Since the loss of a journalism class years ago, Northampton High School received a major blow to student opinion and academics. Though student interest still exists, NHS continues to lack a journalism class. After the creation of the online Devils Advocate, student interest in journalism skyrocketed. In just three days, over 400 students signed a petition in support of a journalism class at NHS. Even with the Devils Advocate, NHS is in need of a journalism elective.
Unlike other classes, journalism teaches students skills that will be valuable for nearly any profession. Working together to find newsworthy stories, write articles, and create a newspaper teaches students how to work together as a team. And, in the process, students learn how to investigate, engage audiences, learn what interests them, and be part of an end product which can change a community.
If NHS was to regain a journalism class, it should be taught by History teacher and former journalist Scott Mahar. Previously the teacher of the former journalism class and advisor of the Devils Advocate, Mahar has the knowledge and wit to revolutionize how students have a voice in the high school. When he taught the class, nearly 20-40 students would work together to learn journalism and develop a newspaper.
Right now, several students do not have the time to meet twice a week for an hour after school with the Devils Advocate. Other students are too busy with homework from their classes to be able to add another project to work on. A journalism class would give students an opportunity to learn the skills needed to write a news article and a chance to work on writing in school with a teacher.
Other surrounding schools, like South Hadley High School, East Longmeadow High School, Amherst Regional High School, and Ludlow High School, that have a newspaper also have a journalism class. And, with one quick glance at any of these school newspapers, it is obvious having a journalism class has increased the quality of the newspapers. Undoubtedly, there are enough students at NHS who would be interested in having a full journalism class.
Whether you are a student, parent, faculty member, or supporter of the Devils Advocate, we ask you to help bring journalism back to NHS. By signing the petition below, you can help change history at NHS and give students a chance to have a voice in the high school community.