Partner Project serves Eppler Junior High School

Partner Project serves Eppler Junior High School

Students at Eppler Junior High School take their group shot with JEA Partner Project teachers Kristy Dekat, CJE, and Pam Bunka during their workshop Sept. 12-13. Guest speaker Jesse Sutherland came in to teach students basic videography, and Principal Gerald Pantano held a press conference after students learned how to write questions. “The students really seemed to appreciate us working with them. They all were active
listeners. Nichole [Eppler’s adviser] expressed on various occasions how the workshop was exactly what her students needed,” Dekat said.

The Partner Project at Eppler Junior High School in Utica, Michigan took place Sept. 12-13.  During the first day of the workshop, newspaper adviser Nichole Forand and 10 of her newspaper staff members joined Kristy Dekat, MJE, from Topeka, Kansas; Pam Bunka and Jesse Sutherland, both from Michigan for a two-day training workshop. 

Students began with the trainers leading the group in an icebreaker activity and a discussion on the importance of team building. After the activity, students set the goals they have for the publication. 

“The newspaper at Eppler Junior High is a new publication at the school and currently is a club rather than an academic class,” Dekat said. “This is the first experience with media for most of the staff. We wanted to provide the students  with a foundation of skills to help them share their stories.”

On the first day, students were introduced to profile writing, interviewing, and how to take photos and shoot videos. The students shot videos and had those videos critiqued. In the afternoon, the staff held a press conference with the school’s principal Gerald Pantano. Students also created their personal profiles for the newspaper’s website which was donated by SNO as a part of the JEA Partner Project. 

Thirty of the yearbook students joined the newspaper staff for the second day of the workshop led by Dekat and Bunka. The day started with an activity to introduce the newspaper staff to the yearbook staff. The topics discussed in the morning include– story structure, interview questions, research, and caption writing. Both staffs, along with the editorial staff from the Arrow Newspaper at Utica High School, participated in a press conference with Officer Jim from the sheriff’s department. The students interviewed him about Michigan’s law regarding flavored e-cigarette and vaping.

In the afternoon, 11 newspaper students learned how to improve their questioning skills. They then interviewed each other to create profiles. The students also had their headshots taken so that they could be put on the staff page of the website. The day ended with the students designing a logo for the website.

The application form for the JEA Partner Project will open in 2020. More information is available here.

Password Reset
Please enter your email address and press [Return] or [Enter]. You will receive a new password via e-mail.

If you don't receive it within a few minutes, please call (785-532-5532) or email us (, and we'll be happy to assist you.