By Abby Jacobs, Samantha Renzulli, and Ethan Weisblatt
Our newspaper has always strived to bring attention to what’s not at the forefront of all of our minds, bridging the gap between the student voice and the student body. Given the disconnection that has resulted from the events of this past year, we have had the chance to reflect on and expand our purpose.
From these experiences, The Warde Focus has had to learn what it truly means to be adaptable. With students engaging in school on different days, from different locations, we quickly gathered that there is a disconnect within the Warde community. We struggled to get in touch with student sentiments because of the various divisions evident at school, making it difficult to gather a cohesive understanding of the educational climate. With this in mind, we have had to change our process from that of past years, during which we could typically be seen passing out physical newspapers in homeroom and interviewing students in the hallways. What previous leaders of the club had found successful now needed to be re-evaluated in light of apparent circumstances.
This year, we have felt the impact of budget cuts and health concerns surrounding the physical distribution of the paper. These changes gave us the opportunity to take advantage of our website. We also discovered the freedom of establishing an online news presence. Now more than ever, Warde’s news is accessible to a broader audience. Our Instagram keeps the community updated, providing links to articles posted on our website, and it is our hope that these actions create some sense of connectivity within the school.
This year the newspaper is especially important for our new Freshmen Class, as they are suffering from a lack of connectivity the most. They are entering a new environment where they aren’t able to see half of their grade, simultaneously losing valuable relationships one may typically have with older students in which wisdom and this school’s culture is passed on to them. Having Warde’s newspaper available during this time helps to keep these students in the loop by giving them a reputable source of information, allowing this connectivity, and fostering creativity to open ourselves up to new voices or to have their voices heard.
Beyond the perceptible difficulties freshmen have endured entering high school this past fall, the three of us recognize the divisions that the establishment of cohorts has created within the Warde community. Although a necessary tool in students’ return to school during this pandemic, it would be negligent to forgo discussion of what we could do to attempt the feeling of traditional school spirit. From our point of view, The Warde Focus is one way in which cohorts A and B can come together and simply be Fairfield Warde High School. Students of both groups are spending time together at our weekly virtual meetings, reaching out to members of the community, and writing articles to post on our website. These actions unite us not only under the benefit of having a flow of current, personally applicable news but under the championing of the student opinion.
Newspapers serve to connect — through truth, and through shared and diverse experiences. As the Fairfield Warde student newspaper, we use our writing as a vehicle, to promote the voices of all members of our community. Now, when our voices are so distanced, so distinct, it’s necessary to recognize the importance of uniting the student body. That is our purpose, and it is one we are dedicated to sustaining this school year and going forward.
If you are interested in writing for The Warde Focus and would like to increase the prevalence of the student voice at Warde, reach out to us on Instagram @thewardefocus, or send your piece to email@example.com.