Thank You 2017-2018 Sound Staff
May 24, 2018
As Chief Editor of The EMS Sound, I felt that one more story needed to be written detailing just how exactly this publication came to be. About seven years ago, The EMS Sound was started as an after-school program. The paper ran for four years, but due to budget cuts, it was canceled. After a long break, we were able to resurrect Emporia Middle School’s own newspaper, The EMS Sound, in conjunction with a new course at the middle school called World Studies. What an exciting and productive first year we had at The Sound. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to produce, but found that our amazing staff was able to create a product that surpassed anything I could have expected. I would like to highlight the first official staff of the EMS Sound and the amazing work that they’ve done.
Chief Editor: Lenia Crouch- Lenia was the first staff member to reach the position of Chief Editor at The Sound, effectively taking over my job. In addition to publishing nearly 70 stories, Lenia also was instrumental in editing and publishing a wide array of stories for the other journalists on The Sound. Lenia also spearheaded most of the site design on The Sound, and organized everyone’s beat stories into different categories on the home page. The more I freedom and control I gave to Lenia, the more she would run with it and surpass all expectations. Lenia had some great stories including in her Big Questions beat. One of my favorites was this gem over William Allen White. Lenia also worked to produce stories with other journalists, including this one that she wrote with Sydney and Emma about the people who help keep EMS running.
Senior Editor: Emma Weast- Emma was another prolific writer on The Sound, becoming one of the first to get her own beat. Emma edited and published many of the stories on The Sound, working with other journalists to refine their work into something that they could be proud of. Emma saw that this publication could connect students to their communities, and this could be seen in her stories both before and after she got her beat. One of her earlier works that really impressed me was this story over her trip to meet YA author Sharon Draper. Another impressive work was Emma’s story over the International Food Festival at Emporia State University. Emma’s salty spirit will be missed next year. I might call you back down any time someone “just really needs to hear the truth about things”.
Senior Editor: Sydney Douglas- Sydney was another student who saw The Sound as a way to connect EMS with the rest of Emporia. She was such a joy to work with over the past year. I knew that Sydney would take whatever challenge I gave her, and do whatever it took to get it done. Sydney never turned me down when I came to her with a paper that needed workshopped. I don’t think that she ever turned anyone down for edits on their first draft either, seeing how her name was on nearly all of them. Even though Sydney spent so much time helping others, she still managed to create some pretty amazing stories. There was this review of the Emporia Arts Center. Or this 100%, completely unbiased review of Douglas Chiropractic. I will have to smile every time I think about Sydney coming up after I assigned our thing story, really wanting to learn more about supermax prisons. The more I got to know Sydney, the cooler she got.
Editor: Brooklynn Ruiz- Brooklynn probably worked past the position of editor, and really defined what it meant to work hard and get better on The Sound. There would be times when Brooklynn would rewrite a story 3 or 4 times to get it how she wanted it. The proof is in her writing, such as this story over Arbor Day. Brooklynn also went above and beyond in her editorial on why athletes shouldn’t take physical education courses. I’m going to forward that one on to Mr. Bazan. You are going to have a long list of lucky teachers and coaches ahead of you Brooklynn, who will be just as impressed as I was with your effort and positive outlook.
Editor: Jenna Brown- Jenna was another member of the staff who never shied away from a challenge. Jenna was one of the first students to get done with her work, and begin creating some of her own stories. If you need to know what persistence is, just look at this interview with the secretary at Maynard that was done over the course of 43 separate emails. Jenna’s beat, Health With Jenna, was a great example of how The Sound could improve the lives of its readers. One example was this story, which details how someone could become a pharmacist and help others for a living.
Jr. Editor: Hayden Basler- Hayden was an amazing writer who was able to make science poetic. If you don’t believe me, just check out the introduction to this story on why stars are important. Hayden probably would have written a lot more stories, but he often went above and beyond preferring quality over quantity with his stories. For a good example, here is Hayden’s 9 steps to building a K’nex ferris wheel story, in response to his four step procedure story assignment.
Jr. Editor: Amiyah Russell- Amiyah entered World Studies with a commitment to make her community better, or at least make the music that they listened to a little less lame. I was impressed with the maturity of Amiyah’s writing in stories such as this one over mental illness. You could see that refined style as Amiyah kicked off her beat with this very professional sounding album review. Keep with this Amiyah. Amiyah’s passion for social justice and good music will surely take her to some exciting places.
Jr. Editor: Cadence Butler- Not only is Cadence pretty amazing at writing in general, I found myself lucky in the fact that I would always learn something cool and interesting from reading her stories. I have already ordered my own set of Sea Monkeys. I’m really glad that they don’t sell hyenas on Amazon, or I probably would have ordered a couple of those too. Cadence’s passion for animals and nature come through in her writing, and hopefully, she continues to share it with others.
Senior Reporter: Talan Tabares- When not chasing dragons with a pair of plastic baseball bats or taking five minutes during good things to tell us it was Friday, Talan was busy keeping everyone up-to-date on the world of gaming. His Top 8 Games of 2017 was still relevant half way through 2018. Talan could sense what his beat would be early on, already tackling tough issues in gaming way back in November.
Senior Reporter: Leyna Allen- Leyna was another student who came in knowing her passion and what she was going to write about. Even the braiding was French for Leyna. Her Allons-Y Avec Leyna added some multicultural savoir-faire to The Sound. It seems that the only thing that Leyna cared about more than Paris, was her little brother. Her story will be something Leyna can share with him in the years to come, and something useful for her to read in those times she might wish she was an only child.
Senior Reporter: Aubrey Williams- Aubrey also managed to find a family connection in her stories. Aubrey’s Boot Camp was a crash course in all aspects of the military. One of her most knowledgeable sources on her Evolution of Tanks story was her dad. Another one of Aubrey’s stories also relied on a family member. Aubrey’s Life With Someone Who Has Autism was one of my all-time favorites, and showed how poignant the writing of middle schoolers can be when they try to be truthful and tell the story from their perspective.
Beat Reporter: Charity Kienast- Charity’s Gymnastics beat taught me so much about the sport of gymnastics and how committed someone has to be to participate in it. Her Events in Gymnastics story is worth checking out just to see some truly remarkable people doing some truly remarkable things. I can also guarantee that her Top Five Christmas Movies story is going to get a bump to the front page of The Sound every December.
Beat Reporter: Arianna Hamilton- Arianna was never afraid to share her opinion or hear the opinion of others. Her Current Events and Controversies beat, chronicled some of the biggest events of the 2017/2018 school year. One in particular, school shootings, took center stage during the last half of the year. Her walkout story chronicled EMS’s response to the tragedies and showed how important and impactful middle school journalism can be.
Reporter: Aiden Webster- When he wasn’t hitting other students up for food or attempting to teach others how many bones make up a human skeleton, Aiden was busy writing about his passions. Wolves seem to be a theme that ran through Aiden’s writing, beginning with his first wolf story. One of his best stories came near the end of the year, as Aiden explained how some of the fantasy is added to fantasy films.
Jr. Reporter: Ethan Rhudy- Ethan was a talented writer who focused on issues of interest to middle schoolers. I really appreciated his editorial on the drawbacks of chores. One of Ethan’s greatest strengths was when he was writing about hobbies or reviewing materials for his own hobbies. One early attempt at this was his review of the Traxxas Bandit. You might have a future in reviewing Ethan. It might at least lead to you getting some free hobby products.
Jr. Reporter: Harmony Williams- Harmony was a writer that has a very strong voice that comes through in her writing. You can hear for yourself the unconventional and original writing style in stories like this one over foxes. In her holidays with Harmony, Harmony examined how people around the world celebrate.
Jr. Reporter: Aaron Thomsen- Aaron clearly had a deep understanding of computers. His Complicated Computers beat dealt with a lot of issues that beginners and even advanced computer aficionados deal with. Even with a technically complicated subject, Aaron was still able to make his writing relatable and understandable, such as this story where he compares desktops and laptops. I used this story more than once as an example to other students on how you compare two products.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in the inaugural year of The Sound. Suffice it to say, any expectations I would have had would have been greatly surpassed. I feel blessed to have met and worked with such an amazing group of people. I’m excited to see what comes next for this group, as their potential is absolutely limitless. Take this final article as my thanks. It is not enough to show my gratitude for making this class one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. However, this publication will remain a testament to our time together, and you will always have a special place on The Sound and in my heart.