by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief
MAY 2022 — It is with a great degree of sadness that I say goodbye to The Hive. As I prepare to graduate next week, I must retire from my role as editor-in-chief. No words can adequately express how much I’ve gained from this experience. I am so incredibly proud of the staff, and as I embark on a new journey, I hope to find another community merely half as great as the one we all created.
The Hive was created during the 2019-2020 school year. It was founded by a group of students who wanted to form a newspaper club. Then, the following year it was converted into an elective class.
This school year, as a staff, we wrote and published 109 articles which garnered a total of 9,638 views on our webpage. Additionally, The Hive won eight awards at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association 2022 state conference.
“I’m really proud of The Hive’s progress,” said newspaper adviser Ms. Jenna Bates. “We had some growing pains the first year. I think we worked out a lot of those last year, but because of Covid, it was on a very limited basis. So this year, we’ve really seen what [The Hive] can do.”
When I joined The Hive last year as a staff writer, eight students were on the staff, with five of them being virtual. Since then, The Hive has expanded to 15 staff members, the largest it’s ever been.
Bates commented on the expansion, saying, “I think it has worked out very well…. Obviously, three in-person writers and five virtual ones can only cover so much. Having the 15 staff members from grades nine through 12 was very helpful in terms of wider coverage of topics and developing a cross-grade community.”
Associate editors Alyssa Cocchiola and Ken Burchett discussed their experience as veteran members of The Hive.
“Starting out as a staff writer sophomore year was a bit intimidating at first, because I didn’t know what to expect. After my first article, I really started getting into the swing of things. I was fortunate enough to be the associate editor in my second year. And that was a really beneficial experience, because I was able to take the knowledge I learned about the AP style and apply it to editing. While I was able to help others, it also showed me how much I had grown as a writer,” said Cocchiola
Burchett remarked, “Recently, I was looking back at my old articles from last year, and they were really bad. Frankly, I believe I deserved more criticism for them. But looking at my article now, I can see the improvements I’ve made. My articles are longer, and more in-depth, and I know how grammar works. I am proud of my progress.”
Newer members reflected on their first year writing for The Hive.
Jesse Mitchell, a sophomore, said, “Coming into newspaper, I was terrified. I never really saw myself as a good writer, but I had many teachers who believed in me…. I didn’t know how I would do with journalistic writing. It was scary, and I didn’t have high hopes for myself. But looking back at it now, it was the greatest choice I ever made. I think I’ve come a long way.”
Senior CJ Delaney, said, “I came in without any experience writing in a journalistic style, so it was hard to immediately jump into writing articles. Everything I wrote didn’t feel natural to me, and I made a lot of the big mistakes journalists are often criticized for, like editorializing and sounding too much like an essay. As the year went on, I got a lot more comfortable with writing in this way, and I think that shows in my writing. I still feel like a beginner in a lot of ways, but I’m glad to have a year’s worth of experience.”
Many staff members recalled how their journalism skills had helped them outside of the newsroom.
Senior Elise Miller stated, “The interviewing process has almost forced me to learn how to talk to various types of people. This is essential in any area of life, and it’s helped me greatly. It’s also helped my communication with learning how to tell a story. I’m essentially communicating the story with whoever reads my article, so learning how to convey that has helped a lot with my communication skills.”
As a writer, Burchett gained awareness, saying, “Because I am a journalist now, I have to think about issues in a certain way. And I have to think about the different sides and what is contributing to an issue. So I think it’s helped improve my critical thinking skills about the way the world works around me.”
Cadence Gutman, a freshman, shared a similar sentiment, saying, “I think I’m more aware of the world. I’m constantly paying attention to things that happen around me now.”
The members of the staff all said that their favorite thing about The Hive is the environment and the community. From our matching sweatshirts to our themed potlucks and inside jokes, I would have to agree.
“I love our group. It’s just the weirdest little oddballs, and they’re all fantastic,” exclaimed sophomore Mallory Butcher.
“The environment of the classroom was always a highlight. Even if I was stressed, tired, or in a bad mood, it was never the collective feelings of the room. People always seemed like they actually wanted to be there, which was nice. And Ms. Bates was able to put up with our bullcrap which was impressive,” said Delaney.
“As much as I love my friends in my other classes, Newspaper feels like a home to me. It feels like what Bio-Med wants family groups to be,” Burchett remarked. “It’s this community of people across grade levels. Even though we’re all different and only see each other one period out of the day, we all feel this family environment where we can trust each other and joke around.”
Though I will miss the great times we had, I know I am leaving The Hive in extremely capable hands. Next school year, Alyssa Cocchiola will serve as the editor-in-chief, and Mallory Butcher will join Burchett as an associate editor.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to be editor-in-chief. And I’m just as excited to help more people grow as writers and keep up with what we’ve created so far with The Hive,” said Coccihola.
Butcher also looks forward to her new role, saying, “I am really excited. I love writing, and I love being able to fine-tune different aspects of my writing. I believe being an editor will make me a better writer.”
Looking to the future, many staff members have made plans for the upcoming school year.
“I am looking forward to doing more of the journalism process. I want to improve my writing, specifically my grammar and mechanics,” said Mitchell.
“I can’t wait to see what articles we can produce next year,” stated Cocchiola. “This year, we kind of all started out on the same page minus the editors. No one had taken a journalism class before, so we started at the beginning and learned the basics. But next year, we will only have incoming freshmen, so we can streamline that learning process. The current staff members will already have that experience, so they will be able to pursue the articles that they didn’t know how to this year. We also can all help the freshmen learn those skills and keep getting better.”
Through writing for The Hive, I was blessed with the ability to do something I’m passionate about, and I met some great people along the way. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff and our adviser, Ms. Bates. Without them, The Hive would not have been possible.
It has been an incredible opportunity and honor to serve as the editor-in-chief. I am endlessly grateful and hopeful for the future of the newspaper and student journalism as a whole. I wish next year’s staff an even better year of reporting.