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Home Sweet Classroom

Chassis Hoepker, News & InDepth Editor

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Productive. Chaotic. Home. In a room where a ringing phone is common, the door is always open and championships are won, students complete more than the traditional school work. They create products that are seen by people around the community and the world.

The pressures and responsibilities associated with having one’s work on display for others, along with the room that has been a welcoming space for over 40 years has turned hundreds of students into a journalism family.

While at school seven hours a day, students often develop their home away from home. For at least a quarter of the high school, the journalism room is that place.

There are many factors that allow students to relieve stress or feel at home in the classroom. In the journalism room there are several options for seating. These options allow students to find the best to help them work at their best level and allow them to be comfortable.

In half of room 208, regular school desks are available for more traditional lectures, while at the other end of the room, there are couches for a more relaxed atmosphere. Around the room, each desktop computer has a rolling chair which allows students to design and help each other when additional opinions or advice are needed. The round table in the center of the classroom ties everything together much like the dining room table in many homes. It is often used for group meetings and “family” dinners. The purpose of the different seating options throughout the room is so students can feel comfortable while being productive and accomplishing their work on time.

“My favorite place to sit in my second home, the journalism classroom, is at the meeting table,” Calvin Schoendaller, so., newspaper editor, said. “I love being able to talk and interact with my peers and adviser while working on newspaper. It is so nice to be able to bounce ideas off of each other while we sit around the table working. We also use this table as a dinner table at work nights sometimes. Having food nearby while working is always a great option.”

The journalism classroom is different than other more traditional rooms. There is a stress reliever room, which is actually the old dark room, attached to the journalism classroom. This room has a mini-kitchen which allows staff members to bring food to store in the mini-fridge each day for lunch while also having the capability to heat it up with the available microwave. It is not uncommon to see multiple people eating lunch in the classroom while also working on projects.

“Having access to the appliances in our mini-kitchen is nice because it allows me to bring lunch, a homemade meal, to school which makes me feel at home,” Kailey Wolken, jr., photography and yearbook editor, said. “I have a hidden drawer of snacks at my desk that I have access to all day which is also really convenient. For me, with my love for food, I enjoy being able to make popcorn or any other snacks to help me work better while in my second home.”

Not only does the physical classroom feel like a second home to students but, Kim Isbell, journalism adviser, helps accomplish this “at home” welcoming feel as well. Isbell is known as a “second mom” to many students while at school. She is always available to help students with anything that might be happening in their lives, while also making sure the department meets deadlines and accomplishes its goals.

“We are a family in my classroom so it makes sense that many students would feel like it is a home away from home,” Isbell said. “I try to create a safe zone for my students where they know they can come work, hang out, be themselves and be a part of a team.”

When “Jerds”, a term they refer to themselves as, have a free hour from a different class, the journalism room is the go-to place for them. When students are stressed or need support, they know this department and the family they have within it will help them get through the day. Whether it is tears, screaming, dancing or laughing, this emotional classroom is the place to be for many students. The reassurance given by Isbell and classmates is sometimes all it takes to get your work done on time.

Morgan Lea

“Mrs. Isbell’s classroom definitely is a home away from home for me, and I’m not even in one of her classes anymore,” Hannah Hudlin, sr., past staff member, said. “At any time, I know I can go into the dark room where there is complete privacy just like my bedroom at home and talk to anyone when I’m having a good day or stressful day. I consider Mrs. Isbell my mom away from home; she has made a huge impact on my life which is one reason I love coming into this room.”

Editors compete in a dip off while making final edits to the newspaper.

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Home Sweet Classroom