All School Journalism Workshop Hosted at GCDHS

Newspaper+and+yearbook+students+attended+a+workshop+facilitated+by+Mrs.+Balmeo+and+Mrs.+Austin.+
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All School Journalism Workshop Hosted at GCDHS

Newspaper and yearbook students attended a workshop facilitated by Mrs. Balmeo and Mrs. Austin.

Newspaper and yearbook students attended a workshop facilitated by Mrs. Balmeo and Mrs. Austin.

Nate Olson

Newspaper and yearbook students attended a workshop facilitated by Mrs. Balmeo and Mrs. Austin.

Nate Olson

Nate Olson

Newspaper and yearbook students attended a workshop facilitated by Mrs. Balmeo and Mrs. Austin.

Jenna Gibson and Brynn Ryan

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Nate Olson
Newspaper and yearbook students attended a workshop facilitated by Mrs. Balmeo and Mrs. Austin.

On the first day of the 2018-19 school year every student at GCDHS attended a journalism workshop brought to the school by the hard work of last year’s journalism classes. The students spent the first day working on team building exercises, learning how to better their writing and interview skills for the upcoming newspaper and yearbook, and learning tricks and techniques from professional journalists. Students enrolled in newspaper and yearbook continued for the next two days.

Last school year, newspaper and yearbook advisor Beth Lawrence and co-advisor Katy Shawver submitted issues from the Sagebrush Saga to a Montana based competition where they won second place in the Pacesetter award and second in overall designs.  Later Mrs. Lawrence and Mrs. Shawver discovered a grant program and decided to fill out the application with little hope they would win. Then in early spring Mrs. Lawrence, Mrs. Shawver, and Mr. Olson had two telephone conferences with leading members of the Journalism Education Association before the announcement was made that they had been one of two schools selected to have an on-sight training to journalism course taught at their school.

GCDHS is currently adding more writing into the curriculum so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to get students excited about writing.  Superintendent Mr. Olson said, “The goal is to provide better instructional content and more immersion into writing.”

Michelle Balmeo, who teaches at West Albany High School in Oregon, and Ellen Austin, who teaches at The Harker School in San Jose, were asked by the JEA leadership to come facilitate the workshop.

“We each have a strong connection to, respect for, and have worked with small communities,” said Austin.  Balmeo explained, “When we set our goals for this week, we tried to keep it simple. We wanted you to feel empowered. We wanted you to know that the size of your school doesn’t affect the quality of your journalism program.”  

During this workshop experience, students held a press conference with the Superintendent Nate Olson, wrote news articles on current events around the school and learned about journalism in the real world.  

Freshman Tori Murnion said, “It’s a one of a kind learning experience, and it’s kind of a once in a lifetime experience as well.”  

Students were inspired by Balmeo and Austin’s knowledge in the field and by the work they had done with their own students.

“This was a very exciting and incredible opportunity,” Olson said. “It was also fun to watch how different people teach things.”