A History of Student Voice through Student News at Kenwood


The Eye of the Bluebird staff checking out the stories in the paper sent to Ms. Magnuson.

Last winter Kenwood Library Media Specialist Ms. Magnuson received an unexpected package in the mail. Upon opening, she found copies of old Kenwood High School newspapers from the 1940s! Ms. Magnuson was thrilled that the person who discovered these old papers would track her down to return them to the school. As she read through the papers her main thought was that “youth has been youth despite time!”

An alumni’s original copy of The Spotlight from

Though your Eye of the Bluebird was just established two short years ago in the fall of 2018, many student newspapers have existed since Kenwood High was established in 1931. These papers from the 1940s were the earliest student news we could find. The first established Kenwood student newspaper was called “The Spotlight.” The 1964 Bluebook yearbook described the school paper as, “The Spotlight, our school newspaper, is published eleven times yearly by Journalism II students. Its format includes athletic events, club activities, scholastic honors, and articles of interest to the students. In December they sponsored a record hop.”

The start of the history timeline The Eye of the Bluebird started before school shut down.

The existence of a school paper would come and go through the Kenwood halls for the next ninety years to present day. The 2019-2020 Eye of the Bluebird staff pieced together a timeline of Kenwood news coverage and discovered that the original school news organization known as The Spotlight was in circulation off and on from the 1940s until the turn of the century. It printed school news on a monthly basis as the existence of the internet was nonexistent or limited at the time. Student interest is what drove the existence of the paper throughout the decades. “When I went to Kenwood (2001-2005), I remember it being The Spotlight. If I recall correctly, I was ready to be Editor-in-Chief my senior year, but there was a lack of interest among other students in joining journalism class, and so it was disbanded. Mr. Neal Cordova was the adviser,” shared Kenwood alum Matthew Bunch c/o 2005.
Though the news stories covered things like we do today about graduation, sports, weather, politics, alumni, scholarships, and club activities, it sadly did not attribute student reporters during the 1940s. There is uncertainty on who oversaw the production of the paper in the 50s and 60s, but it was produced various times throughout the two decades. In the 70s Ms. Joan Palmer oversaw the production of the school paper; through the 80s Ms. Evering was the advisor of the school paper; and in the late 90s through the early 2000s Neil Cordova was the advisor.

1958 journalist of the year for Kenwood’s The Spotlight paper.

There is possibility the paper was called the Bluebird Gazette for a short time between 2005 and 2010 before Kenwood’s Ms. Sheggrud restarted it as the The Bluebird Word, the paper’s first online edition with quarterly print copies. Bluebird Word reporter of 2009-2010 and co-editor of 2010-2011 Meghan Harris shared, “I loved writing for The Bluebird Word. As a staff writer, you get to talk to others that you might not talk to otherwise. It’s a great way to learn about your school and your community. I took a lot away from interviews with fellow classmates and teachers. It’s also nice to always be in the know. As an editor, I learned how to communicate effectively with my peers. Giving feedback on a piece was not always easy but it made my writing stronger and theirs.”

Some of our earliest student journalists from the 20th century.
Some of our 21st century student journalists

When Mrs. Glenn came to Kenwood in the Fall of 2018 there was not a school paper. Mr. Powell was starting his third year at the school and supported the reestablishment of a school paper. He strongly feels that “The newspaper gives students a voice inside the school.” Mrs. Glenn started the program with dozen student writers as an after-school club, progressed to a class of 15 students the second year, and now in the third year has a writing staff of 30 students per semester. “Unfortunately, when you want to start something new sometimes people will point out all the reasons it won’t work. But this paper took off because of that first group of about only 12 kids that were willing to eat, breathe, and sleep writing with me,” shares Mrs. Glenn.

The 2019-2020 student journalists browsing the Alumni room to research the history of student produced news.

Ms. Magnuson, Mr. Powell, and Mrs. Glenn all three advocate for the importance of keeping a student newspaper in circulation at Kenwood. “My favorite stories The Eye of the Bluebird has covered the past two years are any that highlight the many successes of our students and staff here at Kenwood,” shares Powell. “I think every school should have a student newspaper. The paper is a way to hear the challenges people are facing whether in our communities, school, or in our current situation with computers. It’s another avenue for me to hear what we need to work on fixing.”

Ms. Magnuson, who will store the vintage papers in Bluebird Library, views the role of the paper through the lens of her job as the school library media specialist. She sees good journalism as vital in our current times because there is so much information out there on the internet. News Literacy has become a more important concern than ever in history. “Student journalists become critical thinkers able to evaluate the bias of news and to effectively evaluate information which is what helps makes a good citizen. Good news literacy is what makes democracy work.” She went on to say, “Newspapers are also primary sources capturing moments in time.”

Pages of the paper sent to Ms. Magnuson

Mrs. Glenn’s vision is for her journalists to become leaders in the school and beyond by teaching others the importance and value in being news literate. She also hopes the paper continues to enjoy increasing support from its growing reader following, as well as the student body’s continued interest in being a part of the program, so that many Bluebirds can be a part of telling the continued history of Kenwood High and the current times we’re living in. News has always been a valuable source to reflect the stories of its time, but it’s not often an organization that lasts within schools. Mrs. Glenn hopes that The Eye of the Bluebird will be around well into the future.