December 7, 2006

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Nashua Publisher's Note: ‘Monkey Day,’ other school news
By Jeff Rapsis

I recently saw the latest issue of Panther Prints, the student newspaper at Nashua High School South. I have to say I’m impressed—not only by the paper itself, but by the fact that it survived my involvement when I was a student.

I came across the paper because its faculty advisor, Rob Greene, also works part-time at the company that publishes Hippo, and he was here one night assembling some pages of the latest issue.

Rob, who teaches English at my old school, passed along a set of page proofs from the Dec. 8 issue. It’s good work. Technically, it hasn’t been published as of this writing, so I hope the staff doesn’t mind my spilling the beans on some of their stories.

But in case you don’t usually see the Panther Prints, here’s a quick review of highlights from the upcoming 16-pager, sort of like what the BBC does with the morning papers.

The front page carries a report of the school’s Thanksgiving Day victory in the annual Turkey Bowl, headlined “North Stopped Cold Turkey.”

There’s also a report on a can drive for the Nashua Soup Kitchen organized by history teacher Catherine Poulin, who last I knew was playing clarinet in the American Legion Post 48 marching band in Hudson. (I played sousaphone. Hi, Catherine!)

Also on the front page is an advice column from “Lena,” who responds to a student who feels “used and abused” by someone she thought was a good friend.

We didn’t have an advice column in the Panther Prints when I was involved, but at the time the Telegraph was filling the teen advice void with a nationally syndicated column called “’Tween 12 and 20.”

Produced by some psychiatrist in California, it was aimed at making the newspaper relevant to younger readers. A few weeks after it started, it carried a letter from a girl who said all the popular kids at her school drank between class, smoked all the time, and so on. I forget her name, but will never forget town she was from: NASHUA, N.H.

Back to the Panther Prints: Stories inside include a look at applying to colleges with a great opening: “AHHHHHHHHH!!! This sums up how many students are feeling as they frantically fill out college applications....”

There’s also a story about a wacky assignment from new teacher Mr. Greene (see above), who asked students to write to President George W. Bush in support of making Nov. 3 a new national holiday: Monkey Day.

There’s more, but you’ll have to get the paper. It’s worth supporting your local high school paper, however, for many reasons. I’m a good example—I have no useful skills, so without the chance to learn about publishing through the Panther Prints, I’d certainly be much more of a burden on society than I am, say, in my present occupation.