Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Davis’

Cactus Canyon’s online newspaper was awarded a CSPA Gold Crown Award on March 17.

By Skyler Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon online school newspaper, the Cougar News Blog, has won a Gold Crown Award that is given by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Winners were announced March 17 and the Cougar News Blog was one of two middle schools to earn a gold.
     The award is one of the most prestigious in student journalism. About 1,100 publications were judged from junior high, high school, and college levels. Only about 250 Crowns were awarded, including just 86 gold.
     The CSPA announced in November that the blog would earn a Crown, but adviser Jason Davis did not know if it would be a gold or silver. Davis was both pleased and shocked to learn that his blog had won the Gold Crown.
     “I was shocked and I shouted, ‘We got a gold!’ when I heard,” Davis said. “I found out while watching the presentation on Facebook. I was pretty sure we were going to get silver, so I actually watched them call our name a few times before I heard them announce the award.”
     Students were also joyed to learn that their hard work had paid off.
     “I feel like my hard work has paid off because it helped make us get recognized and get the higher crown award,” eighth grader Kylee Demauro said. “It also made me more motivated to try harder so we can win again next year.”
     Davis is proud of his students, but also said there is now more pressure to win again. He expects students to work even harder and to keep improving.
     “Students worked very hard over the last year to earn a Crown and it is so wonderful to see all that work pay off,” Davis said. “But it’s kind of like a coach who wins the Super Bowl; you enjoy it for a little bit and then start thinking about the next one.”
     Davis has been trying to strengthen the writing that is put on the blog. He only wants the best for his writers and has changed his teaching in some ways, including making new groups that include veteran and new staff members.
     “It gives the students that have been around a while a chance to take a leadership role on their team and learn more about writing by teaching it,” Davis said. “Within that format, we’ve created incentives for everyone in the group to meet their deadlines and turn in their best work.”
     The blog features photography from yearbook staff members and stories written by students in the advanced journalism course. Davis said he’s glad students choose to be staff members because he knows there are elective classes that are easier and more fun.
     “They do incredible work,” he said. “Not a lot of junior-high students are interested in putting in the time and effort it takes to be a good student journalist, but these kids put in the work and it shows.”

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

By Mya Palomino
Cougar News Blog

     A new addition has been added to the morning announcements – video. In order to help more students be engaged with the news, the Journalism 2 students are recording the segments each day for the following morning.
     The announcements are now online for teachers to play and for students to view. The Pledge of Allegiance and school pledge are still done at before the video, as are any announcements that were added after filming was completed during fourth hour.
     Although the announcements are student recorded, they are being edited by adviser Jason Davis for now, but they are aimed to be done by just the students soon. This project will hopefully help students in their speaking and presenting standards.
     “While there are no traditional English or math standards associated with this project,” said Davis, “Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards include speaking and presenting.”
     The production has also gotten better with a more efficient set and better, more professional graphics. There was also a teleprompter added to help students look at the camera more often. Mr. Davis said he expects the videos will get better throughout the year.
     “Our reporters have come a long way already,” said Marie-Wilbur, seventh grade teacher. “They are starting to look at the camera and we as an audience get to see their faces.”
     There are many benefits to the announcements now. Not only do students get to feel what journalism is about, this is a way for the world to know that our school has many great opportunities. It’s also a better way for students to pay attention to the announcements.
     “I feel like students pay attention a lot more now,” said eighth grader Hannah Molino. “Everyone is quiet since it’s a video and they pay attention more so it’s easier to get information to our students now.”

Preparing to hang up a poster advertising the fall dance, seventh grader Jordan Digos tapes a rip in the paper. (Photo by Kashmir Baillie)

Preparing to hang up a poster advertising the fall dance, seventh grader Jordan Digos tapes a rip in the paper. (Photo by Kashmir Baillie)

By Zachary Grattan
Cougar News Blog

     This year’s November dance has quite a twist. The dance this year will not be the normal Halloween dance that students all know – in fact, it won’t be a Halloween dance at all. It will be a Fall dance with a Charlie Brown theme. This will be taken place in the school’s gym on Nov. 10. It will be from 6:15 to 8 p.m. The ticket will be $5 at the door, but if students wish to get in 15 minutes early then swing on by the Student Council room at lunch.
     This big change from a very well known dance is not just to mix things up. It’s because it was the least attended dance at CCJH, and it been descending each year.
     “The Halloween dance has always been our lowest attended dance of the year, sometimes by over 100 students,” said Student Council adviser Jason Davis. “I don’t know why, but my guess is that people don’t come because they think they are required to wear a costume. So now we need to try something different and hope it works out.”
     Low attendance means that student council can’t make the money to support groups, projects and other things in the school. The student council uses the fundraiser, for academics, extracurricular classes and a little bit of everything.
     This will mean that students are no longer allowed to dress up at all. Mr. Davis said that some students are disappointed about not being able to wear their costume, but StuCo did have to make this change to increase attendance.
     “I hope it benefits us by getting more students in the door. These dances are our major fundraisers for the year,” said Mr. Davis. “We pay for our leadership trips and give money to a lot of groups and projects around campus and we can’t keep doing that if no one comes to our dances.”
     StuCo is offering Krispy kreme donuts, pretzels, and some new games which they hope will get people to buy some tickets.

By Megan Ash
Cougar News Blog

      Something new that the Yearbook staff is doing is lowering the price. Now through the 17th of November, students can order their yearbook for $29, which is $1 off the current price and a $6 savings off the regular price.
      Also with that low price students can get an invite to the root beer-float party that they will be throwing. At that party students can meet with Carlos the Cougar.
      “We are offering a price that’s less than what we pay Lifetouch to have them printed. The books will only be $29 during this two-week period and will be $30 until Christmas break,” said yearbook adviser Jason Davis. “After the new year, they go up to $35. And those who buy before January gets to come to the end-of-the-year signing party.”
      It is important for the group to sell as many books as they can because they order 310 books and need to pay for them before the end of the school year. When students pay the price of $30 they are not getting charged the original price of the book. One book from lifetouch costs about $32.
      “We offer promotions because we need to sell books. The reason we make it is so people will buy it and enjoy it. It’s not the most fun part of being in yearbook, but it is necessary,” said Davis.
      To get the word out, the staff is trying many different things. It is on the morning announcements. Also during the seventh and eighth grade lunch Carlos the Cougar is walking around and pass out flyers.
      “I tell all my friends to buy a book so they can go have fun with me. We need to pay Lifetouch lots of money,” said seventh grader Isabella Vasquez.