Dexter High School Publication The Squall Wins Spartan Award for 15th Year
By Andy Nixon, STN Reporter
Dexter High School students continue their passion for award-winning journalism by adding another plaque to the wall.
Professor of English and Journalism Christopher Mackinder challenges students to find their own voice by writing about their passions and interests. At Dexter, it can be investigative journalism, sports, food reviews, or even a shoe-collecting story. Asked about this year’s journey, Mr Mackinder said: “This award is a testament to the adaptability of students,” he said. “With Covid, wearing masks, kind of wearing masks and the change in block schedule, they went through a lot of changes and are still ahead.” With the block schedule, the children attend a class every other day, which is difficult in the world of journalism. Mr Mackinder also mentioned the “push towards less and less homework, making after-school interviews and attending events more difficult”.
By meeting two of Mr. Mackinder’s students, Aiden Naughton and Ryan Capobianco, I had the chance to learn more about the history of the publication, the goals of the class and what they find interesting in the world journalism. Aiden enjoys in-depth interviews with school officials and delves into real-world issues such as the labor shortage in the area. With a background in internet security, Ryan has been a valuable addition to the team, managing the IT and web design portion of the publication. “I started learning about internet safety through a family friend, and I have persevered, bringing all the knowledge I can to the squall.” Thanks to Ryan’s hard work, you can find many stories on the website – dextersquall.com.
Organized by the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, the Spartan Critique competition allows member newspapers, magazines and other media to receive feedback from national leaders in their fields. Dexter was one of thirteen schools in the state to win an award. This year marked the 15th Spartan Award for the squall, which started in the 1990s as a newsletter. In the early 2000s the school began printing the newspaper, but for the past six years the publication has been in a magazine-style format.
To offset printing costs, students work to sell advertising space in the publication. Sales and communication are essential in many career fields today, and this exercise provides a comprehensive skill set for running a small business. Looking at the advertising section, it is obvious that the students are doing a great job with this task. the squall is printed four times per school year.
Mr. Mackinder’s Media course is available to students after completing “Introduction to Journalism” or “Photojournalism”. Once the prerequisite is completed, students can then register and participate in the writing, editing and publication of The blast. The class usually has about 60 students each semester.
Most students take the course for a year, but Mackinder notes “what a blessing it is for a student to stay in the class for a second year”, adding “someone who knows how the process works will help things run smoothly. , without additional training.
Writing clearly and concisely is a valuable skill in life. Whether through email, social media, or presentations, a good writer can turn ideas and thoughts into meaningful prose. In many fields, this means conveying your ideas and your vision to others. Students with or without journalistic aspirations will benefit from this media course and transfer the teachings to the career field of their choice.
The next round of journalism students will have big shoes to fill after this year’s seniors take the next step in their journey. The class will be looking to add another plaque to the wall in the next school year.