For the second year in a row, the journalism class at Zachary High School and the Zachary Plainsman-News have entered into a cooperative endeavor in an effort to promote journalism and newspapers in education.
The initiative gives the young writers a chance to have their work published outside of the school's popular newspaper, Hoofprints.
"The students enjoy the exposure, and I want them to receive some feedback from someone other than me. Plus, it gives them good practice with their writing skills," said David Murray, ZHS journalism teacher.
The student writers will submit articles, via Murray, to the Plainsman and some will then be chosen to publish in future editions.
Murray says the articles will receive points, which will ultimately go toward a grade.
For the first assignment, the all-girl class, was not limited to a specific subject or topic and could write about anything they chose.
Murray says future articles will most likely have more of a directive and some may even be hard news stories.
The project began two years ago when Murray and Plainsman editor Stacy Gill discussed doing something together. They both agreed that showcasing the young writers' work would be a great way to promote journalism and newspapers in education.
*Two of the students' work is published below.*
The Career Challenge
by Kirsten Mixon
Although the Journey to College and Career program has been present at Zachary High for a few years, counselors and administrators have only been stern about modifying the schedules of the current freshmen and sophomores to fit the particular standards. The program is designed to provide a set path for students to follow throughout high school with the most effective preparation for their future careers by outlining field-specific classes that will contribute to later success.
As high school counselors gradually initiate the JTCC plan, students will be able receive more information and focus their learning on the career they wish to pursue. For example, if a student were interested in becoming a veterinarian, they could begin a class pathway in which his or her electives would focus on animals and medicine—a few classes that fit this category at ZHS are the Agriscience courses, Medical Terminology and the Z-Med program.
The initial idea for the JTCC program was to get adolescents to view their future as a career, rather than just a job. With this mind set, students are expected to aim for higher postsecondary goals and choose a pathway to follow in a career field that relates to their interests. This program also urges students to experience more job-related circumstances during high school and discover what they would be interested in doing with their life. Honing in on certain activities not only aids in the student’s scholarship opportunities, but also gives the student more experience to decide if they are truly dedicated and passionate about their determined pathway.
Currently, the seniors and juniors at Zachary High are following a rougher version of the JTCC program and are able to take classes that relate to their preferred field. However, the underclassmen are able to focus better on the new form of scheduling because they have more years of high school to undergo. Although there are many underclassmen that enjoy the JTCC program, they are usually the ones who have decided on a future career. The dilemma lies with the students who have not yet determined what they wish to do after they graduate. Yara Hantash, one of these adolescents, believes ZHS students should not have to choose a pathway because it is “forcing you to choose too early”, and she has seen many students change their prospective fields throughout high school.
For now, ZHS counselors are trying to accommodate the students who have chosen a pathway to guide them to success, while simultaneously struggling with the students who are undecided. Although they would like to have every student participate in the JTCC program, they may have to settle with certain students switching pathways each year as their interests change.
Opinions of a younger generation
by Kelsey Olsen
Every minute of every day, the government borrows over two million dollars, which constantly adds to the already overwhelming national debt. A lot of people do not stop to realize that the decisions being made are probably not going to affect most of the people that make them; they will more likely have a substantial impact on today’s young people.
We, as teenagers, will inherit the national debt even though we have not contributed to it.
Typically, adolescents’ opinions concerning politics and other “adult” matters are dismissed because we are “too young to know what we are talking about.” While we may be young, the decisions being made in the capitol, among other places, will have a huge impact on us when we are older; unfortunately we do not have any say in the decisions that will affect us in the near future. Although some teenagers do not pay attention to these matters, the same can be said for a number of adults around the country.
Our thoughts and ideas are often viewed as inconsequential because of lack of experience and maturity. While this may be true in some cases, there are the occasional few that defy this stereotype.
In certain scenarios, minors may be better disposed to deal with a situation than the adults involved. For instance, decisions being made about the school systems would benefit from opinions of the children involved more than the adults because we experience it first hand every day. This is not to imply that the voting age should be changed; but the nation would benefit from paying attention to the opinions of its younger generation.
We have a perspective on issues in our country and around the world that cannot be obtained from any other point of view.