The Gazette is resuming a partnership with Stillwater Area High School’s newspaper: The Pony Express. The partnership has laid dormant for a few years, and I am excited to bring the program back.

Each month The Gazette will feature work from SAHS students writing for the school’s newspaper.

The Pony Express newspaper program is led by teacher Rachel Steil. She and the students go through a rigorous process of editing the articles. The Gazette will run the pieces as similar (as is possible due to space constraints) to how they were published in the Pony Express.

Steil told me she is thrilled to start working with The Gazette again as a way to highlight students work.

“I think we have a longstanding tradition of community partnership through the high school journalism program,” Steil said. “This partnership gives kids an opportunity to see their writing in a larger platform than what The Pony Express is able to provide. It allows them an opportunity to connect with more community members through their writing, and develop relationships with people beyond just students.”

While I was looking through the students work at the Pony Express’ website to select a few articles to feature this week, I was impressed by the students ability to not just cover what is occurring within the confines of the high school, but to get out and cover the issues in the Stillwater area as well. Steil also told me much of this coverage is now being done virtually because of the pandemic.

I selected one article (running to the left of this intro) that I was particularly impressed with.

The article is about Disney+ film “Clouds.” The movie about Zach Sobiech’s journey with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He died in May 2013, shortly before he would have graduated from SAHS.

What the writer did well was not just write about the movie, but found a compelling angle she could focus on. In this case, the piece features a teacher who has a character based off of him in the film. The story uses that narrative to focus on that teacher and the character he inspired while adding in details of Sobiech’s story and the subsequent film throughout.

I am looking forward to working with Steil, The Pony Express writers, and I am excited to seeing more fantastic journalism written by SAHS students. To see more of these pieces produced by some young and upcoming local reporters, turn to Page 5.

— Gazette Managing Editor Matt DeBow

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