The Golden Aquila: Our First Newspaper
An Overview of the school's recent newspaper
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As few students know, The Talon is not our first attempt at creating a newspaper. Running from the 80s to the late 90s, The Golden Aquila was a buzzing and friendly hub for students by students to keep up to date with the school and community around it.
There are a striking number of differences between the two papers, one especially being that the Aquila was an actual newspaper distributed across the school. It was printed on eight pages in black and white on thick stock paper, where editions go as far back as the 80s.
“I remember a small table between the doors of the cafeteria where we could come by and pick them up,” reminisces alumni and math teacher, Mrs. Olsen. “And we were so excited to read them because there wasn’t a social media back then.”
Akin to a small hometown paper, topics of the Aquila mainly discuss the events and people that leave a lasting impact on the area.
Within the features section an article describes the achievements of class graduate of ‘85, Nick Sadler. It lists in vivid detail the variety of acting roles from the stage to the big screen, such as the Oscar-winning Scent of a Woman, where Sadler is depicted as a prep school student. Today, he is still at work at the craft as a writer and director in New York.
“I don’t believe we were as organized as a staff as what you guys have here. It was more of a ‘write about the things that interest you kinda thing’,” said Ben Goessling, current ESPN sports writer and former student. “Whereas you have beats and areas of cover… everybody has a department they work in, everybody has something to cover. That’s how a real newspaper works.”
He went on to explain that since the paper published only once a month, it was difficult to discuss the performance of any one game and have that be relevant to people the same time next month. (Ironically, Goessling himself rarely reported on a sport or specific game his senior year.) However, as sparingly sports articles were published in the 90s, nearly half the newspaper in the 80s were taken up with sports.
News especially centered around the school district rather than other worldly topics. Another article describes a student entering a foreign exchange program to France for nearly a year and the steps to do the same; another portrays a student who was blinded in a drunk driving accident and tells his story, warning students not to follow in his footsteps.
What else the two papers have in common are the categories to which articles belong (a features section, news, sports, arts) but in addition to those are several features which we do not have. Of these, Aquila hosts a trending topic for each issue, such as ‘Inside: Don’t Steal This!’, that had been the talk of the town the month before. This specific issue had several articles on the topic, such as Community Theft, Theft in the Parking Lot, or Theft in School.
“These could have been about anything, whatever the topic could have been,” Goessling explained. “If you find it interesting or if its topical to what you were talking about, you would print it.”
In addition, a feature one can only find in the Aquila is Limelight, where students are asked a short yet thoughtful question provided by a staff writer. Along with their answer is their name, grade, and snapshot of themselves that appear on its own page of the paper. There were also illustrations, comics provided by our own students to aid the visual quality of relating articles. Many were very funny, some from issues describing political opinions of a depth startling to have come from another teen artist. Goessling recognized one character portrayed in a comic as a former AVHS math teacher. It brought a sense of excitement and nostalgic laughter revisiting an old memory as any other adult would find returning to old, hometown neighborhood.
“The technology had changed so much in terms of printing, layout and the fact that you can design a website in a matter of minutes…” Goessling also mentioned, “It makes a big difference in how these look. There wasn’t the stuff around to publish like there is now.”
Uncovering these past volumes reveals a sophistication and attention to facts such as what we can see with the high standard in writing of today’s articles. After time journalism became less of an extracurricular activity for these students and more of a duty to report facts to the student body.The step further today’s paper has taken with the aid of technology opens up the world to each of us every time we would check Twitter or Facebook for a staff update.
Like the predecessors of The Golden Aquila, we have stayed true to relaying the facts of today while maintaining the same professional but warm tone as they had laid out for us, keeping watch and soaring above us.