By Karen T. Braeckel
HSPA Foundation

Every once in awhile common sense wins out.

In this case it took several years to prevail, but at least it happened.

High school juniors and seniors now may count student publications for Fine Arts credit as a directed elective for the Core 40 Indiana Academic Honors and Core 40 with Technical Honors diplomas.

Hurray and hallelujah!

If you recall from earlier columns, journalism advisers across the state watched talented upperclassmen string beads in jewelry-making class instead of continuing their study of journalism by working on the school newspaper or yearbook for another semester.

Why, you ask.

Core 40 Honors diplomas require two credits of Fine Arts – and design and photography explored in student publications did not count.

Until now!

Diana Hadley, executive director of the Indiana High School Press Association, campaigned diligently for years to get this changed so students had options.

They no longer need to drop newspaper or yearbook to free up a class period for Fine Arts in their junior or senior years.

Hadley explained in an email, “We were able to make a case to expand the definition and scope of student publications thanks to students’ opportunities to study and practice photography and graphic design as the art of journalism.”

The Indiana Department of Education describes Student Publications as a course based on the High School Journalism Standards and the Students Publication Standards and the continuation of the study of journalism.

“Students demonstrate their ability to do journalistic writing and design for high school publications, including school newspapers and yearbooks, and a variety of media formats. Students follow the ethical principles and legal boundaries that guide scholastic journalism. Students express themselves publicly with meaning and clarity for the purpose of informing, entertaining, or persuading. Students work on high school publications or media staffs so that they may prepare themselves for career paths in journalism, communication, writing, or related fields.”

Several weeks ago my only granddaughter (to date – not giving up on the California couple yet) announced she was registering for her freshman classes. (How I could have a granddaughter ready for high school, I don’t know. It’s tough to continue the fantasy of being only 49.)

She will take three honors classes and the usual freshman curriculum – and, yes, jewelry making.

After I regained my composure, I asked her and her mother to say that again.

You have got to be kidding, I said.

I told them of the years-old campaign.

My daughter explained Ashlyn carries a difficult academic schedule, competes for the Carmel Swim Club with twice-a-day practices next year – and is dealing with a mom with cancer.

She wanted to take the class for fine arts credit.

Mom said OK. Mamaw shut up.

(I still have three grand­sons.)

A supporter needs support

Ray Moscowitz – the same gentleman whose name appears on one of the Foundation’s most coveted editorial awards – reads this column. I know because he often emails me with a comment.

After an earlier writing on the fine-arts-credit subject, Ray heard Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz speak on another topic in Bloomington.

He brought up this issue during the Q & A portion of Ritz’s talk. She said the Department of Education would fix it.

Add Ray to the list of many people who helped make this change possible.

Now he could use a little support himself. On Feb. 2 Ray underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his brain.

Word spread rapidly through the state journalism community, so I believe it is OK to say this disease I’m so sick of writing about struck another one of the good guys.

He will undergo radiation and oral chemotherapy along with physical therapy.

Ray could use a few hundred cards to help him recover and remain upbeat. If you would like to send him news and well wishes, his home address is: 3930 E. Fenbrook Lane, Bloomington, IN 47401.

Please remember him, wife, Barbara, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Eugene S. Pulliam internships

Feb. 27 marks the deadline to submit your application for a Pulliam intern this summer.

Remember the Foundation keeps track of the number of times you apply and when you received your last intern.

If you have an agreement with a student who plans to apply for an internship, please put the candidate’s name in the appropriate place on the form and ask the student to do the same. If the student is selected, we will try to honor your request (unless you had an intern last year).

To apply click here.

Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.

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