Seniors of The Sidekick continue on in journalism field

Mary Whitfill

Features Editor

As the newspaper wraps up another year of deadlines, ink and breaking news, seniors of The Sidekick look tentatively ahead at what promises to be a bright future. Be it home-state moves or cross country hauls, graduating newspaper staff members are optimistic about the mysteries tomorrow will bring.

The Sidekick focuses on helping students acquire the basic skills of journalism and reporting, but also help to instill lessons that will stick with students for the rest of their lives. The ideas of ethics, morals, open communication, curiosity and honesty are all ones that can be applied to multiple facets of everyday life.

“My three years on staff have taught me a lot about meeting deadlines and the importance of communication,” senior news editor Divya Kumar said. “Also, my last two years as an editor have helped me as far as working with others and helping them to improve.”

Along with Kumar, editor-in-chief Ashleigh Heaton has also spent all four years of her high school experience in room D115. Having both taken journalism their freshman year, Kumar and Heaton have been thrust headfirst into the fast moving journalism field.

“We have made so many changes since my first year on staff,” Kumar said. “We are no longer catering to print, we are consistently putting news on the website [www.coppellstudentmedia.com], we have partnered with KCBY and so much more.”

As editor-in-chief, Heaton has been involved in virtually every webpage, story, photo, print issue and twitter update done by The Sidekick. She started her sophomore year as a staff writer, moved into the entertainment editor slot her junior year, and finally clamped the EIC title this year.

“I think being Editor-In-Chief has taught me a lot about communication and working with others,” Heaton said. “Being on staff has forced me to grow up, and that is something I think will be really helpful as I move into a professional field of study.”

Heaton will be starting school at Emerson College in the fall, majoring in writing, literature and publishing, with an emphasis on publishing.

“Even from Boston will be The Sidekick’s number one fan,” Heaton said. “I’m leaving CHS, but I’m not leaving the paper. I will have a subscription, and I will check up on the website. I’m excited to see what a new generation will be able to bring to the table.”

As the rest of the senior students prepare to take these skills to various corners of the nation, they reminisce about the time they’ve spent on the newspaper. While they participate in end of the year festivities such as banquets, graduation preparation and final high school testing, certain seniors of The Sidekick are planning to continue in their journalism education.

“I really enjoyed getting to work with athletes and prominent figures in our school, and that is something I want to continue in college,” senior sports editor Peter Sblendorio said. “The UT communications program will be a great thing for me to participate in.”

In addition to Sblendorio, photo editor Aditi Shrikant, entertainment editor Rebecca Neumann and staff writers Beth Anne Carroll and Adam Bremner will also be studying aspects of the journalism field at their respective colleges.

“[University of Missouri] has a very hands on approach to teaching journalism, which is the type of environment I really want to be in,” Shrikant said. “I can’t wait.”

The select seniors who were chosen to serve as editors this year have gone above and beyond the call of duty – doing everything necessary to make sure the paper was the best it could be. And all their hard work was well recognized, as both The Sidekick’s print publication and coppellstudentmedia.com won multiple local and state competitions.

“Considering a majority of our staff are first time staffers, I am really proud of the strides we’ve made, by coming together as a cooperative team to make a cohesive publication,” Shrikant said.

For incoming students considering dabbling in the field of journalism, Heaton leaves them with a few final pieces of advice:

“Apply [to join The Sidekick]; even if you don’t think it’s for you, you don’t want to have any regrets. You get back what you put into your time on the paper,” Heaton said. “If you go in expecting to breeze through and just go through the motions, you wont benefit as much as those who really commit. It can be stressful, but it really is some of the best of times.”

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