From the TeacherThank you so much for your generous donation! Once my students found out that our project was funded, the classroom exploded with excitement. Since your donations arrived, my journalism class' passion for the news has been ignited and now I have students going above and beyond to make our award-winning newspaper even better!
Once the camera equipment showed up, I worked with several editors to create a website that could house our work and keep our news current. Our goal was to "launch" in January with a state-of-the-art website that could use the students' photography and video articles. Thanks to your donation, our students began to work beyond the time-limits of our daily class period. Students began to hang around on their off-periods to work on articles, take photos for articles, or to work on video articles to supplement written articles. The result was impressive!
Thanks to the work of our photography team, our printed newspaper was deemed by many in our school as the best newspaper we've ever published. For the first time, the photos were something to be displayed! We allotted greater space for photo recognition and our newspaper finally had the photos to accompany our award-winning writing.
To top that, our state-of-the-art website -- www.hillcresthighlighter.com -- features up-to-date articles with photo galleries and videos attached. The praise by our school community of teachers, administrators and parents have been immeasurable. Every day, students are updating the site, and since our launch one month ago, we've had over 15k page-hits, over 300 likes on our Instagram and Facebook pages, dozens of students comments, and many re-tweets on our Twitter page including one by Councilman Lancman, a former Hillcrest student.
Thanks to your donation, our school's newspaper website has become the hub of student news-events in our school. More teachers have approached me about news articles to highlight student achievements. We have created individual pages for the College Office to highlight college acceptances and are working on pages to highlight Poetry and Short Stories by English Language Learners and our award-winning Model United Nations team.
Some highlights of student turnarounds:
Bacilio Bencosme was bloomed in this class because of his photography skills. Bacilio is now in charge of taking care of the camera equipment and is our main photographer. He went from being uninterested in the class to now running a "department" of students that help him capture all needed photos and videos. He is even beginning to take leadership by anticipating projects -- recently, he told me he stayed after-school to take photos of the Girls Basketball team because he "knew that I would want an article for the newspaper". In another story, one morning, I came in and he and our Editor-in-Chief were sitting in my office prepping our cameras. They told me that the Councilman was visiting at 8:30 and they were covering the event -- I hadn't even known!
Karen Ronka is a sophomore who underachieved last year because of fights and immaturity. This year, she has taken a leadership role in the classroom as she worked many hours on editing her profile on a new teacher in our building, Mr. Hickey. She was so proud of the work she put into writing the profile and creating the video that she showed her mom who cried at the great work she was doing. Karen raised her cumulative average from 78 last June to 96 and Honor Roll status this year. Mr. Hickey, on the other side, showed his entire family the page with the article and video article and was lauded as being a hero by his loved ones.
Again, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for your donations. The camera equipment was the last piece of the puzzle for my class and I couldn't be happier with the results of the class. These students are using 21st century skills like photo-editing programs, movie-editing programs, and writing codes to make the website as amazing as possible. Your donation has changed the lives of many of the students in the class as many of them are using the equipment to launch their passions.
From the Students