Scholastic Journalism Week raises over $700; celebrates student voice

Madeleine Lawler, Co-Web Editor-in-Chief

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96 hours. 49 social media posts. Over $700 raised. Bear Facts Student Media made this year’s Scholastic Journalism Week the most successful in LZHS history…but what does all this mean?

“I’m incredibly proud of the students and staff for their enthusiasm during the week,” Carolyn Wagner, student media adviser, said. “We are so fortunate to work and learn in a district that supports student speech and a free press, but it’s still exciting to see how – even though we have those rights guaranteed – everyone was taking part and hopefully having fun in the process. I’m astounded by the donations students and staff collectively raised. This will go a long way in terms of making a difference for students here and across the nation.”

To support student free speech and the democracy it brings, Bear Facts hosted a variety of fundraisers, including teacher competitions, t-shirt sales, raffles, and candy sales. A portion of all donations will go to the Student Press Law Center, which legally supports students targeted by adults for speaking up. The other donations will go toward funding equipment for Bear Facts.

 

Breaking the Silence

The first ever “Silence a Teacher” penny war notched the top spot for fundraising, bringing in over $500.  A bulk of the donations were due to Michael Kaufman, social studies teacher, who raised $197 and took first place in the competition. Kaufman says he is excited for the opportunity to see first hand how censorship affects individuals.

Kaufman poses with some of his freshman students. The students helped Kaufman raise a total of almost $200 for Scholastic Journalism Week.

“I think censorship and the denial of our First Amendment right to the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press are a tragedy in this country. Our fundamental right to voice our opinions on all matters and the ability to have discussion without being silenced is what makes this country great. It is how change comes about. The ability to help the journalism classes to spread the word — pun intended — about censorship and limiting the freedom of speech is a cause I can get behind and I enjoy helping the school,” Kaufman said. “Not to mention I am competitive and I like a good challenge.”

Notable runner ups in the competition include English teacher Ian Silverman ($87), math teacher Keith Bullion ($53), English teacher Carolyn Wagner ($38), and social studies teacher Pete Ternes ($37).

Ticket to Win It

Another favorite of the week was the gift basket raffle. Bear Facts staff and Journalism 2 students donated five “themed” raffle baskets that ranged from school supplies to a night out at the movies. Raffle participants bought tickets for $1 and had their choice of which raffle basket they would enter to win.

All five raffle basket winners are pictured below.

 

 

(Candy) Wrapping it up

Bear Facts staff and Journalism 2 students also sold candy and pins throughout the week, hoping to promote awareness for the event and extra funds.

Overall, Scholastic Journalism Week left a lasting impact on the school, and it wasn’t just from the generous donations, according to Caroline Sun, co-Web Editor-in-Chief of Bear Facts Student Media.

“I think that we forget too often how many years of history it took to actually get all the rights of free speech we have now, and celebrating scholastic journalism week here at school is a really good reminder,” Sun said. “Only having one week to talk about it isn’t nearly enough, but getting people to think about their rights, even if it’s only for a minute or two, is good for ensuring that the generations to come don’t forget about the freedoms they have.”

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