MIDLOTHIAN – The Jaguar Media student-run, student-led scholastic journalism organization at Midlothian’s Heritage High recently won a number of awards for its excellence in journalism.
According to Rachel Kidder, Jaguar Media Advisor the organization is split into four teams: yearbook, photography, newspaper, and A/V.
“The students are responsible for publishing the yearbook, a news site (theroarhhs.com), a weekly news show, a weekly podcast, and UIL Film,” Kidder explained. “In addition to their publications, they also compete in numerous state and national contests.”
The school’s UIL Journalism team, which is part of the UIL Academics program, is made up of students from both the newspaper and yearbook teams.
UIL Regional Meet Awards
Within the program Maxie Eller won 2nd place in Feature Writing & 3rd Place in News Writing, Avery Myers won 2nd place in Copy Editing and Eller, Myers, Julia Alley, McGlauthon Fleming IV, and Kate Maddison also took home a 2nd place award in the category of journalism team excellence.
The students were awarded for their work at the UIL Regional Meet on April 23, 2022.
Jaguar Media was founded in 2015 with just eight students producing the yearbook, news site, and a weekly news show.
“Over the years, the program has grown as Heritage has grown,” Kidder added. “We restructured after a few years to add a weekly podcast and add more multimedia content to our news site.”
Currently there are 37 students involved in the media program, but about 43 students are expected to take part during the next school year.
Kidder said this was the first year to advance students in all five journalism UIL events from district to region.
The Future of Journalism
Myers who is the 2022-2023 Newspaper Editor-in-Chief said, “Going to state means a lot to me because it shows me that all the work I’m doing has paid off and it gives me the motivation to continue being a part of journalism in the future.”
Myers came from an out-of-state school where the newspaper team included three people he said, forcing him to learn on his own.
“At Heritage, it’s the complete opposite and I’ve learned a lot because of my encouraging peers and teacher,” he added.
Eller, who was the Newspaper Editor-in-Chief in 2021-2022 said “Going to state means that I actually know what I’m doing and am good at writing journalistically. It’s nice to know that my efforts over the last few years haven’t been in vain. I want to continue working in journalism, so it will be a great way to meet others with that passion and knowledge.”
Eller has been a part of Jaguar Media since she moved to Heritage High in her sophomore year. She said she felt being in a leadership position means she has had the chance to directly influence how the staff and program has changed.
“I enjoy working with such an amazing staff and having Mrs. Kidder as a teacher,” Eller added. “It’s definitely going to be hard to leave behind at graduation this year.”
This was the first time more than one journalism student from Heritage High was competing in the state competition.
“They are so dedicated to their craft, and I have loved watching them grow in their writing skills,” Kidder concluded.