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Student starts school newspaper "The Oaks'

Stephen Brun
The Journal Pioneer
Prince Edward Island, Canada

October 27, 2010


SUMMERSIDE - Breaking news: Three Oaks Senior High has its very own newspaper.

A group of students has already published two issues of "The Oaks" this school year, keeping their classmates and staff informed on happenings at TOSH.

The idea for the bi-weekly publication first came to Ryan McKenna in May, shortly after the Grade 12 student completed a co-op education placement at the Journal Pioneer.

He put the first edition together on his own, but the paper quickly gained a following.

"For the second issue, we had different reporters and people coming forward to express interest. We had a very good response and a lot of good reviews for the second issue," said McKenna.

"I like how we're able to get the different groups in the school to partake in this. With our reporters, there seems to be all different parts of the school (represented), which truly makes it a Three Oaks newspaper."

McKenna purchased a Macintosh computer specifically for the templates he uses to create the paper. 

As the paper's publisher, McKenna also worked out a deal with Staples to print the 300 copies of "The Oaks" that are delivered to all classrooms.

"The part that surprised me the most was the business side of things. Being a publisher is not a walk in the park," McKenna admitted. "You have to have a business sense and be organized. It took me over four hours to look at all of it, proofread it, and make sure all the titles and the fonts were correct."

The staff has now grown to include a managing editor, Travis Gordon, along with several contributors and photographers. Two teacher advisors also help out with the project.

To McKenna's knowledge, "The Oaks" is the first student paper at TOSH in several years. He thinks students might pay more attention to the publication than the standard morning announcements because it comes from their own peer group.

Teachers can also use it to get the word out to students about the school's extracurricular clubs. 

McKenna would eventually like to expand "The Oaks" to its own website, or incorporate into the school's site.

He'll be graduating this year, and has applied to Ryerson and Carleton universities, both prestigious Canadian journalism schools.

In the meantime, he's trying to ensure "The Oaks" continues on after he leaves TOSH.

"I'm hoping to get a Grade 11 student on board to continue it next year. I don't want this to be a one-year thing," he said. "I'd just like other students at the school to become involved... I think it's another great club we could have at Three Oaks."

Copyright 2010, The Journal Pioneer. Reprinted with permission

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