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Bringing Back The Beacon

A Talk with Past Beacon Advisors and a Reflection of Our History
The Beacon Archives

The Beacon staff had the privilege of interviewing two of the most recent advisors: Mr. Pujol and Mr. Najar. As advisors, they worked to develop a paper that any Ranger could enjoy and deem credible. 

So, after 10 years, one short-lived attempt at a digital paper, and an on-and-off journalism elective – The Beacon has a new advisor, Ms. McDermott, and a new, eager staff. But what happened prior? 

The absence of our school newspaper has not gone unnoticed by the Forest Hills High School population. The whereabouts of The Beacon have only recently risen to the surface.  Beacon advisors revealed to us that it’s been 10 years since the paper was in physical print. This decade-long hiatus was in part due to the growing movement of a modernized, digital newspaper. Since newspapers require funds and support, a digital paper would resolve this financial issue,  and moreover develop a path to accessible school news. 

During the years of the hiatus, Forest Hills High School has faced a multitude of changes and challenges. For one, we were online for a year. Remote learning disrupted the social relationships that made school enjoyable for many. This links to a continuous problem our school faces: the lack of school spirit. Despite our dedication to academics, extracurriculars, and career opportunities, we aren’t taking these as an advantage to strengthen our bond with one another.

Additionally, we often don’t branch out into areas of Forest Hills that aren’t immediately within reach. Newspapers, in particular, show us an expanse of people and ideas that we wouldn’t normally interact with– which turns groups into communities.

The newspaper is written for students and staff, by students and staff. Within the pages of this paper, we hope for students to find a piece of themselves, as well as a light that guides and sparks curiosity. 

As put by Mr. Pujol,  “And I think that’s what journalism is; it’s that quest, that yearning to get to the bottom of things. That quest for truth.”

To produce a newspaper that authentically portrays a community, it’s crucial to have all types of news: international, local, and school. This variety allows students to learn and acknowledge their surroundings, and all the different aspects of identity– student and person. 

“Forest Hills is not an entity in itself. We are affected by things that happen outside,” Mr. Najar explained. 

Forest Hills High School is a school uniquely known for its diversity. There are different backgrounds in ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality. Therefore, the importance of representation and student voices cannot be overlooked within the school. With a large student body, it is unsurprising that some of us feel that our voices cannot be heard or even have an impact. We often think that our opinions are lost in the crowd – or rather halls. 

Mr. Najar and Mr. Pujol spent their time as advisors in pursuit of a paper that appealed to the collective interest. As a staff, we plan to continue this legacy and aim to constantly progress. 

Once again, we give our thanks to Mr. Pujol and Mr. Najar for broadening our perspectives on the paper. We would also like to thank Ms. McDermott for giving us the opportunity to work collectively and reopen the paper. There are many good things to come!

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About the Contributors
Salma Baksh
Salma Baksh, Editor-in-Chief
Salma is currently a senior and has been the editor-in-chief of The Beacon since the fall of 2022. They channel their love of politics, community, activism, and education into two clubs at Forest Hills High School: Youth Informed (which she co-founded in her junior year) and Double-Up (in which they are currently Co-President). Salma is honored to serve as editor-in-chief for her second year in a row and derives fulfillment from the immense growth The Beacon has undergone since its return. She aims to establish The Beacon as the core of Forest Hills High School-- a paper that inspires critical thinking, creativity, and hope.
Jenny Dun
Jenny Dun, Web Editor and Designer
Jenny is a senior in the Academy of Public Service at Forest Hills High School. She was the Events Coordinator and Social Media Manager for the year 2022-2023.  At FHHS, she is the manager for the Girl’s Varsity Handball Team. She enjoys writing reviews, specifically lifestyle for The Beacon. She loves listening to jazz, visiting museums, and cafe hopping.
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