Betsy Scrivener gears up for busy school year

Published 9:48 am Friday, July 29, 2016

Elizabethton City Schools

Future journalism students at Elizabethton High School are preparing for a busy inaugural of the Betsy Scrivener, the school’s online newspaper.
Dustin Hensley, Elizabethton High School library media specialist and journalism advisor, spearheaded the program.
“Whenever I was given the green light to start the student newspaper for the 2016-17 school year, I knew the first thing I wanted done was to create community collaborations,” Hensley said. “While the crux of the Betsy Scrivener’s stories will be about Elizabethton High School, I wanted to be sure that they were going out into our area and discovering how to become an active member of our community.”
The school currently has 12 students taking part in the journalism class offered, including Juston Cox, Amy Cross, Brandon Gobble, Haley Haynes, Maddie Lasater, Breanna Little, Katie Miller, Ryan Miller, Victoria Oxborrow, Richard Rankin, Kaeli Sams and Megan Young.
“We also have several students who will be acting as freelancers,” Hensley said. “They will cover stories, offer opinions and creative pieces and contribute art to the paper.”
While the students will be working in the journalism world, the school official is hoping that the students will also learn about the world around them.
“What I want the most for the students is for them to discover who they are and where they belong in our community,” Hensley said. “I want them to find their voice. If we want our students to understand where they belong in this giant global economy, they must first know where they belong locally.”
“There is the old cliche, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’” he continued. “We often think of that as meaning are so difficult to raise that it takes multiple to help. But I think that is incorrect. I think that it means that for children to be properly raised, they must learn and gain experience from people from all over the community, that of diverse backgrounds and career fields. We have such a rich history and great people here, I want our students to experience that and develop a love for East Tennessee.”
Along with working with their online publication, students within the program are looking to partner with different groups in the community — including the Elizabethton Star.
“We’re very excited to work with the future journalists of our area,” said Delaney Scalf, general manager of the Elizabethton Star. “As the school year progresses, we are looking forward to working with these students and giving them an outlet to grow as writers, active members of the community and continue to help highlight the City of Elizabethton and Carter County.”
Working in conjunction with various media outlets and community organizations will be key for the students moving forward, Hensley said.
“Whenever the opportunity arose for students to be able to submit stories and be published in the Star, it was a no-brainer,” he added. “While the Elizabethton Star will be our most prominent partner, we have also spoken with WJHL, the Elizabethton-Carter County Chamber of Commerce, East Tennessee State University Journalism Department, the East Tennessean newspaper and the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library in regards to projects and collaborations. We are still seeking out community members and organizations that would be willing to work with us as well.”
The upcoming year is important for the Carter County native, who has developed a fondness for the area.
“I was born and raised in Carter County, and I am thankful for that,” Hensley said. “Whenever I was young, my great-aunt Sally Cates would take me to local historical sites, which helped me foster my love for our area.”
“I was a 2008 graduate of Hampton High School, a 2012 graduate from ETSU. I also graduated ETSU in 2013 with my Master’s in education,” he added. “My greatest desire in life is to be able to help young people succeed in their goals and mature into adults that will continue making our community friendly and prosperous.”
Visit for more information on the Betsy Scrivener.

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