the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

High school journalism opens doors

In recent years, an uptick of SSES alumni have been joining the top college and professional publications in the country. The one factor they have in common: they took high school journalism. 
Sarabeth Wester
The recent uptick of alumni entering the field means one thing: high school journalism opens doors.

Taking high school Journalism may be more important now than ever before. Journalism teaches students to conduct interviews, write with excellence, share their voices, and collaborate with their peers, among many other things.   

Journalism is an integral form of communication: it’s how people become aware of what is happening in the world; it’s how they make sense of it. High school journalism offers students the opportunity to have a taste of that on a smaller basis through their school and community, and the experience prepares them for and introduces them to the field.   

In an article in Edutopia, Andrew Simmons argues that it is crucial for high schools to require students to take one year of journalism. 

A required course in high school journalism would give kids the tools to tell the stories of their communities and make them active contributors to civic life—not just readers and writers.”

Simmons added that journalism is inquiry. It allows students to be more curious, which is exactly what we need in the world during this time of political and social uncertainty. If young adults read the news, they will become more educated about the world around them and as a result better citizens. 

 A course like the one we have at Saint Stephen’s, which produces the student-led newspaper The Gauntlet, prepares and inspires students to learn the skills mentioned above at an early age so students are prepared for a variety of fields.

High school journalism inspired my love for it even more and prepared me for college. It was the first place I could see myself actually doing it as a career

— Sully Maley

So that leads to the question: How does high school journalism open doors for students in the future?  How does it inspire them to further their education and futures in the field or similar careers?

As an aspiring journalist myself, now part of a program that sees its graduates go on to top schools and jobs in the field, I was curious as to how taking journalism in high school impacted their choices.  

These alumni got their start in the newsroom here at SSES, writing, editing, curating social media, taking photos, producing videos, and so on.  

Former Gauntlet editor, Allie Serterides (class of 2021), said that taking high school journalism led her to pursue journalism as a career. She said the experience prepared her for joining her college newspaper at the University of Wisconsin.

“Being on The Gauntlet inspired me to want to be a writer. As a former associate editor, I was eager to continue my passion for journalism professionally.” 

Serterides now serves as an editor for The Badger Herald,  the prominent student-run newspaper at the University of Wisconsin.  According to Serterides, her experience in high school allowed her to be “a step ahead” when she joined her college newspaper staff.

Serterides hopes to become a sports journalist, a journey that began in the high school newsroom. 

“I am leaning towards PR currently and was thinking about applying be an intern for ESPN Madison, but instead got a summer internship with the Madison Mallards.”

The high school journalism experience isn’t just about writing articles.  Serterides plans on applying her skills from her time as an editor, which included the likes of idea generation, story development, copy editing stories, and curating social media content, at her upcoming internship with the Madison Mallards.

Serterides said she hopes to be working with the Mallards to “curate social media posts, update their website, and write scripts for their games.”

Serterides is not the only former Falcon using her background as a stepping stone. Sully Maley is currently a third-year journalism student at the University of Southern California. 

Maley, class of 2021, is a former Editor-in-Chief of The Gauntlet, but his experience didn’t start in the SSES newsroom. Sully’s father, Dennis Mitch Maley, is a reporter and editor for the Bradenton Times.

“I did not start, technically, on my journey on The Gauntlet,” Maley said.  “However, it definitely encouraged my interest. I was always around journalism as a child with my dad in the industry.”

His time on the staff in high school brought clarity to his vision for the future. 

“High school journalism inspired my love for it even more and prepared me for college. It was the first place I could see myself actually doing it as a career.”

Like Serterides, Maley said he felt much more prepared than his classmates in his first year on the USC news site. 

“What set me apart from the other students was my preparation and knowledge of deadlines. I was used to having hard deadlines in high school, and that was really no different in college.”

High school journalism can be the first step for many that ignites the fire to start a career. Elizabeth Dijinis, class of 2012, is now a professional journalist with a remarkable resume. 

Dijinis has written for The Smithsonian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Teen Vogue, and many other major publications.

Djinis shared that she believes High School Journalism is an integral step in entering the field.

“I feel like being in high school and having the experience that early on is so beneficial for students. Learning how to do journalistic style writing and conducting interviews builds a strong foundation for aspiring writers.” 

Dijinis encouraged students to follow their dreams by seeking the avenues that will get them there. 

“There is always a way to do what you love; if that’s journalism, then pursue it. It’s really about finding the right avenues and having drive and school newspapers like The Gauntlet encourage that love.”  

Our Saint Stephen’s alumni are proof that journalism is a viable career, contrary to what many say these days. In fact, journalism may be as important, or more important, than it ever was, and across the country, high school journalism programs are serving as the foundation for students to grow as writers, human beings, and citizens. 

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About the Contributors
Reese Williams
Reese Williams, Associate Editor
Reese Williams is a senior and a  third year associate editor on the Gauntlet. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, musical theater and hanging out with friends. Her favorite color is pink, she has one dog, and she is on the Varsity Cheerleading squad. Her favorite musicians are Elton John, Baby Queen, Ben Platt, and Conan Grey.

Sarabeth Wester
Sarabeth Wester, Creative Director/Artist
Sarabeth Wester is a senior on The Gauntlet with four years under her belt of hard work in the newsroom as our Creative Director. Her favorite color is purple, she has a cat and a dog who she loves dearly, and she plays video games in her free time - her favorite being Fallout 4 even with it's imperfections. Her favorite movies are Days of Thunder, Top Gun, and Wall-E - she believes everyone should watch them at least once.  

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  • Dave GlaserJan 26, 2024 at 10:15 am

    Great piece, Reese! This hits it right on the head! I started my journalism career the same way – as a high school reporter. It was an incredibly valuable experience and prepared me well to join the staff of the Oracle as a sophomore at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Both of those opportunities confirmed for me that I’d made the right choice to pursue a career in journalism. I still look back very fondly on more than a decade spent as a writer and editor at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. It was challenging and rewarding work.