Why our high school needs journalism


Senior Flyer Editors Edona Banulla, Gabe Berlean, Rebecca Ball and Kaylee Anstaett.

By Editors

Being a lifelong learner, a global citizen, a critical thinker, a thoughtful communicator and an engaged collaborator are what Kettering City Schools placed in their most recent strategic plan as a “Portrait of a Graduate.”

Kettering administration’s vision and roles that they wish for all students to take on are precisely what The Flyer and being a high school journalist are all about.

Social skills to interview the sources for their stories, improved prose style through constant writing, refined English grammar skills during editing and rewriting, photography techniques and styles, how to meet deadlines and budget time, managerial skills to operate a website and handle money and how to collaborate with others, young and old, to reach a common goal.

The skills learned in a publication room go far beyond a basic high school curriculum. What we learn in this small on-the-job class is incredibly special and much more impactful than a period of 30 students sitting in a straight line of desks, many of whom are disengaged, while a teacher lectures from a power point. Not all classes are like that, but you get the point.

This idea that all classrooms have to be the same, that all classes must have 30 students packed to the brim in order to be ‘successful’ is a bunch of hooey.  When did we become more worried about what things look like from the outside and less about what is happening on the inside?

One of the greatest things about Fairmont is that we have something to offer for everyone. We love this about Fairmont. So if we have qualified staff, interested students and a supportive community, why not support small classes? Or at least be consistent with what is acceptable and what is not. 

Being a high school journalist SHOULD be a different style class, and the role of the adviser is incomparable to teachers of core courses. Our adviser, Lacy Drake knows us as people, not just as students who sit in her desks.

From quiet freshmen, afraid to speak to adults or engage in conversations about tough topics, to a team of outgoing young adults willing to reach, stretch, and delve into the unknown in order to report the truth and inform, our newspaper staff has been a life-changing experience for us all.

Aside from the rigor and daily grind, the intangibles of blossoming new friendships and the formation of a family are what young people need and yearn for more than anything. Fairmont is the sixth largest school in Ohio, so why take away the environments and opportunities for close-knit interaction and small class size?

Students in a building this large deserve to have a newspaper to be able to keep up with everything that is going on in our school, community and world.

Without The Flyer, we would not be friends. Our roles as high school journalists not only brought us together, but will keep us forever intertwined as we begin our next chapters.

As we go off to college, we are ready and prepared to engage with complete strangers and initiate conversations, meet deadlines and of course, write exceptional papers and conduct research across all content and curriculum … because we took this class.

We have been members of this class for three years and we have all held editor positions … and  according to numerous alumni as well, we are college and career ready because of The Flyer.

We have been able to give timely answers to Firebird Nation about how decisions and changes will impact our community. You can read something from prestigious newspapers but in many cases, the issues do not affect them. We are student journalists, we know how certain decisions in our school will affect our future.

While it seems the decision has been made, couldn’t we have done a little more critical thinking, a little more problem solving, a little more communicating, and a lot more using of the resources we are so blessed with in this community to show some fight and grit for our award-winning publication?

So before looking only at numbers, please look at the kids. Look at the alumni. Look at the impact. Look at the disservice this is to past and present students and advisers. Whether an apple or an orange, shouldn’t both portraits matter?


Ever Faithful,

Rebecca Ball, Gabe Berlean, Edona Banulla, Kaylee Anstaett