The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns considers it extremely important to offer students the broadest possible range of academic opportunities in order to foster creativity and expose them to different areas of study. With so many college students pursuing majors in journalism, marketing or communications, the district is giving students in the Middle and High Schools a taste of these important fields of study. Specifically, SHMS students have the opportunity to take a Digital Journalism class in eighth grade, while SHHS students have been participating in the production of Sleepy Hollow Radio.
The Digital Journalism class is taught by 8th grade ELA teacher Melissa Aragona. During the class, students learn the basics of digital journalism, including conducting and then writing up interviews, then spend the rest of the class gaining hands-on experience by working on the Hollow, SHMS’s monthly digital magazine. The magazine include interviews, polls spotlighting library features and even a pro/con debate column. Students choose which section they want to work on at the beginning of each month.
“It’s been really rewarding to see what ideas the students have for the magazine and the ownership they take of it,” said Ms. Aragona. “I love seeing how invested they are in deciding what section to work on next and seeing them work together, compliment their peers, and help them out when necessary.”
SHMS recently received grant money to fund additional camera and video equipment for the students. This equipment will allow students to expand the photo and video sections of the Hollow.
“[This class] has given me an insight into the art of journalism and what goes on behind the scenes,” said eighth-grader Ava Mendez. “I get to work with my peers and have fun while also finding a passion for something I’ve never done before. I think this is an opportunity that everyone should have!”
At Sleepy Hollow High School students have the opportunity to be part of a BMI-licensed high school internet radio station that can be heard around the world. Sleepy Hollow Radio (SHR) was founded in 2020 and is supervised by teacher Michael Frank. SHR features music, sports, literature, radio drama and interviews. While Mr. Frank offers ideas and assistance when needed, he makes it very clear that the students are the ones doing the majority of the work.
“The current Advanced Class Morning Show crew have been amazing and have approached the interviews with such professionalism,” he said. “All I’ve had to do is sit back and record.”
Just recently, SHR had perhaps their biggest feature yet: an interview with Tony Awards winning actor Bill Irwin. The interview was conducted by Madison Morgan and Margaret Andruss from SHR’s Morning Show. Madison and Margaret agreed that, despite him being such a huge celebrity, the interview was as fun and laid-back as it was informative.
“[Bill] didn’t really have much of a ‘celebrity’ feel to him,” said Madison. “He was super nice and made us feel very comfortable. Even though I knew he was a celebrity, he didn’t feel ‘above us’ in any way.”
“The funniest part was when we told him our high school is in the intro of the series Sleepy Hollow,” added Margaret. “He didn’t know that, even though he is in the show himself!”