After years of an ever-evolving print edition of their school newspaper, high school students at Horizon Community Learning Center in Ahwatukee have finally found their groove.

With the launch of The Horizon Sun, the school’s online publication, the honors students are diligently working to give fellow classmates a voice through an all-digital approach. And at the same time, honing leadership skills.

“Our goal is to have a publication for the students, run by the students,” said junior Jaime Faulkner, who is also editor-in-chief for the paper. “It’s been a huge growth process for me as a leader.”

English teacher and journalism advisor Christi Britt said the students threw a launch party in late February, giving other students a chance to explore the website at the school’s technology lab to provide feedback.

Aside from the request to see more student spotlights and student-submitted pieces to go along with staff-written stories, the rest of the high school student body took to the site quickly.

“The best thing is hearing other high-schoolers say, ‘This is actually really cool,’” Faulkner said.

This year, Horizon is offering two levels of journalism courses and will add another section next year. The course will give middle school students the opportunity to participate and contribute.

Introductory, intermediate and an advanced level for students interested in leadership roles are available.

Aiming to teach students not only about the fundamentals of journalism, online media, and news writing, Britt said harboring peer mentoring is also key.

“The peer-to-peer mentoring that goes on just creates a dynamic,” she said.

The school newspaper covers students, profiles, includes video tutorials, a myriad of columnists, and even national news blurbs.

“Plus, what a rewarding thing for a kiddo to see their name in print,” Britt added.

For more information, visit thehorizonsun.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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