By Kaydee Donohoo
Going to Palmer Ridge High School in Colorado as a liberal was not the easiest experience. I have lost count of the times I was on one side of the room during a social studies class debate with maybe four other students countering the views of twenty.
Throughout this wild election I have often wondered what it would have been like to experience this year in high school. Would I have been as loud in my support for Bernie?
Would slamming Donald Trump be as common a classroom topic?
The answer may have come when “The Gazette,” a major paper from Denver, broke a story about my high school newspaper staff.
My former paper, “The Bear Truth,” wrote an editorial piece that endorsed Hillary Clinton. According to “The Gazette,” the paper staff and the teacher advisor have been berated with criticism for the piece.
Parents have “emailed the school and took to social media, saying the editorial was inappropriate for a student publication.” They even said that “the paper’s staff should be suspended.”
“The Gazette” article went on to explain that “The Bear Truth” was completely within its right to publish the piece. Colorado is even one of a few states that has “additional protection to high school publications.”
My former teacher and the still-newspaper advisor Mr. Patrick even described how “some students crumpled the issue and threw it on the floor.”
Wow, Monument. Oh, sweet hometown of mine. Of course this would happen there.
According to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, 3/4th of voters around my town voted for Romney in 2012. According to a poll done by Palmer Ridge’s paper, 47 per cent of voters supported Trump while 36 per cent supported Clinton.
While I will never know exactly what the 2016 election would have been like for me in high school, this paints a nice picture of what the general tone would have been.
Can I also just say how incredibly jealous I am of this editorial staff of “The Bear Truth”?
It’s pride mixed with envy, but whatever emotion it’s a strong one.
I fondly remember how during my time on “The Bear Truth” we had field trips where other Colorado high school journalists would pool into one college or high school for a conference and competition. These were always so inspiring, and I fondly remember one bus ride home where a few friends had passionate chatter on what the next year would look like for us. We admired the work the other high school papers were doing. They were discovering what stores gave alcohol to minors, and who was or wasn’t enforcing their dress code. They were covering hard-hitting controversial issues, and had school-wide enthusiasm for their endeavors.
“I want us to write pieces like that!” was the sentiment on our bus ride. This was a preoccupying thought for my two years on staff. We wanted an uproar after uncovering what others were afraid to touch.
One thing that held us back was our advisor Mr. Patrick. Not in the way you might think. He was incredibly supportive, and believed firmly in freedom of the press and understood our luck with our higher protections in Colorado. He also understood the community in which we were writing. Ultimately, whether we would have found our hard hitting journalism piece or not, we feared backlash finding our advisor. We did not want him to suffer consequences for our work.
Years later, as told by “The Gazette,” angry members of our community called Mr. Patrick a “communist” and a “socialist.” Some people even “accused him of indoctrinating students and called for his job.”
Do you understand how happy I would have been to have been a part of the staff that stirred up this much drama over an article? An article that was in the editorial section and still made students toss it on the ground in protest? Do you know how happy I would be to have the controversy make it all the way to one of Colorado’s major papers?
I don’t think I have ever been this jealous in my life. The sense of satisfaction that would have given me could have carried me through the next few decades in complete ecstasy.
I am so jealous that it’s starting to feel like a rage.
But I am also intensely proud of these students. You go Palmer Ridge newspaper staff! I am extremely happy to see such amazing work continue when I am no longer there. I might have to stop by during Winter Break and tell all of you.
Please take a step back and revel in the amazing thing you have done. Brag about it at parties for years to come. People like me will always be impressed and look on in awe at such journalistic integrity.