Thursday, June 1, 2017



Being successful in the Media and Journalism class at Washingtonville High School is no easy task.  There is no denying that the class is arduous and time consuming.  On the other hand, the sense of accomplishment that the class brings to each student makes it worthwhile.  For the juniors planning to tackle the class next year, here is some advice to get you through a fun, but challenging course. 


Saying that deadlines are important for this course is an understatement. In fact, they are probably the most important part of this class. If students don’t meet the Thursday deadline each week, there are no extensions.  If a piece of work is not in by Thursday afternoon, it will not be put on BGTV, the blog or iTunes.  Thus, students are forced to manage their  time wisely and have stories planned well in advance. This actually works in favor of the students because they aren’t rushing to get their assignments in on time.

Another important tip for upcoming seniors is to be respectful. Students will be spending every single day together, so getting along is important. If there is negative energy in the class, everyone suffers and the final product each week won’t be as credible. Students work together every week to create a product for the whole school to view;  this should be a fun experience. Keep the drama out of this class. 

Being organized in this class is a must. Students in the class make use of a giant blue clipboard that displays what everyone is doing each week.  The class of 2017 even created a bigger version on the whiteboard located in the studio which has been a lifesaver.  Production usually runs  smoothly because the class in its entirety is organized.   In staying organized and communicating effectively, there should be no duplicate stories, which is something that should be avoided at all costs. 

Students interested in this class need to be able to use their imaginations as much as possible.  Coming up with topics to cover each week often poses a problem when nothing appears to be going on.  That is what is known as a “dry week.” Despite this, students still have to come up with stories.  There are no free passes;  if there is a dry week students still need to hand in a product.  This is when good reporters need to go out there and find the stories that nobody usually thinks about doing.  A good piece of advice is to contact the middle school and elementary schools to see what is happening over there.  You could also be creative and  make up a trivia game to add a unique twist to the show. 


Being in this class is a privilege.  Do not take advantage of being able to use expensive hardware.  The school district, Mrs. Connolly and Mr. Leonard are trusting each student with several thousand dollars worth of equipment. Do not be foolish enough to break or lose a camera, tripod, computer or any other piece of paraphernalia.  Also, do not drink or eat in the classroom, or anywhere near the equipment, if you want to avoid the wrath of Mr. Leonard.  

When it comes to critiquing every Friday, do not take constructive criticism personally. It is given to make each week better.  Everyone in the class wants to make the best show and best blog possible. So, if someone gives input on how to make a piece better, take it into consideration.  Try not to be stubborn; students should always be passionate about their work but should never refuse the opportunity to make it the best it can be . 

Overall, make the experience in this class as amazing as possible. Time flies by and students may never be able to have an experience like this again.  Students should put their all into each week because if they don’t, they will regret it once it is all over. 



Every year, senior Economics classes at Washingtonville High School are given a project based off  the famous television show known as Shark Tank.  Students of Wizard Nation excitedly wait for the chance to participate in this high anticipated project each year.  It is an opportunity to let loose and have fun while also learning a great deal about the business world.  

The concept behind Shark Tank is that contestants pitch business ideas, or invent a product to present to major investors, also known as “the sharks.”  The sharks, who are actually teachers in the building, decide whether or not they want to invest in the product that is being presented to them.  It is an exciting and fun way to challenge students by putting their creativity to the test.  

Each of the sharks have their own ideas about what makes a product effective, so it is up to the students to catch the interest of each of them.  Not only do the students have to present their project in poster or powerpoint form, but they are required to make a prototype. Prototypes are useful because they are able to present a visual for the sharks while allowing for a greater chance that the sharks might actually want to invest in the product.

Ms. Secreto, one of the Economic teachers, shared some of her favorite experiences of Shark Tank. “So far, I have had two favorite ideas ever since we started this project. The first one was this hair clip that included an essential oil as a lice repellent. The other one was a portable all in one safety kit geared towards hikers. It included a fish hook, a razor, a string, and a lot more that would help buyers in the outdoors. Everyone was blown away by these ideas because they were small but had a lot of thought behind them.” 

Although this project seems like a fairly easy one, students actually have a really hard time inventing a product. Students stress about the number of details they have; they always feel that there are never enough.  Stresses aside,  Shark Tank is a worthwhile opportunity for students that plan to start their own businesses one day; it truly helps them obtain an understanding of the process.  

Good luck to all of the students presenting their shark tank inventions this week and next.  Make sure to sell your product and impress the sharks!

ASK ALYSSA: A Column By Alyssa Jin

Dear Alyssa,

My friends keep hanging out and not inviting me, but whenever I ask them about it they deny it. What should I do?

-Girl Excluded

Dear Excluded,

At some point in your high school career, you are sure to come across some “friend” problems. Whether it’s one person, or a group of people, you are bound to drift apart or get in some kind of altercation. 

If there’s one thing I really dislike, it’s making people feel excluded- which is what your friends appear to be doing here. Being excluded is something that no one wants because it truly does hurt. Real friends would not intentionally try to make you feel like this. 

It seems like you have already taken the first step in solving this issue. You’ve asked them about it, on multiple occasions, but they continue to treat you this way. From what I can see, these are people you really shouldn’t want to be friends with. 

I understand that it is hard to walk away from the people you’re comfortable with, but it is unfair that you have to feel this way. True friends should always be honest with you and tell you why they’re excluding you. I’d suggest asking them about it just one more time; if they do not answer truthfully, it’s time to make a change. Tell them how you feel. If they aren’t sympathetic to you, or try to make things right, there’s no point in holding on to that type of friendship.  
Yours truly,

Dear Alyssa,

My best friend is a senior and she’s going away to college. I feel like we won’t talk or hangout like we used to.  I really don’t want to lose her as a friend. What should I do?

-Friend Frazzled

Dear Frazzled,

Losing friends is something that nobody wants to go through. Having to let go of the fun times and memories with that person can be very difficult. Whether they’re moving away, or you just drift apart, it’s tough to move on.

You are in the better position of the two. It seems like you and your friend are still very close. This doesn’t have to change just because she’s going to college. Sure, it will be hard not having her around anymore, but there’s so many ways to get around this distance.

Your relationship doesn’t have to stop just because she’s going away. There are still plenty of ways for you to communicate with each other, no matter how far away you are. Texting her will still be the same. You can still check in with each other every day, or facetime when you want to actually see each other. There’s also the option of visiting her and when she comes home for breaks, you’ll see her then.

Keeping up this friendship not as difficult as it seems right now. You make time for the important people in your life. If she wants to be in your life, and you want to be in hers, then you guys will make sure you do that. Yes, things will be different. You’ll both make new friends and hang out with other people, but your relationship won’t change because of that. I think your relationship will be just fine.
Yours Truly, 



The Media and Journalism class of Washingtonville High School is an English and Art class dealing with multiple genres of news including: a news show called BGTV, a blog called The Washingtonville Wizard Weekly, and an iTunes channel for student podcasts.  This class has been running for three years now, and is taught by Mr. Leonard and Mrs. Connolly.  The course is limited to only 24 seats and is growing more and more popular each year.

For Mrs. Connolly, this was her first year being a part of Media Journalism and BGTV.  “It was very overwhelming,  but extremely rewarding. I learned a lot and I hope my students did too,” she expressed.  Senior, John Steinmann, said, “BGTV was a great class to learn and get used to work you don't usually do in your regular classes in the high school. You also get the opportunity to get to help and work with people you may have not talked to before. It's been a fun year.”

There are four branches of Media and Journalism and the students rotate through each one every six weeks. In studio, students get to be either a co-anchor with another classmate, a sports anchor or the coordinator producer of the entire show. 

Field Crew is where students must go out into Wizard Nation and find topics to cover for a segment on that week’s episode. All students receive a camera and tripod to get footage and interviews. Segments usually run three to five minutes long.  Students have to cover a segment every other week for field crew.

Podcasting is the third of the four branches of the class. In podcasting, students are required to talk about anything they want. In addition to recording the podcast, a script needs to written as well as an editorial dealing with the topic at hand.  These podcasts are put on iTunes for the world to hear.

Newsletter is the fourth and final branch of the class. There are four areas assigned for newsletter:  sports, community, school, and clubs.   Two student are assigned the prestigious roles of editor-in-chief and layout.  Students are required to find interesting stories that appeal to a wide range of readers.  An new addition to the newsletter was added this year:  a weekly advice column written by Alyssa Jin.

Throughout the year, students experience each one of the branches, until the final seven weeks of school. This final rotation has been dubbed the “all star round.” Here, students choose their favorite branch and interview for a position.  They create a resume, cover letter and portfolio that highlights their qualifications. The hard part is trying to persuade Mr. Leonard and Mrs. Connolly that you are the right person for the job. 

During the final week of the course, students are assigned their final project of the year: a farewell speech that will be presented in front of the class.   It will truly be an emotional week.

As we are putting together our final episode of the year, we are looking back with fond memories.  BGTV is truly a great class where students learn new things, and make friends new friends that will last a lifetime. Take this amazing opportunity and sign up next year!