Journalism class may be returning to HHS

A class from the past may be returning to Hillsboro High School next year.

Bob Woelk, English and yearbook instructor at HHS, plans to launch a journalism class next fall.

Woelk feels it’s important for students to have a chance to study journalism.

“Probably the main thing is that students at Hillsboro High School don’t have the opportunity to explore the possibility of being a journalist,” said Woelk, who worked as a local journalist for six years before going into teaching. “We have classes for business and agriculture, but we don’t really have any for journalism.”

Woelk is excited by the prospect of teaching such a class. He feels his personal experience in the field gives him something to offer to students at HHS.

“I have a strong interest in journalism,” he said. “I feel it is a skill that I could help students with.”

This class may mean that a student-run newspaper will once again be circulated around the school.

“My way of thinking is that it doesn’t do a whole lot of good to study journalism and reporting without going out and creating some sort of a product,” Woelk said.

He has some ideas what this publication would look like.

“I would like to see that published in an already-existing publication,” he said. “It seems more professional when it is in a newspaper format.

“One of the benefits is that you would get to see some information about students published,” he added. “I think that is an attraction to a local newspaper for example. It’s a way to get into the school, and they’re always looking for ways to see what is going on with kids.”

HHS principal Dale Honeck said he would be pleased to see a journalism class re-enter the curriculum.

“First of all, it teaches students a little bit about the journalism industry, that is one of the key components,” Honeck said. “It teaches students about business-they have to sell the ads and think about the cost as well as work with professional printers.

“It’s a team builder,” he added. “Students have to work cooperatively to get a good product out.”

Both educators said the class is currently scheduled on the TEEN network. TEEN stands for Technology in Excellent Education Network and involves students from throughout the county who are involved in interactive classes that are televised to the participating schools.

Honeck said teaching a class over the network brings with it some added challenges.

“It takes a pretty skilled teacher to pull it all together,” he said. “One of the things that might not be good about it is if you don’t get committed kids. The question is whether those students will be willing to find a time to get things done.

“I think it can work over ITV,” he said. “The first semester is going to be a lot about journalism and the second semester is going to be more writing and composing a newsletter or a newspaper.”

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