I just got home from the kickoff of the new WHS Journalism Booster Club, nicknamed the “J-Boosters.” The group just formed and agreed to host a kickoff event to raise awareness and money, to reactivate the dormant Quill and Scroll chapter and to plan an end-of-year publications banquet.
Tonight’s kickoff, during Scholastic Journalism Week, was an out-of-ballpark homerun. We had over 80 parents, students and a few friends (newspaper publisher, radio host, my predecessor, etc.) who each paid the $10 admission. Pre-event donations were over $1,000. The local newspaper announced a donation of $500, and the main radio station announced a $250 donation. Other donations rolled in tonight, too. When we passed two pails — one for the newspaper and one for the yearbook — we collected another $850 (that includes when we auctioned off four extra unopened cheesecakes and made $20 each). It all totals well over $3,000 for a one-night event. Pretty good I must say. Oh yeah, the parents who organized decorations and food donated the materials, so our costs were minimal.
But the real reward is not the generosity of dollars but of the people who are so excited to be supporting scholastic journalism — a program not just for their kids but for all of our students. It was awesome to see the donations come in from parents of students that graduated two, five, seven years ago. And tonight the parents socialized with each other so much, looked at past yearbooks and newspapers, ogled the table of plaques and certificates, and watched students demonstrate InDesign and Photoshop. There was such an electricity in the air, and it was all about scholastic journalism at WHS.
I am so glad I finally got this program started, and I can't believe I waited so long to do it. I’ve learned the parents are just waiting to be asked, and they want to be involved in what their kids are doing. The small investment on my part to help get the ball rolling has more than paid off. Two months ago, the J-Boosters didn’t know what else they could do because they had no idea what to expect financially. Best to start conservatively, but now — who knows? They’ve got cash and they will need to spend it. And every penny goes to my kids. That’s a great night for Wenatchee journalism.
-- Wenatchee, Wash.