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Spartan Scoop

Spartan Scoop

Inform · Connect · Entertain

Spartan Scoop


A reflection on my time reporting for The Spartan Scoop
Tony Hemenway
The 2023-2024 Scoop staff posing for a silly photo

The slightly sweaty trembling boy waddled his way into the dim glowing classroom. He frantically searched for the desk that held his name and plopped himself into its seat. This room would house his many breakdowns over word count, strange rants about female Broadway icons, and endless cups of tea. He loved that haven from the very first moment. 


I first met Ms. Bathje in my Sophomore year English class. She is by far one of the weirdest and most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. I learned many critical life skills in that English class and when the year came to a close I knew I needed to find a way to stick around. So, when Ms. Bathje invited me to join the Spartan Scoop, I spent a short few seconds pretending to deliberate before my mind was made. 

Newspaper shifted my way of thinking.

I had never considered myself a writer before joining the staff. I thought I hated writing, that it was incredibly difficult, and that I had no real talent for it. Any time an essay was assigned or I was asked to jot down a creative story my brain would freeze up. My fear of failure stood between me and a world of writing adventures. 

So why exactly would I join the school newspaper if I hated writing? That’s a good question, one I can’t answer in totality. Of course I loved Ms. Bathje’s room and her teaching style, but that doesn’t really quantify signing oneself away to a year of news writing. Maybe something in me knew I’d unlock a knack for writing while on the staff, or perhaps I just really wanted all that free tea. 


Since my first day as a reporter, my adventures in journalism have taught me a lot about myself and the world of literature. The foremost change I’ve experienced is a newfound love for writing. 

When I used to fear writing something boring or crappy I’d stop myself and avoid the activity all together. However, after spending the last two years writing a piece every week and publishing 52 articles, my perspective has changed. The reality is that any journalist is capable of writing a mediocre piece. This doesn’t mean we should be banished from touching a laptop or pencil ever again, only that there is room to improve. 

The beautiful thing about all of the lousy first drafts that I’ve written is that there was always someone else to give me feedback and make them better. Support and editing help has constantly been offered to me whether that be from The Scoop’s official Editors or a helpful classmate. I now possess some of my own editing skills which help me push through the garbage stages and allow me to produce pieces I am proud of. 

Learning to create articles that I can confidently share with our student body, and any other readers, is an ability that I find incredibly valuable. I enjoy writing all about a new subject and having a vehicle to pass my newfound knowledge onto others. As time goes on, I believe the capability to approach writing without doubting myself will aid me in every email, college essay, or other writing journeys I embark on. 

My time at the Scoop has also gifted me with other skills that I know will help me in the future. The best example I can think of is having developed the ability to interview someone. I have dealt with social anxiety my entire life and have always struggled to have in depth conversations with others. So, when I was assigned my first interview piece, I was positively terrified. The thought of spending more than five minutes asking detailed questions about a stranger’s life, while praying I’d make a good impression, made me sweat. 

Yet again, Newspaper shifted my way of thinking. I have done many interview pieces for the paper since that first article, and I genuinely love them. What I thought would be an extended grilling session where I was under the constant pressure of judgment, was really just a lot of fun. When I get the pleasure of interviewing someone, I get to peek behind the curtain and see just a bit more of each human.

 I learn what people’s nervous fidgeting habits are and whether or not they like sustained eye contact. They tell me stories from their life that are funny, sad, and singular to their experiences. Then, with this abundance of information, I am handed the bones of my story, all that’s left is to color in the details. 

Without The Spartan Scoop I might not have known the joy of interviewing someone, a skill that I can certainly carry into the working world. 


On top of my now cultivated writing powers, there are a few moments from News that I cherish and will keep with me throughout the rest of my days. 

First, I would be mistaken if I didn’t mention the people. I have met and befriended so many new people since signing up for Newspaper. We truly are a diverse crew of weirdos all with unique talents and I am thankful I got to know each individual on the staff. This experience has given me the opportunity to foster relationships with some of my very best friends, also allowing me to work with new people. I have found it to be a rewarding venture to work with people who have a totally different perspective than mine. 

On top of these relationships, I will also think back on the silly moments, as well as the hard ones, very fondly. I’ll picture egg yolk coated hands from our egg toss team builder, and I will smile remembering how proud I was when the Staff’s MCPS Budget articles were finished. 

I’ve had an amazing two years on The Spartan Scoop and I will miss room 507 profoundly. Thank you Ms. Bathje and the Staff, for pushing me towards the finish line and improving my high school experience. 

About the Contributors
Andrew Buchholz
Andrew Buchholz, Reporter
"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it" (Alice Walker).
Tony Hemenway
Tony Hemenway, Photographer
"How can the Earth be flat if my life is constantly going downhill?" -Tony Hemenway