Pubs alumni talk about the program

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Holly Baldacci ’14 (Washington University, St. Louis, ’18): My involvement in newspaper not only offered me leadership opportunities, chances to submit my work for awards, and impressive padding for my college applications, but it also (most importantly) prepared me for a successful life. Learning how to interview strangers is an incredible experience, and offers even the most timid, shy little person (sophomore me) the opportunity to learn how to talk to anyone. People trust you with their stories, and you have the immense joy of then sharing those stories with the world. Through newspaper, I learned how the big, frustrating, amazing world out there beyond the cinder block walls of HHS works, and built foundations for a professional, enriching, and exciting future, even though I’m not going into journalism as a career. Additionally, I earned a full ride to the 7th most selective college in the nation, mainly because of my success in this class. I don’t know what my high school career or even my college decision would have been like without newspaper.

Jess Clavero ’15 (University of Miami ’19): Personally, joining pubs was the absolute best choice I could have made in high school. Everything couldn’t have lined up more perfectly from that point forward. I started in yearbook my sophomore year and by senior year, I was editor-in-chief of the Chieftain yearbook and design editor for the The Voice. Constantly exercising and growing in writing, graphic design and the fundamentals of journalism propelled me ahead of my college peers. It helped me realize my passion for integrating all aspects of communication which lead to me taking on a major in public relations and minors in advertising, Spanish, and music business at the University of Miami. My experience in pubs helped me land internships with Goodtella (One of Miami’s top food and lifestyle influencers), rbb Communications (Miami’s agency of the year), Sony RED MUSIC, and Capitol Records in Los Angeles.

Claire Filpi ’15 (Loyola University, Chicago ’19): Being involved in the journalism program at Huntley has not only helped me become a better writer, but it has helped me become a different person. this program has turned me from someone who hated grammar and couldn’t even put a comma into a sentence to someone who corrects everyone. Because of these classes, I am now not afraid to walk up to a stranger and interview them. Without this program I would not be where I am today. I am currently a freshman at Columbia College Chicago majoring in journalism and I already have an internship my second semester of school. If you are the smartest person in all your classes, or if you struggle with writing, I definitely think that you will benefit from this  program and everything that it has to offer. When you graduate, you will leave Huntley with lifelong friends, instant connections, and many stories. When you are a part of this class, you aren’t just a group of students; you become a family. The people you meet will be the most important people in your life. Don’t be scared, step outside your comfort zone; you won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t.

Michael Geheren ’13 (University of South Dakota ’17): Pubs was the highlight of my time in high school. This program is unlike any other, it provides students with an amazing opportunity to run their own small business. The opportunities given to me in and from that class were phenomenal. I have met amazing people, traveled, and learned it is okay to fail, how to recover when I do fail, and strong leadership and excellent communication skills.  This is not a journalism class; this is a life class. Mr. Brown does an amazing job teaching us how to live and be successful professionals, no matter what career. The class is a different style of learning; it was the best decision I made in high school.  Now, in college, the skills have translated to all of my classes. It has provided me with opportunities in scholarships that I could not have received without this program.

Ashley Knipp ’13 (University of Notre Dame, ’17): HHS media is not a class. It’s a job. As the single most valuable opportunity I took on at HHS, it offered me the chance to grow up. I was used to being assigned homework, turning it in on time, and collecting the grade. In Pubs, time was essentially my own. There were options upon options of “assignments” to choose from – writing about whatever I wanted, designing if I so chose, managing the coffee house that became a home away from home, going to events I never before had a reason to attend, and meeting people through interviews who I never would have talked to otherwise. My peers counted on me, and I counted on them. It was about working as a team for a product you believe in. I never wanted to be a journalist and I probably never will, but I recommend HHS media for every student who wants to break from the pattern of traditional education. I learned so much about responsibility, accountability, teamwork, and relying on myself rather than a teacher’s syllabus to lead me to success. It’s a chance to get a taste of the real world above entry-level summer jobs – a chance not so easily found as a high school student.

Marek Makowski ’13 (University of Missouri, ’17): In Huntley High School, I took the broadest range of classes anyone could take, signing up for basic speech and foods classes yet also grinding through the likes of BC Calculus and AP Chemistry. But of all the classes I took, none prepared me more for college — and life — than Newspaper. Newspaper was great because it taught me everything high school couldn’t. Aside from skills in designing, writing, editing, researching, and photography, I learned time management, beating deadlines for a group of assignments. I learned teamwork, heading a group of writers while also being part of a cohesive editorial board. I learned organizational skills, managing our coffee shop for two years, and even competitiveness and ambition, trying to out-write and out-report the pros on across the media room. Beyond the assignments, though, was joy. I pulled pranks and played basketball, ordered pizza and danced during design nights. I learned a lot in high school, but learned no more and had no more fun in any class than in Newspaper.

Miranda Peterson, Valedictorian, ’13 (University of Michigan, ’17): Since coming to college, I have realized that being a part of The Voice was by far my most valuable high school experience. Even though I’m not considering pursuing a career in journalism, the skills I learned in Pubs—meeting deadlines, managing time, working efficiently, cooperating with others—have proved extremely relevant to almost every aspect of my life as an aerospace engineering major, from design teams to studying to lab reports. Many college students have trouble their first semesters with allotting their time appropriately and motivating themselves without parents or teachers to guide them along, but with three years of working on the newspaper under my belt, this was nothing new to me, allowing me a smoother transition into my classes. Unlike most high school classes that require students to memorize facts and procedures, pubs actually teaches you how to succeed in life, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Kyle Sommerfield ’14 (University of Notre Dame, ’18): As a science major pursuing a career in medicine, I often find it difficult to explain why my time with The Voice was so beneficial for me. Pubs never taught me about human anatomy or gave me clinical experience, but it did prepare me for college more than any other class at Huntley High School. Scheduling interviews, selling ads, and all the other responsibilities that come with the class taught me how to manage stress and handle myself in professional situations. As I progress through my college career and watch others do the same, I realize more and more how much Pubs helps high school students mature into successful members of society. I am confident that the skills I learned as a part of The Voice will be valuable tools in my life after college.

Courtney Thomas (Colorado State University ’21): When I joined newspaper my sophomore year, I didn’t know the extent of the impact the class would have on me. PUBS is unlike any other class offered at HHS. You learn real-life skills that are applicable to your life outside of school. From selling advertisements to local businesses to advocating for change through interviews and articles, you learn by doing, rather than sitting back and listening to a lecture which made the class that much more enjoyable. I gained valuable leadership skills, life-long friendships, and an idea about my future. Because of PUBS, I am currently studying Journalism and Media Communication at Colorado State University and work for student media on campus.