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Through thick and thin

The Warrior Word will remain

May 16, 2017

   From beginning to end, Journalism has been with Wasilla High school almost every step of the way. WHS’s newspaper has gone through many advisers, however, none of them quite like English teacher Emily Forstner.

   “I feel like Wasilla’s Journalism class, the students involved, go above and beyond to create something that is remembered, something memorable, and they work hard together to create it. They take pride in it; it’s meaningful to them, and that’s what makes it so great,” student teaching intern Barbara May observed.

   But, Forstner, though the most recent, is not the first Journalism teacher at Wasilla High. The first ever recorded Journalism teacher, and adviser was George Harbeson in 1975. Journalism has had many advisers, including librarian Shelly Logsdon, Paula Wright, and Katie Broeder. Wasilla High’s Journalism has continued to build on the grounds of what once was humble beginnings 41 years later.

   Forstner is officially handing off the baton of the Warrior Word to the digital media instructor John Notestine. His hands will be full with not only teaching English, Digital Communications, Audio/Visual, but AP Computer Science (CS50), robotics, and Journalism starting the school year of 2017-2018. Notestine has handled yearbook production in the past, but this will be his first go around with journalism.

   Under Notestine, Warrior Journalism will shift more to broadcast media, but he stresses that excellent reporting is necessary for good commentary within the documentaries Journalism will be producing next year.  

The Mat-Su Gazette, a districtwide collaborative project with the Frontiersman, will continue as a joint effort release with as many high schools as possible participating. The Gazette is a 16-page print newspaper as an insert in the Frontiersman for four issues throughout the school year.

In response to the new route Journalism will take, junior Timothy Raska said, “Personally, it’s good for me because I run the website and it’s going to be much easier. But I feel like with the way Journalism’s shifting we’re going to lose a lot of people who wanted to take the class.”

So far, Raska’s worry is unfounded. Counselor Beth Smart said 23 students have signed up thus far, and more could as next year begins.

With only the Gazette going to print next school year, Wasilla’s journalism’s expense will lower. One issue of the Warrior Word cost approximately $260. Journalism has previously supported the print Word newspaper by selling ads, but with journalism shifting to broadcast media, students won’t be obligated to sell as many ads. Instead, students and Notestine are working to sell media packages to businesses that include space in the Gazette, exposure on the Daily News broadcasts and the live stream sporting events.

“I think Mrs. Forstner is going to be missed, but hopefully her hand will be involved with journalism, and Notestine’s going to be able to add his expertise to this program, and so I think it’s a win-win for everyone,” said assistant Mr. Nelles.

Senior journalism II student Kayla Schierholt, on the other hand believes, “Technology is changing, and everything is becoming more digital, and I feel as time progresses, newspapers are going to die out. Wasilla High is getting with the time, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. No, the future is here.”

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