer guest speakers from the career field and a field trip to Cox Media Group in Dayton.
“We will have our website up and running and we will operate just like a student publication,” Drake said.
Drake will certainly have to tweak a few things to make The Flyer work as a semester course, but it is doable. Journalism students will not have to raise money or sell ads, and there will be no application process to take the course. Anyone can sign up.
“My journalism students will now get an even closer look at the career field and how to operate a publication,” Drake said. “The assignments and stories we do in journalism will now be published online, on social media, and submitted to our annual journalism conference for awards.”
Starting this week, Drake will pilot her semester course with her 2nd-semester journalism students.
“This will give me a chance to see how I want to structure the course next fall,” she said. “Mr. Alexander has been very supportive of this change and helped make it happen.”
Students in all grades can sign up for journalism during scheduling week. If the course is passed, students will receive a ½ credit of elective English.
Students who take the course and pass can also continue to submit stories and photos to Drake to publish on the site, even after their semester course is over. The idea of an after school club for journalism students has also been talked about.
“Change can be a good thing and I think bringing The Flyer back this way is going to be great,” Drake said.
Be sure to check out www.fairmontflyer.com starting in 2020 for new stories and photos.
Scheduling week is in February, so be sure to sign up for Journalism for next school year.