Columnist discusses why students should join Arlingtonian.

By Callia Peterson, ’22

The curiosity began during my third quarter of eighth grade.

Our middle school yearbook team, composed of a modest bunch of rookie InDesign graphic designers and eighth grade writers, sat in our classroom when a group of high schoolers walked in to show us copies of The Budget Newspaper. I think it was while I glanced through the pages of those 2018 issues and finished watching the little video they put together about the operations of Lawrence High School’s student journalism program that prompted me to march down to my counselor’s office and add the prerequisite for that very newspaper to my fall semester schedule for freshman year. 

Months later, I would discover how much someone could truly fall in love with student journalism and become the staffer that is writing this very op/ed to tell you how you can fall in love with it, too. 

My official high school journalism days started in Barb Tholen’s Intro to Journalism course and grew even more in the spring semester of my freshman year when I was offered a staff writing position on both The Budget Newspaper and The Red&Black Yearbook. My advisor, my editors, the photographers, the graphic designers, the videographers, and my fellow writers created a bustling classroom environment that soon turned Tholen’s room into my favorite one to walk into each day (even more than Madame Hurt’s French classroom which says a lot because we had waffle days). 

Getting to see my byline in the print issue of the month or online was exciting, and having the opportunity to share the voices of students at my high school meant even more. 

When I found out I had to move schools toward the end of my freshman year, student journalism was the only thing I based my choice of high school on. The beautiful graphics, intellectual articles and welcoming attitude of the 2018-2019 Arlingtonian staff dazzled me. This is why you now see me now in the halls of UAHS. 

Additionally, when I made it to Columbus, I met some of the most amazing people in UA on staff during ARL camp (a week-long session where we put together the very first issue you see on the first day of school) or for coffee when two of my kind-hearted editors reached out to welcome me. 

As I go through my days in UAHS, seventh period in room 221 where Arlingtonian comes together every day is the class I look forward to walking into the most out of my classes. 

Yes, Arlingtonian is a class, not a club. 

I would like to ask you (if you’re interested in writing alongside the staff writers) to explore student journalism in the semester-long prerequisite: Journalism one, where you can see if this kind of writing is something you can become passionate for too. Then, take the Journalism two semester-long course and publish your own version of Arlingtonian along with the Arlingtonian staff and me. Finally, I do not think you will regret it if you take the final (most exciting step) and fill out an application to become an official staff writer. 

Or, maybe writing is not your thing but you still are interested in drawing graphics for stories or making videos or being a photographer. I also urge you to apply. We have some amazing mentors on staff and these multimedia/visual arts contributors are just as important as the students writing the stories

Sometimes I think about if I never ended up adding the journalism prerequisite to my schedule for freshmen year. I am absolutely certain that I would have missed out on the thing that I enjoy so much it makes me forget I’m even working on schoolwork—because it is so much more than that. 

This is not just a glorified advertisement for you to add journalism classes to your schedule for next year or simply an ode to the thing I love most about what UAHS offers or only a huge thank you to the creative people I see everyday in room 221. It is a message I hope sparks the same curiosity in you that I felt in eighth grade.

I hope to see you soon.