026 is Movin’ On Up

I thought it would be best to write a post and explain it here rather than try to convey the message on Twitter in 140 characters or some overly long Facebook post that would break a world record.

The news: 026 is relocating.

The journalism program at FHN will be moving out of the basement, into a great space across from the library on the main floor of the building.

I’m excited for change ahead and I have no doubt the move, while different, will be a great thing for the program.

The original idea was actually mine. I take full responsibility for it. While our 026 journalism space has been great to us for the 15 years I’ve been at North and prior to my arrival, times have changed and the space is not what’s best for the program. We will be moving all of our journalism classes to a unified space on the main floor of the building across from the library. We will be taking up 105, 105A, 131 and 129. All production classes and intro journalism courses will be held in this space. The move is great for a number of reasons including:

  • This will allow the program to have one, common space. Currently, the journalism classes are spread between two floors in different parts of the building.
  • The new space will allow the program to be more visible in the school.
  • The new space will allow for some technologies to be taught that were not possible in 026.
  • The new space will allow for the production and introductory courses the ability to work together more frequently.
  • The move gives us a chance to rethink how we’ve been doing things and reimagine how we could be doing them even better.

The decision was not a quick or easy one to make. There’s a comfort factor around 026, there’s a history around 026, there’s a brand built around 026.

Trust me. I get it.

When it came down to it though, I had to put the personal feelings aside and push for what I thought was the best for the program.

I know many graduates of the program will have a tough time imagining the program not in 026.

If you think about it though, 026 is not really a place. It’s more of an idea and a way of being.

The cinder block windowless walls weren’t what made it a special place, it’s the fact that all students from any social group or standing are allowed to be a part of things. Want to be a journalist someday? Come on in. Planning to be a chemical engineer? Come on in. Team captain? Come on in. New student to St. Charles? Come on in. In band? Come on in. Not in anything? Come on in. Not sure what you want to do but willing to work? Come on in. Looking to make a friend? Come on in.

Somehow, all those different people have continually found a way to work together toward the good of the collective group and make some amazing things happen.

Still not convinced it’s not the space?

You can’t tell me the crudely covered counter tops were what you loved about 026. Yes, they gave the place character, but what you appreciated most was Rule #1 of the room: Be good to others. The goal of that rule is a simple one. Be kind to your neighbors and take care of them. It wasn’t the countertops reaching out to someone who was having a bad day, it was a staffer. It wasn’t the pineapple counches that were banding together to ‘sing’ to someone who brought treats, it was the collective team.

Still not on board yet?

Well, you can’t tell me it was the room’s brown home ec cabinets that made 026 what it was. You know as well as I do it’s not that. Remember when you were a newbie and came into the room and how weird it was. A student was leading class each day while the adviser sat there and took attendance. The terms and language being used didn’t seem to make any sense and you thought you’d never pick It up. Indesign had too many options. The AP stylebook had too many rules. You had no idea why someone was standing on a table and people were scream-singing to them. No, the cabinets didn’t take care of you as a newbie. It was the oldbies and editors who did. They answered your countless questions. They helped guide you when they saw you were getting off track. They gave you a pat on the back to let you know you were doing just fine and going to be ok. And, before you knew it, you were an oldbie, taking some newbie under your wing and making sure they got accustomed to things just like you did.

Again, 026 isn’t a place, it’s a way of being.

I hope you’re replicating an 026 wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

So, there you go. We will no longer be in the space dubbed 026 by the building map, but 026 and all it represents will be moving upstairs with us to our new-to-us space. Rest assured, we no doubt will find a way to keep 026 a part of the new digs.

Jordyn Kiel (Klackner) the yearbook adviser has been a great partner through this as we have bounced plans and ideas off of one another since the beginning. She’s looking just as forward to the changes as I am. I also want to thank my department head Shelly Parks, Associate Principal Katie Greer and Principal Andy Downs for their support through all this. They were all integral in helping to make this happen and their continued support for scholastic journalism is something I am grateful for on a daily basis.

So, that’s the news. It’s a great opportunity for the students. It’s a great opportunity for the program. And I feel it’s going to be a great move for all of FHN.

You’ll have to drop by and see the new setup in the fall once we settled. You’re always welcome back, whether we are in 026…105…or wherever the path takes us.

If you’d like, here are a couple 360 photos of 026.