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“Senior Sendoff” 2024
CSD Productions, CSD Productions • May 30, 2024

Sharing my voice

I just finished my first year in journalism and here is my year in review
Conner Shelton
This year was a busy one for student journalist, Callie Hobbs. As both a Sports Editor and Opinions Editor, she learned to use the power of her voice in stories, podcasts and photo stories on the Spartan Sentinel.

For the 2023-2024 school year, my high school arts concentration was journalism.

Long story short, it was a long road to get to this point.  Trying new things became really important to me when I entered middle school, so I’ve been in and out of lots of different sports and hobbies during my life. If I tried something and didn’t like it I would move on to something else.

This has been especially true in my high school arts concentrations, as I’ve switched my concentration class every year of high school.

But once I find what I love, I stick with it.

I really believe switching to journalism this past year was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I found that journalism is a very broad skill that can be applied to any field, and it’s also an involvement that provides so many opportunities to see cool places and meet new people.  It allows me to look at my surroundings through a specific lens – one of a storyteller.

Journalism is a tool that gives a voice and brings attention to what’s important to me. I’ve not only learned to write in AP Style but I’ve also learned so many different types of journalism like podcasts, photo essays and social media marketing.

This past year was a busy one.

I either individually produced or contributed to 14 articles, three podcast episodes, two photo stories and one Spartan Questionnaire.

I also participated in two field trips. In the fall, our class went to a journalism conference at Queens University of Charlotte. In the winter, we took a tour of Davidson College’s Belk Arena from a sports communications social media staff person.

At Queens, I was able to choose five journalism learning sessions to attend from a variety of sessions with professional journalists, many of whom  work for the Charlotte Observer. I geared towards sports journalism sessions because I wanted to improve in my Sports Editor job and I learned a lot.

The Davidson field trip opened another new door for me that led to a great opportunity. After the tour ended, I emailed our tour guide and asked if I could job shadow her at two basketball games that season. Not only did I get some experience with the social media type of journalism but I also learned photography and video. The videos I shot sitting courtside at games were posted on the official Davidson Men’s Basketball Instagram account.

In class, I was the Sports Editor and Opinions Editor this past year which have both been really fun jobs.

Along with our team of student journalists, I first wanted to be the Opinions Editor because I thought that would allow me to write movie reviews, which I had done once during the spring break before my first journalism year.  I later learned that not all movie reviews are Opinions pieces and most become Arts & Entertainment features (like my Boys in the Boat movie review Bigger than the boat which started as an Opinions piece but then became a Feature).  I also wrote the CSD musical Feature,  The final curtain closes on CSD’s amazing “Little Shop of Horrors” so I might consider becoming an A&E Editor next year.

I also chose to be a Sports Editor because sports are important to me and I always thought about a career in sports management (before the career interest became journalism).

I went up a steep learning curve as the Sports Editor and I think I’ve really developed a lot in the role.

Once I got my footing, my writing made great progress. My sport season previews and recaps went from being non-existent in some cases (despite making an attempt, I never wrote a fall sports recap) to having become detailed and thorough.

Learning how to find data on sports games took some research. Max Preps is a resource I never used until my winter sports recap entitled Winter Spartan athletes represent, but now it is a great tool I use to write about sports.

I am excited to continue learning, developing and delivering my best sports content next year now that I have a year of experience under my belt.

I’ve been able to write about what’s important to me. I am a runner and both of my cross-country stories, A sweet twist to running and On the (cross-country) run, tell great stories and have a great message.

Another favorite is my kindness article, Random acts of kindness inspire CSD students.

Bringing attention to my favorite sport and most important value gives me a voice, and I tried to give others a voice by never interviewing the same person twice about the same topic. This way I include the widest range of people and incorporate different viewpoints and opinions.

I expected only to write articles in journalism, but I got opportunities to do so much more than that.

Photography was something I’ve never considered trying before, but the two photo essays I produced, Photo story – A look back at Christmas in Davidson 2023 and Photo story – The look of love, and the in-class photography styles unit we learned really piqued my interest in trying out photography (and filmmaking on iMovie) this summer.

Podcasts were also a fun thing to try. I quickly found that interviewing was something in journalism that was out of my comfort zone, so I was very nervous to host my first podcast episode all by myself with the women’s basketball team’s coach and two seniors in Episode 11 – A season to remember – CSD’s Lady Basketball Spartans look back.

Writing in AP Style was a bit of a challenge to learn but I’ve definitely become better at it now. The first time I really hit a turning point in AP Style writing was in my winter sports recap entitled  Winter Spartan athletes represent.

Another time I felt like I produced my best general writing work so far at that point in the year was my Bigger than the boat article.

My younger self who loved to write and set a goal to be a published writer before graduating high school would be amazed to see me publishing journalism articles on a weekly/monthly basis today.

Thanks to all the Spartan Sentinel readers out there – keep reading and stay tuned!  I’ve finally found what I love and next year I’ll be producing my best work yet.

At work in the journalism classroom is rising senior journalist, Callie Hobbs. (Ben Gallagher)
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About the Contributors
Callie Hobbs
Callie Hobbs, Sports Editor. Opinions Editor

Callie Hobbs is a junior at CSD who has been at the school since 4th grade. She joined the journalism team this year for the first time because she loves to write and is creatively inspired by the world around her.

Callie is the junior team captain of CSD’s varsity cross-country team and loves to run on trails and sidewalks/greenways. To Callie, running is an outlet to think things through. Outside of school, Callie enjoys simply relaxing, finding inspiration and dreaming up ideas for creative projects and spending time with family.

“The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”  -John Bingham

Conner Shelton
Conner Shelton, Sports Editor. Podcast Editor

Conner Shelton is a junior at the Community School of Davidson and is returning to journalism for a second year because he wants to  further his skills by interviewing more people and exploring different types of journalistic writing. He looks forward to meeting new people and gaining knowledge on how to become the best journalist possible. 

Conner loves to play baseball and is a member of the school’s baseball team. In his free time he loves to hangout with friends, workout and play with his dog, Charley. He has one sister who is in the 7th grade and is on the middle school volleyball team. His favorite subject is chemistry. Why? Conner enjoys the hard work and dedication that the subject takes to master.

"Hard work and dedication set the foundation for achievement." -  Wander Franco

Ben Gallagher
Ben Gallagher, Editor-in-Chief

Ben Gallagher, a junior, has been at CSD since eighth grade. In his third year of journalism, he hopes to improve his interviewing skills, cover new topics and see stories through different angles. 

While at school, Ben loves to play volleyball in the gym and learn about our nation’s past in AP US History. He is also looking forward to starting English and Psychology now in eleventh grade. He plays football as a wide receiver and is a middle infielder and outfielder in baseball for the Spartans. One of his favorite memories was freshman year when Matthew Ferguson hit a walkoff three run homer against Trinity High School to send CSD to the state regional finals.

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” - Lewis Caroll 


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