During my senior year of high school, I was a writer for our school newspaper, The Franklin Post. I held onto a few issues after graduating, and lost track of them in one box or another for years and years; I just recently found them again. Below are scans and some notes of the entirety of the April 28th, 1997 issue, along with some clippings from a few other issues.
The Post was produced entirely in-school, by students, up to the point of actual printing; we had a faculty advisor, Helen Wittke, who ran editorial meetings and kept us more or less in check, but as far as I can remember the student staff was in charge of running pretty much the whole show in terms of writing, photography, editing and layout. We had a collection of Macs for workstations, did graphic design and layout work with some desktop publishing suite or another, and physically pasted finished columns and photos together onto large boards for delivery to the printers. The paper was generally eight or twelve pages, eleven by seventeen inch pages black-and-white on newsprint (with the occasional highlight color for some pages/issues; I remember red for the holiday issue, for example).
I don’t remember exactly how I got involved that year; I think I had to work/beg/promise my way around a pre-requisite course I hadn’t taken the previous year and wouldn’t have time for since this was my senior year. I didn’t have any news or journalism experience, but I was an enthusiastic writer and had taken a black-and-white photography class the previous year, so at least I was coming to it with more than just the sort of “maybe I should try that” idle curiosity that got me into a couple disastrous seasons of school sports earlier in my childhood.
And it was a great time, it turned out. If I think about it I’m sure I can dredge up some memory or other of any of my classes from senior year, or high school in general, but Journalism just leaps back to me especially vividly. I’d done some self-guided courses in previous years, for programming credits where the school lacked the enrollment or curriculum to justify a proper classroom experience, but those were more like private study periods than anything; working on the paper was very different, this strange freeform thing, a lumbering collaborative project that we all had to get done together, kicking around at big tables and workstations in a room that really felt like a workshop.
Plus we got away with a whole lot of hanging out and bullshitting. And I was really finally finding my bullshitting legs at that point in my life, after being pretty introverted and socially isolated for a lot of years. I loved it. I was probably a terrible pain in the ass a lot of the time; I remember a few specific situations where I’m certain I was, and that’s just the stuff I had the self-awareness at the time to remember and the sense in retrospect to regret.
Our staff: Misty Redmon, Colleen Coombes, Tobias Green, Bryan Hunt, Brock Briones, Savanna Walls, Nathan Saunders, Beth Coleman, Carrie Brummer, Joy Geren, Jimmy Ho, Derek Moore, Kathleen Peterson, April Rautio, Abbie Vaught, Cydny Winslow, Nick Wolchesky, Willie Schmaltz, and me.
Tobias was always “Toby” to me and might be again at this point; I can’t remember if he really went formal with it in person or just liked how it looked on the byline there. Bryan was sometimes “Mike” because we were terrible people but I’m pretty sure Savanna started it. And Willie was at that point I think already on his way to preferring “Wilder”, which in his defense is a way better name, though my family still calls him Willie because whatever your name was back in middle school pretty much sticks with them forever.
I don’t remember being the Opinion Editor, and in fact checking the staff box for the issue below (the box above is from a different issue) I’m listed there as Sports Editor, which I also don’t remember being. We must have been assigned or argued for monthly editorial assignments? Forgotten detail.
Franklin Post – Monday, April 28th, 1997
Important note, you can click on an image below to get a much higher-res view for readability’s sake.
- Franklin celebrates May Fete for 75 years, April Rautio.
- Franklin wins award two years running, Savanna Walls.
- FHS Mock Trial team’s first appearance at state, Bryan Hunt.
I should apologize for the sometimes dodgy scans here; these were grabbed on a little consumer printer/scannier/copy in a hurry, so margins are a bit tight and a bit sloppy in places, and (as in the break in the center of this page) text occasionally got cut out by bad placement of edges.