Voice Recognition

Chenango Valley Central School District News Article

Student-Run Magazine Pilot Program Takes Flight

Valley Unveiled Magazine Cover
Read “Valley Unveiled” Magazine: Click Here

A group of motivated Chenango Valley Middle and High School students worked together to create a magazine that productively and respectfully addresses various political topics impacting our community, nation, and the world. Their publication, “Valley Unveiled,” was made possible thanks to Happy Medium, an independent, non-partisan publication run by Binghamton University students. Through this project, participants aimed to foster a climate of understanding and intellectual growth by encouraging open dialogue and offering various perspectives.

Binghamton University students Trevor Fornara and Amanda Escotto introduced the CV students to this pilot program. Working in consultation with faculty advisor Dr. Heather Dorn, Fornara acted as executive editor, and Escotto was the lead editor.

writing workshop

As Fornara and Escotto led workshops on research and copy-editing approaches, the CV students learned about the writing process and ethical journalism. This would culminate in the creation of a 32-page magazine with topics ranging from the impact of consumerism to the importance of beauty in architecture. With a mix of thought-provoking articles, engaging visuals, and insightful perspectives, the magazine became a platform for the students to express their creativity and empower their voices.

Throughout the creation of the magazine, participants gained valuable insights into the writing process and fact-checking. Equipped with the insight of their Binghamton University mentors, the CV High School student editors have expanded their knowledge on critical thinking skills and journalistic integrity. They will play an instrumental role in running and expanding the program for their peers who express interest in participating next school year.

“It goes without saying that students involved in ‘Valley Unveiled’ showed growth in their writing. It is just as important to note the other areas students exhibited growth: collaborating with peers, decision-making, perseverance, time management, and leadership skills. Involvement in this process has provided students with a tremendous opportunity to develop skills that will follow them into their future endeavors,” said Chenango Valley educator and supervisor Angelina Schoonmaker.

In addition to providing the high school students with valuable skills that will help them succeed in their future writing endeavors, the process and skills learned throughout this project will help participants working to achieve the New York State Seal of Civic Readiness, a formal recognition that a student has attained a high level of proficiency in terms of civic knowledge, civic skills, civic mindset, and civic experiences.

“It is crucial for students growing up in the world today to have the tools to be civically engaged as citizens of their community. Part of productive civic engagement, in my mind, includes the ability to decipher political media and make rational decisions about what one’s beliefs are. With an abundance of access to political content available online, the capacity to recognize credible information and analyze it to form an opinion about pertinent issues is a necessary skill. This initiative is designed to guide students in this process and teach them how to properly formulate an argument and back it up with evidence,” said Escotto.

While the CV students certainly gained a lot through this initiative, they were not alone. 

“Involvement in the creation of ‘Valley Unveiled’ has been beyond rewarding. When stepping into this project, we were unsure what exactly to expect from the students, but over the weeks, they really proved their passion for journalism. I wish all the students well as they take these skills into their future careers, and I am beyond excited to see where they take ‘Valley Unveiled’ from here,” Escotto added.

In other exciting news, as part of other awards earned by Happy Medium at the 2023 Binghamton Student Awards Gala, the group received the “Excellence in Community Engagement Award” specifically for their work with Chenango Valley.

Although the pilot program has wrapped up, the bond built between Happy Medium representatives and Chenango Valley students remains strong. We wish all student writers the best as they continue to expand their skills and insight.

Magazine on display

Physical copies of the magazine were released in the CV Middle/High School on June 1. In addition, the student participants celebrated the exciting accomplishment of their magazine creation at an event at Binghamton University on May 31.

students at magazine celebration

Congratulations to all involved!

Ashland Craig
Arin Miller
Becca Pospisil

*Featured Writers:
Natalia Dithrich
Miles Garnar
Ava Jessup
Kayden Stalker

Additional CV participants:
Carter Bowen
Giavanna Bucci
Nikhil Datta
Holden David
John Fitzgerald
Sydney Keough
Owen Stafford

*CV Faculty Advisors:
Oliver Kammerman
Angelina Schoonmaker

*Happy Medium
Amanda Escotto - Lead Editor
Trevor Fornara - Executive Editor
Briana Lopez-Patino - Executive Editor
Arwen O’Brien - Executive Editor
Bryan Goodman - Political Director
Dr. Heather Dorn - Faculty Advisor
Designed by Jade Kirdahy

*The magazine was published by Happy Medium and funded through a grant from the Binghamton University Center for Civic Engagement.

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