WHS’s Wonder Woman: Emily Forstner

A tribute from the Journalism class

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Emily Forstner, the founder of The Warrior Word, has been part of WHS’s staff since 2014 and this year is retiring after her 36 years of teaching. Forestner has a passion for journalism and the freedom of press. With influence from her family, specifically her father, she has pursued journalism, and teaches her passion.

Forstner grew up in Wyoming, and moved to Alaska in 1983. With hobbies such as writing, pottery, and skiing, she has had many jobs such as US Forest Service, research assistant for a university cooperative extension, waitress, and cashier. With journalism in her veins, she has always tried to incorporate journalism in all of her classes.

“I have always attempted some sort of reporting in class,” Forstner said, “newsletters or newspapers in every classroom I have ever had. I have coordinated the School’s Page in the Frontiersman and written Chalk Talk columns since 2005.”

Then at Wasilla Middle School, Forstner got the opportunity to meet some of the future journalists of the Warrior Word, such as WHS Junior Shyanne Massie.

    “Forstner is the type of teacher who cares about students beyond just their grades.” Massie said, “She is the teacher that inspires kids hearts as much as their minds…She really is that teacher that you never want to leave her classroom. She is compassionate and encouraging. She is the warm smile hello and caring educator that pushes students to their highest levels. I am the second generation teenager in my family to have been honored to call her not only my teacher, but mentor and friend.”

When coming to WHS in 2015, Forstner took the big steps to start a school paper. (What goes into starting a school paper) The first year had only – students and published 3 editions. The next year the class grew to – students and they published 6 editions of the paper, and on top of that made the schools page in the Frontiersman, also 4 editions of the Mat-Su gazette. This year there were 7 editions published, 2 gazettes put out, and (check) every schools page filled by WHS journalism all put together by the current Warrior Word staff of – students. With two levels in Journalism, Forstner juggled teaching basics, giving work to the second years, earning money for the paper, and her English I classes. Also, Forestner and John Notestine started to work together when the digital media class came to WHS. Working together on their English I classes and working together to create the Warrior Daily News. Collaborating some journalism students to broadcasting journalism, and so much more.

At the end of the 2016-2017 school year Forstner says goodbye to full-time teaching, but still, is considering keeping the journalism program running next year by working part time at WHS, but what is set is the work she plans to do with Burchell High School. Forstner has made her mark on every student that has walked through her door.

   “Forestner helped me in any way she could.” Former WHS student Eli Ickes said, “She proofread papers for other classes, helped me write resumes and scholarship applications, helped me apply for colleges and decide which one to attend. I wouldn’t have gone without her.”

2016-2017 journalism


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WHS’s Wonder Woman: Emily Forstner