This is Wahawk Insider: An Inside Look into Our Publication

Ali Parkhurst

Ali Parkhurst, Reporter

Wahawk Insider is one of the newest additions to the English department at West High. Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, students came together to create a publication that informs, entertains, and brings West together as a community.

From writing articles to creating videos and podcasts, Wahawk Insider is an impactful outlet for these ten students to create and share their work.

Before the Insider, West High had a newspaper called The Spectator. Among the staff was our very own superintendent, Dr. Jared Smith. Smith himself said that if it was not for the creativity that The Spectator allowed him to use, he would not have published his own book, “The Learning Curve.” Publishing student work is a West High tradition that dates back well into the early 1900s.

This Is: Our Staff

Ali Parkhurst

Wahawk Insider is held together by ten students and is led by one adviser, Nicole Goodman. On top of managing ten creative students, Goodman also advises the yearbook class. These classes easily melt together, promoting each other on social media, and even sharing links, such as promoting yearbook sales, as the link is under the “YEARBOOK” tab. Goodman takes on the role of reading every article, offering feedback before publishing, keeping us on track, and is doing an amazing job at it.

Ali Parkhurst

Tyler Hall, a Junior reporter for the Insider, has grown a liking to creating feature articles. In November, Hall had the opportunity to interview Dan Gable, an Olympic Gold mentalist who wrestled at West High when he attended. “I have family that are super into wrestling so when I told them I got to interview Dan Gable, they were all very excited,” he said.

Hall has reached outside of his comfort zone this semester to interview and get to know a wide variety of people inside and outside of West High. This included Brianna Williams and staff members of the week such as Mr. Dabney, Mr. Barnett and Mr. McNally.

Hall recently has written two opinion pieces on FM systems and sign language classes within West High, a personal opinion that impacts Hall and his younger sister. Hall reflected on this semester by saying he spends roughly five to ten hours a week writing articles. This excludes the drafting, photographing, and interviewing he puts into every article.

Hall had his article, “Accommodations for All: FM Systems and Subtitles” published to Best of SNO, which showcases the best student journalism from SNO members. Hall’s accomplishment is the first article from the Insider to be published by Best of SNO, earning Wahawk Insider the Best of SNO badge.

This Is: The Bell Ceremony

The bell ceremony was adopted into the staff’s daily routine in late October. This ceremony is a brief celebration anytime one of the staff members has an article published to our website. In a brief moment, they are able to bring attention to their success and receive cheers from their classmates.

The idea originally came from Goodman, who had hopes for installing the bell to create a more comfortable and encouraging environment in her classroom.

Ali Parkhurst

“Each ring of the bell shows all the things we’ve accomplished,” says Kaitlin Stanford, a senior reporter for the Insider.

The bell ceremony uplifts each reporter and brings up the classroom environment. Working together to congratulate one another makes us all feel like a big family. It reminds us that every accomplishment is important and valued to better the program. Being a part of the first online newspaper can be scary with so much pressure to do good, small reminders like the bell help boost our confidence in what we do, and these things are always appreciated

This Is: Monday Meetings

Alongside fun activities like the bell ringing ceremonies, the Insider staff have weekly meetings that we call ‘Monday Meetings’. Each Monday (or first day of the school week), the Insider staff come together to plan out the week ahead. We discuss the events coming up as well as assign who will cover them, either in photographing, writing, or both. We also discuss additional article ideas and make sure everyone is assigned to at least one article a week. Monday meetings never feel like instructional time for the staff, as they are a comfortable time where we can all talk and collaborate to better our program.

Ali Parkhurst

We share ideas with one another during these meetings, which makes the class easier. When we bounce topics of each other and go back and forth with different ways to approach the events of the week, it makes each article feel more collaborative.

Sometimes when we choose to write about an event, we can’t always make it to photograph, but most of the time, someone else in the class is willing to help out.

We all have strong skills within Online Publications, but there are areas in which we each excel as individuals. Being able to notice the strengths we have helps us divide article assignments each week.

Just how Hall and I prefer feature articles, Cavelle Fay and Emma Beckamn like to write about sports, and Karma Goodson loves to use Wahawk Insider to share her opinions on certain topics. We each have specialties that make us enjoy writing even more.

This Is: Home

Ali Parkhurst

If Wahawk Insider is anything, it’s a family. We have created a home-like space within room 309 where we are all comfortable with each other. Some days we are laying across the desks talking to each other, other days we are sharing food and making jokes. Outside of the hard work we put into writing articles, we also get to have a fun and creative group of people to work with. When asked what word describes this class, so many things came to mind.

For me, Online Publications is empowering. Being able to create and publish my work for other people to read is so rewarding as it gives me the confidence to continue to write.

For other students like Lydia Parkhurst, Wahawk Insider is creative. “You get to write articles about topics you like and create videos. There are many options of what you can do,” she said. She has taken up a liking in writing sports and feature articles this semester and got to write an article about women’s wrestling becoming a sanctioned sport in Iowa. Parkhurst has also written two of the Staff Member of the Week articles which featured Mr. Fischer and Mrs. Taylor.

This Is: Our Playlist 

As a staff, we compiled all of the songs that get us going while we write. With a wide range of music tastes, the playlist covers almost every emotion. Music has bonded us together as a team as it is something we can all share. Music is either always playing in the background or streaming through our airpods.

This Is: Goodbye

As the first semester comes to an end, we say a sad goodbye to three of our senior reporters. Kaitlin Stanford, Cavelle Fay and Cassie Graff are all leaving the class at the start of second semester. The three have been a big part in the first online newspaper at West High and none of us are looking forward to continuing without them. Each staff member brings important skills to the table and plays a large part in running the program.

Although we are losing three of our reporters, a new semester allows us to welcome new members to join us as well.