Spartan Chronicle proves a success story
Shepaug Valley High offers print edition of student newspaper
The Shepaug Valley High School senior has worked this school year to make the paper and its website a local- and world-savvy publication of which her staff can be proud.
Walker assumed the reins in fall 2013. For the previous two years, the paper existed as a digital property.
This year, under Walker's leadership, The Spartan Chronicle has published three editions in print and a fourth is about to debut.
Walker is hesitant to take too much credit for the direction the paper has taken, lauding her staff for the "brainstorming" sessions that she feels make each issue unique.
"We have a good staff. There's a good response rate for articles," Walker said. "A number of members of the staff are taking foreign policy here at Shepaug and that fact informs the world news that the paper carries.
"Jim Hagen is the world news editor, and this year he went to a model United Nations forum."
Chronicle adviser Alicia Robinson said "from the very first meeting this year, I was surprised with the topics the kids brought forward."
The paper's April edition has been selected as an "exemplar" by its publishing house, Make My Newspaper. That issue appears on the publisher's website www.makemynewspaper.com as an excellent example of journalism.
"The kids have done a wonderful job and Alicia has been an outstanding adviser," Shepaug principal Kim Gallo said. "They're creative and the contemporary issues are covered thoroughly and fairly. I couldn't be prouder of them."
This is Robinson's first year as the journalism teacher and as the newspaper's adviser.
She follows in the footsteps of Sylvia Ouellette, who in turn followed Joan Temple in the adviser's position.
Walker has been on staff all four years The Spartan Chronicle has been published, and her strong editorial capabilities reflect those years of hands-on experience.
"I'm really happy with everything we've accomplished," Walker said. "Now I'm moving into a mentoring role, teaching next year's editor as we put together the paper's May issue."
Walker is grooming junior Kristine Klein to take her place. She has confidence she is leaving the paper in good hands.
"I've always been interested in journalistic media," Klein said. "I intern at ESPN magazine on weekends in Bristol where my father works."
Klein already has some plans for the paper in 2014-15. Bringing in advertising dollars to support the publication is a primary goal, she said.
"It was difficult having to put the paper together while struggling with last-minute fundraising," Klein said.
She hopes area businesses will support the school publication with advertising.
Robinson takes a velvet glove approach to advising Walker and her staff.
"By not setting a bar on expected accomplishment for the kids, I find they exceed their own expectations," Robinson said. "They just know I expect quality results. The staff has good technical writing skills so it doesn't take much effort to edit and revise articles."
The Chronicle's adviser sees a bright future for the publication.