CAEC helps JHS news site continue building comeback

Published 11:50 am Friday, February 17, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Panther Pride School Newspaper is back and the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative gave a grant to Jemison High School to help facilitate it back into prominence. CAEC awarded Ronnie Holsombeck, journalism teacher at JHS, funding as a part of this year’s Bright Ideas Grant Program.

“We appreciate CAEC doing that for us, and it always helps to have community partners involved with our schools,” Holsomback said.

It had been several years since JHS had its school newspaper in circulation. Holsombeck spoke with Principal Kendall Jackson about possibly starting a journalism class, and the last school year was the first for the class. The school newspaper is online right now, and the grant will help expand upon the base the JHS journalism students have already built. Holsombeck said he is very thankful for Jackson’s support and help in securing the grant for the students.

“We are still in the early stages, but the grant allows us to build on what we have put together so far with our online paper,” Holsombeck said. “What we are hoping for is to get a little higher tech, incorporate video into the online paper.”

The Bright Ideas Grant Program has a goal “of supporting innovative, interesting and effective initiatives that school funding does not usually cover,” according to the press release. CAEC awarded over $25,000 in grants this year to fund 30 projects in 24 different schools in its service area.

“When I applied for the grant we were in the even earlier stages of creating (the website) and we talk every day about where we want to go with it,” Holsombeck said. “This will give us more options with having some money in the account.”

Holsombeck said he and the JHS students want to create a studio-style setting where sit-down interviews with teachers, administrators and coaches can happen. He also plans on getting some video editing software as well with the grant.

This was Holsombeck’s first time securing a grant from CAEC, and he applied because he saw something that had a need — the Panther Pride Newspaper.

“We hope to keep this thing growing and going in a positive direction and get some positive news out there about JHS because there are a lot of great things going on around here,” Holsombeck said. “Hopefully within a year or two it will become everything we want it to be.”

More than 130,000 students have been positively impacted through $376,000 in funding since the creation of the Bright Ideas Grant Program. The application process for the 2024 Bright Ideas Grant Program will begin in September of this year.