By now you’ve seen the viral graphic reminding you that a student’s last normal school experience was three grades ago. In fact, current high school seniors are the only students in their high schools who have experienced a "normal" high school day.

If you don’t have a high schooler in your life, you may not have thought twice about what that looks like, but for Wareham High School, it’s looked like a defunct student-run newspaper. It's just one of the many clubs and activities across the SouthCoast that have been impacted by the pandemic.

But this year, the 11 students enrolled in Wareham High School's newspaper club are hoping to get the Viking Times back up and running, with a goal of publishing four editions through the academic year. Like any school club, the goal is not possible without fundraising to support it. With a goal of printing four editions, the approximate cost of bringing the Viking Times back to life is $1,000.

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High school newspapers have always been a way to give students a voice, and it's a voice that has been missing. John Flynn has been the newspaper club advisor for the last 18 years and said this year, he was pleasantly surprised to see a significant bump in interest.

“The Viking Times helps the students have a voice in our school and community. They write news, features about events that have a long lasting impact on the student body; this year my reporters are writing about the new elementary school, COVID vaccinations, and the new e-haul pass system," he said.

They're also learning more than just straight news reporting.

"For features, they write about new teachers, retiring teachers, clubs and senior profiles among other ideas. For opinions, students are currently writing about the dress code, the Texas abortion controversy, as well as doing an advice column," he said. "For sports, they want to write about our school football and soccer teams as well as having homecoming again after a long hiatus. Finally, for arts and entertainment, students like to write movie reviews, product reviews, restaurant reviews as well as school play and concert previews and reviews."

Flynn said it was disheartening not having any students graduate last year with the experience of working on the paper.

“They may never venture into this field in college or think to explore it as a career possibility. It also just helps students become better writers and responsible citizens. Newspapers and the freedom of the press are the cornerstone of our democracy and that has been made abundantly clear in recent times," he said.

Flynn is hoping to be able to provide that for the current batch of students.

"I am excited that these students can experience the importance of having a voice on a smaller level, and I hope to teach them the responsibility that comes with having that voice," he said. "I also hope this experience will inspire my students to pay more attention and be more active in the world around them.”

The Wareham High School Newspaper Club is just one of the many groups who have entered our inaugural Boosting with Pride campaign. They will compete to win a cash prize to help boost its fundraising efforts.

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