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Personal Initiative

This semester, I took personal initiative in a few different ways. I believe that I contributed many creative ideas to the talisman. For example, this past issue, I thought of a naughty & nice graphic and a buckeyes stats side bar to accompany the OSU wrap-up story. Also, I stepped outside of my comfort zone by writing four stories for issue 2- two new coaches stories, a halloween story, and a homecoming story. It was a lot of work, and it stressed me out a little bit, but I felt accomplished when it was all finished. Additionally, a few of the stories I wrote this semester were about topics I knew little-to-nothing about. My first story was about the Strand switching to digital cinema, and when i first started out, I didn't really know very much about the difference between digital and regular film. I had to do a little bit of research beforehand, and the manager also taught me a lot about the two different types. I ended up learning a lot about the movie industry and the different categories of cinema just from one simple interview. I also offered to write the mock trial story this past issue. I had heard of mock trial before, but had no idea what it was. Eric was able to give me a basic idea, and that idea was expanded upon by Mr. Morgan and Tommy Gibbs, two of my interviewees. Now I know what mock trial club is, who its members are, and how successful they have been in the past. By offering to write stories with topics that are unknown to me, not only does it spark my interest, but it expands my knowledge of various aspects of the community. 



I am very involved with the Hayes track, cross country, and indoor track teams. I run just about 365 days a year! (Maybe not that much, but you get the idea.) Running has become one of my main focuses over the course of my high school career, and I am strongly considering pursuing it in college. It is something I am very passionate about and would like to engage in as long as I am physically capable of doing so!

Website for Hayes runners:


I was also inducted into the National Honor Society this year, which has encouraged me to seek out more opportunities to volunteer within the community.

Hayes NHS website:


Additionally, I am a member of the River Community Church in Delaware where I teach a pre-school Sunday school class every second Sunday of the month.

Church website:


Over vacation breaks, I babysit 3 children- Amelia, a third grader; Alexis, a fourth grader; and Addison, a fifth grader. 

Best Work

I believe the following to be some of my best works for the Talisman:

1) Out with the old, in with the up-to-date Downtown Delaware Strand theater switches to digital cinema

This was by far my favorite article that I have written. I was really excited about it because it was the first one of mine that would be published, so I had this desire to make it really good. I picked a topic that I thought would be interesting to me and would teach me about something I didn't really know much about. I set up an interview with the manager of the Strand Theater and met with her a day during class. It was an engaging interview, where Kara (the manager) gave me tons of information about cinema, including both digital and film. She showed me the film box and let me inspect all of the old film reels. It made me really excited to write the article, and I feel that it motivated me to do a good job. I believe that I organized the story well- what the story is about, followed by why the changes were made, what the Strand had before,  the benefits and the downfalls, and then encouraging the community to attend the Strand. I also think that I did a nice job of integrating the quotes in the story and including an opposing viewpoint (from Michael Duffy), which gave a personal touch to the article. I dropped off an issue at the Strand after we published, and got a text from the manager congratulating me on the story. It made me feel most proud of this article. 

2) Hayes variety show: Fall 2012

This was a fun article to write because it required me to actually go to the variety show. I believe that this story was a good representation of my "investigative" journalism skills. I had to attend the show in order to discover how i was actually going to write the story. In doing so, I was able to include a wide variety of sources. I interviewed the show advisor prior to the show and also two participants and an audience member after the show. These sources helped me to include more of the student body in the paper, which was one thing I really liked about how it turned out. The number of sources provided a personal tone to the article, and I think that it added a lot to the story's purpose of praising the participants.

3) Forgotten tales of Halloween

I liked this article because it was different than the typical news story I write. This was more of a feature article which required me to research the history of Halloween. I learned a lot from my research and was excited to share it with others through the newspaper. I was assigned this story last-minute and believe that I did an exceptional job of writing it given the time constraints. I liked how my ending related back to the beginning of the story to tie everything up. I also believe that my paragraphs flowed well. I described one aspect of Halloween and then expanded on it in a later paragraph while also adding more information.

My Highlight

The best moment in Talisman class this year was when we published our first issue. I remember being so excited that I was a part of something that the whole school had the opportunity to look at for the first time this year. I was excited about my article, and wanted people to read it along with the rest of the paper. Mrs. McClain announced that the papers were in and I remember feeling so ecstatic to see everyone's hard work on a physical newspaper. There were stacks upon stacks of them, and I was in awe at what we were able to create. I opened one up and didn't want to take my eyes off of it because I was so proud of our accomplishment. And as cheesy as it sounds, that was probably the moment that I felt most excited to be part of the school newspaper.

Staff Improvements

I believe that the Talisman staff can improve in the following ways this semester:

  1. Headlines- I know that we have talked about this in class a few times, but I strongly feel that we all need to improve upon writing headlines. I will admit that I am not the best at it, but I have noticed that our headlines in the past couple of issues have not been very captivating. From experience, I know that when a student reads the newspaper, one of the first things they do is scan the headlines to find something that catches their attention. If we have a lousy headline to a good story, people will not read it and will miss out on its contents. To fix this problem, we might consider having someone who believes that they are a strong headline-writer to be sort of a "headline editor." I agree that writers should provide ideas for story headlines, but then the "headline editor" could perfect the headlines when necessary. We could make sure that the name of our google doc submission is the headline of our story to make it easier for the person in charge of headlines to evaluate them. 
  2. Critical Peer Editing- To avoid publishing silly mistakes, staff members should be more critical when editing their peers work. Instead of just skimming through someone else's story and telling them that "It looks good! I wouldn't change anything," peer editors should make at least two substantial comments to better the story. They should try to catch and correct as many errors as possible. Although Alex does a wonderful job of editing, it cannot be entirely up to him to catch every single mistake. We need to help him out and edit more critically. 
  3. Quote Attribution- I helped Alex out with some of the editing this past issue, and I noticed a lot of quote attribution errors. I realized that even I wasn't fully aware of the proper way to attribute. Maybe we could make a sign with quote attribution rules to hang up for people to refer to. That way, there's no reason for anyone to have any excuses because a resource would be at their convenience at all times.  


My goal for next semester is to build up enough courage to write an editorial! I am very used to writing strictly news stories, and those can be a bit boring sometimes. If I can come up with a creative idea for an opinion editorial, I would like to write one of these articles for an upcoming issue. Other staff members have written very strong opinion articles this year, and I think that I am definitely capable of doing the same. So, my goal is to step outside of my comfort level and what I am used to doing, and write an opinion piece.


I have improved upon my InDesign skills this semester from last year in sophomore journalism class. I was never very good at it and believe that designing pages of my own this year has really helped me. I am now able to accomplish simple design tasks without having to ask Mrs. McClain for help!
Over the summer during workshop, Mrs. McClain's friends Wayne & Georgia came in and shared photography tips with the class. Although they were basic tips, I still have not forgotten them and was able to put them into effect when I took pictures of the cross country team. Without learning how to hold the camera properly, my pictures may not have turned out as clear as they did. 
Simple Graphic Design
I believe that I have improved upon my simple graphic designing skills this year. I have created three graphics on page designs- a teacher trivia graphic, Jen's must-haves for fall graphic, and the Buckeye statistics sidebar. Last year, I was terrible at anything graphic-related and have definitely improved upon these skills.