The Rough Rider

The Student News Site of Roosevelt Intermediate School

The Rough Rider

The Rough Rider


What’s Changed In Our School Newspaper?

     Did you know that the first Roosevelt newspaper, The Rough Rider, was published in 1923? That means it’s officially 100 years old! 

     The Rough Rider is a huge part of Roosevelt’s tradition, and it has been something that students and staff look forward to reading each year. 

     While our student newspaper is one of Roosevelt’s greatest accomplishments, students agree it doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves. 

     According to 6th-grader Brendan Curran, “I think it’s impressive how Roosevelt has had a paper for 100 years.”

     Owen Rooney, 6th-grade, added, “I think it could use more recognition, I never hear anyone talking about it, but I think people should because there is interesting stuff that it talks about.”

     Roosevelt’s Newspaper is written by the 8th graders that are taking a class called Journalism. This is one elective that all 7th graders can choose from.

     Over the years, many things changed throughout the paper like the paper size and information included inside.  In one year, 1929, the appearance was different from the ones today, with each paper published bi-weekly and with shorter-length stories. The newspapers also had punch holes on the left side of the paper.

     The shorter-length stories were more like comments, not similar to articles we have today. 

     Mr. McMorrow, an eighth grade Language Arts and journalism teacher who’s been teaching at RIS for 30 years, stated, “I love reading The Rough Rider because it’s a paper created by students and focused on students.” 

     He added one change he saw in the newer versions of the Rough Rider. “Newer stories have started to feature events that are outside of Westfield and cover things that are happening outside the country and even the world. Students are expanding the number of topics they like to cover, which is great.”

     One huge change was in earlier years. Roosevelt went from 7th to 9th grade rather than 6th to 8th grade. Because of this, The Rough Rider was written by the oldest class, the 9th graders.  

     Another distinct detail was the old name of the school: RIS used to go by Roosevelt Junior High School (R.J.H.S). 

     Many school districts aged throughout the decades, however, there are still plenty of things that have stayed the same. Even our newspapers written back in the ‘30s have had four pages— and each page had a category of articles.

     While many people might not have expected this reaction, most students had no clue how long the newspaper had been running. Most people guessed that it was a few decades old, the most common answer was between 15 and 30 years.

     Eliana Gall, 7th grade, remarked, “It’s so crazy that our school newspaper is 100 years old.”

     Almost no one from any of the grades could figure out the answer, and we also saw that most students never had a chance to see any of the older articles.

     “I like the old one better because it’s easy to see the words, it’s smaller and seems more organized,” mentioned Alexa Shanker when shown the old paper.

    According to Natalie Gapp, 7th grade, “This layout has more categories and it’s easier to read.”

    When students were asked what they thought was written in the older Rough Riders, many mentioned large world-changing events like 9/11, the World Wars, and The Great Depression.

    We also found that there were a plethora of clubs back then that we do not have today. For example,  the sewing club, camera club, reading for the fun club, Artcraft club, puppet club, pet club, and archery club all were options at RIS!

    A lot of students thought they would see what the culture was like in the 1900s and early 2000s, like sporting events, music, art, and much more. It was true! All articles from our past touched on these topics. 

     In a certain paper written in 1942, an article mentioned “War Chest Donations” for World War II and encouraged students to donate from their own money and not parents. 

    An assumption that could be made was that school papers needed to be paid for before receiving one.

    The school appeared to have a very small, tight-knit community in the early to mid-1900s. In one article written in 1936, all of the students are personally described, showing just how close everyone was.

     In older Rough Riders, there seems to be less worldwide news and more school-focused accomplishments and events. One great accomplishment for Roosevelt in 1946 was students from all grades contributed and managed to donate 5,000 cans in a food drive. 

     Although not many people recognize the age of the Rough Rider, many students can agree that it’s super entertaining to read and talk about with friends and family. Its long-lasting nature has added tons of culture and diversity to the school.

      Mr. Losco, who is now celebrating his 20th anniversary of teaching at Roosevelt, remarked, “The Rough Rider is a time-honored tradition here at Roosevelt. Whenever it comes out I read all the articles and I enjoy getting the students’ perspective on issues and about their town. We’ve done everything from the best pizza to good restaurants and little bios about new teachers and things like that. I find it to be very informative.  I think writing styles have changed a lot in the last 20 years. I don’t think the mission of the paper or the information of the Rough Rider has changed but I think that the writing has changed, the articles have changed, and attitudes of students have changed.”

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