From nothing to everything


Shilo Criswell

The newspaper staff with Bobby Hawthorne after winning the Silver Star award at ILPC later in the month. (L-R) Junior Jack Densmore, senior Claire Kyllonen, senior Siandhara Bonnet, Bobby Hawthorne, advisor Danielle Bell, sophomore Austin Graham, and senior Caroline Cravens.

by Siandhara Bonnet, Editor-in-Chief

It wasn’t a guarantee; nothing ever is, but this certainly wasn’t. Not for The Roar. Quietly sitting amongst loud schools, screaming, cheering, making jokes, knowing that they would be presented with an award. But not for the five journalists with blank faces. Don’t get your hopes up, they had been told, so they didn’t. Everything was empty. Missing. And it began, their hearts skipping a beat in unison. A legend took the stage and began to present award after award. And they weren’t mentioned; next. And then their name rang throughout the auditorium, echoing, but there was still doubt. It wasn’t erased until the defining name, Leander, followed the publication, and then it was real. Screams let out from the five seats occupied by the staff, eyes nearly swelling with tears, quiet satisfaction from the Editor-in-Chief, a stifled sob from the advisor. They did it – what they had worked for, what they had cried and bled for, was finally in reach.

The staff of The Roar earned an Interscholastic League Press Conference (ILPC) Silver Star April 18. The online newspaper was judged based on the past school year up to April 5.

“It’s a goal I never thought I would have,” senior Editor-in-Chief Siandhara Bonnet said. “Something I never thought I’d be doing, and I’m doing it. I have dreams and a goal, and it wasn’t planned that way.”

Two days filled with lessons and new beginnings, ideas that could improve not only the paper, but the journalist; a new experience.

“The convention and the presenters like John Moore, Kevin Robbins, and Scott Ladd helped me get a perspective that I had never seen,” junior staff writer Jack Densmore said, “and they taught me many great things about journalism that I will definitely use in my journalism career.”

The Bronze Star winners were announced, and The Roar was not mentioned. Hope dwindled down. It was the first year, so there wasn’t much hope to begin with. Silver Stars began and the first name called wasn’t theirs, but the second was.

“I thought we were basically done for that year; I thought I would have to just be happy with the nomination, which is just a great accomplishment in itself,” senior Assistant Editor Claire Kyllonen said. “But when we were the second name to be called, the first thing I did was squeal, and then look to my advisor. I saw her crying and I was immediately filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment, and after that I focused on not tipping over in my heels to get the award.”

The three editors made their way down the long path toward the stage, a silver star shining its light the entire walk. The smiles on their faces lasted until they were finally on their way home and they were allowed to rest, at last.

“All I ever wanted was to have people say to me, ‘oh yeah, I read that on The Roar,’ because that’s what counts,” senior Assistant Editor Caroline Cravens said. “It’s great to win a lot of awards, but if the student body doesn’t care to read, watch, see what’s on our site then I have no reason to publish.”

For the past two years, under the leadership of advisor Danielle Bell and Bonnet, the staffs of 2013-2015 worked diligently, trying to make the website the best they possibly could.

“I’d say all thanks to Mrs. Bell,” Cravens said. “[She] really looked into a lot of conventions and training to get us to improve our site. I guess some of my favorite additions would have to be the use of social media sites to aid our site, such as Twitter and Instagram. It’s something our readers really enjoy and benefit from.”

Content came first, looks second, neither easy.

“We needed more than anything to become better-quality writers, so we simply set out to do that,” Kyllonen said. “We needed multi media; we needed better captions. Whatever needed doing, we simply told our staff and they did.”

For the students that had found a love in something that they never considered, it was overwhelming; a nearly impossible dream had come true.

“Newspaper is my home and my staff is my family,” Densmore said. “It’s always great to see your family be recognized for their greatness.”

With a staff of eight in comparison to those above 20, reaching to 80, they have made anything a possibility.

“The only thing we fall short in is number,” Bonnet said. “Our incredible talent, dedication, and determination has taken us to the best level, and I couldn’t be more proud.”