George Rogers Clark High School journalism students had a unique opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience with success by reaching out into their community.
As staff members of Smoke Signals, the high school newspaper, they were assigned interviews with local business owners who shared their successes with the community.
Rick Reddix, the advertising manager at The Winchester Sun, reached out to the GRCHS journalism class to take on the success story project.
“We wanted them to get some experience and education through the process as well as helping out the small businesses,” Reddix said.
The three students from the journalism class were Jordan Conn, Madisen Reddix and Caroline Browning.
“This gave us a chance to get the businesses involved with the school, and to let them be known to the community,” said Jordan Conn, a journalism student and the photographer for the project.
The girls went to 13 local businesses and interviewed them for the project.
“This taught us to interview people and allowed us to tell their story,” said Madisen Reddix. “We were nervous at first. After the first one, it wasn’t that bad. We got into the swing of things.”
It wasn’t too nervewracking for Browning.
“I like to talk, so it was okay,” she said.
The project has allowed The Winchester Sun to offer a senior journalism student a $500 scholarship that is awarded by the instructor, Shanda Crosby.
“I appreciate the opportunity the Sun has offered the students. I love the school and community connection,” said Crosby. “We’re (Smoke Signals) not just a part of the school. We’ve become a part of the community through this. We hope to expand these connections at the new facility location.”
The scholarship also was funded by Tim Janes of Winchester First, which focuses on the designs, promotions and economics of downtown business.
“I saw this as a win-win opportunity,” Janes said. “It was good advertising for local businesses and supportive of the GRC students.”
The students featured businesses including Packrats, Jako’s Candles, R.S. GuitarWorks and the Clark County Veterinary Clinic.
“It’s hard for highschoolers to put themselves out there,” Madisen Reddix said.
Browning agreed, mentioning that it can be difficult to feel as if they’re on the same level as the adults they interview.
“The experience was interesting. It’s cool to find out what it takes to start a business. It’s hard work,” Conn said.
Crosby also said that the girls were able to gain lifelong lessons as people and journalists that they may not even know about it.
“They had a very ambitious schedule with two or three interviews a week plus a story, but the girls were able to maintain that schedule and conquer it,” she said.
Janes said he hopes to continue his agency’s involvement with the program on an annual basis.