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  • Writer's pictureCollinsville Newspaper

End of year wrap up: Leaving a legacy

From Panther Press Faculty Sponsor Pamela Gifford

What a school year!

We began this school year with uncertainty. Covid was still running rampant, and we never knew from one day to the next who would be quarantined. For many teachers, this year was even more stressful than the last. And our students are still grappling with how out of sorts everything has been for two years which has affected how we teach as well. So I never would've thought that by the end of this school year I would be sponsoring a school newspaper.

Don’t get me wrong, given my background in journalism, it’s always been a goal of mine. But every time I’d think about it, I’d come to the inevitable conclusion that I just wouldn’t have the time. A school paper is a lot of work, and some days I’m stretched to the limit as it is.

But when Alora Ford and Hannah Duke, two seniors with a vision, came to me around October of 2021 and asked about starting a school newspaper, the desire to do what I could for them grew to the point that I couldn’t imagine saying no.

Left to right: Hannah Duke and Alora Ford

I first met Alora and Hannah when they submitted literary pieces to our annual literature competition years ago. Since then, I’ve had both in various classes and have enjoyed teaching them how to steady and expand their writing. It helped that they both had a pretty extraordinary talent for it, to say the least.

Now that the Class of 2022 has graduated, these two seniors leave behind a legacy of co-founding Collinsville High School’s first digital news platform, a platform which has grown rapidly in readership since the first content post published last March. Imagine my surprise when more than 30 of their fellow students joined the Panther Press staff, excited about contributing.

And we have so much in store for the next school year. We are adding advertising and business departments to help teach students about management, graphic design, business finance, and more.

What Alora and Hannah began, I am happy to continue with future classes of students. Their names will always be associated with The Panther Press. Their legacy gives future students the chance for practical learning along with added scholarship opportunities.

Thank you for the work you’ve done, ladies. Best wishes for your futures!

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