AHS Student Media Attends J-Camp

Arapahoe High School’s journalism staffs travel to CU Boulder to learn from some of the nation’s best yearbook and news-magazine advisors.


As the remnants of 4th of July fireworks went off in neighborhood streets, the Arapahoe Herald news-magazine and Calumet yearbook staffs attended the Rocky Mountain Journalism Camp (J-Camp) at University of Colorado Boulder. 14 editors and staff members from both media staffs committed four days out of their summer solely to growth, hard work and journalism.

The Calumet and Herald staffs sitting around a round table for breakfast on the second day. Photo by Vivianna DeNittis.

J-Camp has influenced the lives and publications of student journalists for over 25 years. The camp director, Nicole Arduini (also the Calumet Yearbook’s Herff Jones representative), takes pride in knowing that students will leave the camp with a deeper knowledge in all aspects of journalism.



The whiteboard next to the Herald staff’s workspace. The board has the product of six hours of work including: first issue brainstorming, new templates and goals for the night. Photo by Maddie Egerton & Becca Schwisow.

The Herald staff dedicated their work hours to planning for the upcoming school year. The co-editor in chiefs, Maddie Egerton and Becca Schwisow, hope to publish six editions of the news-magazine. The leadership team brainstormed an exciting, refreshing look and brand for print. With the help of Tina Barber, Cherokee Trail High School’s yearbook and news-magazine advisor, they stayed calm and collected, while working through frustration, confusion, and late nights. The staff fully planned their first issue for 2017/2018 and cannot wait for their readers to see what they learned at camp.


The Calumet’s Macala Wallace enthusiastically defending the way she holds her camera during the Photo Olympics. Photo by Vivianna Denittis.

Editor and chief of the Calumet staff, Caroline Riley, makes goals for the staff to push limits, seek innovation and maintain a positive, fun work environment. With the mentorship of Carrie Faust, Smoky Hill High School’s journalism advisor, the yearbook staff refined their theme for the upcoming publication. The yearbook staff started writing and creating page designs during their work time at camp. The team is excited to start creating a book that records the school year’s history, while pushing past what they previously defined a yearbook to be.

The Herald’s Maddie Egerton (CO-EIC) laughing during the volleyball tournament. Photo by Vivianna DeNittis.

J-Camp is a stressful environment for everyone. Students set their alarms for six o’clock, then only reset them for the next day at midnight. In between the 18 waking hours, student journalists attend workshops and work sessions. Each workshop and class is crammed with enough information to make heads spin. Arapahoe’s media staffs spent their work hours in small rooms with fluorescent lights that made the hours of the day seem to have no meaning. Students feel like they have to complete entire publications by the end of their time at camp, and sometimes forget to celebrate their victories.

Kyle Clark replying to Becca Schwisow’s tweet while attending J-Camp. Screenshot taken from @arapxtra on Twitter.

While stress seems overbearing, it does not trump the entire time students spend at camp. Both the Calumet and Herald staffs made victories during the four-day weekend that made the intensity worth it. The yearbook staff spent hours trying to refine a theme for the book before finally getting it approved. The Herald felt as though it would be impossible to create a design for their upcoming year of publications before making progress. Becca Schwisow tweeted local news anchor, Kyle Clark, and he replied offering advice to the Arapahoe Media staffs.

From left to right: Tiernan Palmer (Calumet), Austin Schlaver (Calumet), Hayden Pierce (Herald), Declan Palmer (Calumet), performing their epic lip sync to “Don’t Stop Believing.” They called themselves the “‘Sko Warriors” and took home first prize.

During the camp’s first ever lip sync battle, Arapahoe’s very own boy band, the “‘Sko Warriors,” took home the trophy to the beat of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” The Herald staff won a camp-wide Snapchat competition, resulting in a free pizza larger than Arapahoe students can buy from Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta. The Calumet yearbook won “Best Concept” for their plan for next year’s publication

Mr. Anderson, the newspaper and yearbook advisor for Arapahoe High School, posing as photographer, Vivianna DeNittis, tried to figure out her camera settings.

out of all of the yearbook staffs attending J-Camp. The Herald news-magazine took home three awards, including “Best Publication Plan,” for the work they accomplished while attending camp.

Most importantly, student journalists left J-Camp feeling ever more bonded to their peers. The Arapahoe student media staffs left feeling empowered and ready to take on the 2017/2018 school year.


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