Although tracing the Golden Fleece all the way back to its beginning days is hard, we have some of the first publications from the 1960s after the school was started. These mimeograph copies are dear to our hearts as a humble beginning, but we are excited to see how much we have grown since then.
The current-era Golden Fleece newspaper has been published for 37 consecutive years, covering TC Roberson High School and serving the community with news, sports, features, and opinions throughout the recent decades.
When Jeannie Gooch took over the program in the 80s, she transformed the school’s journalism into the beginnings of the class as it is today. Instead of making only a newspaper, students were given real roles of leadership and the class began teaching communications as a part of the curriculum. In fact, the official name of the class was changed to “Communications, inc.” to reflect a larger plan than simply producing a newspaper.
As the class exploded in growth, it began to take on multiple new roles, including the continual publication of the paper, the one and only span of time that the school had a consistent Literary Magazine, and eventually the beginnings of what was called Broadcast News, an in-house broadcast idea.
In the early 90s,TC was faced with the push to remove the Student Council as a class (which had been a staple of the school’s curriculum for as long as any could remember). The Communications class then came up with a way to absorb the Student Government and created a class called Leadership/Service. First year membership included nearly 60 students and met in the school’s auditorium. It included both elected members (the Student Council section) and selected members (the journalism wing).
As the class grew again, the Student Government strand was once again given the opportunity to house its own class and divided out from the journalism aspect, but decided to keep the name of Leadership/Service. Communications, inc. remained a class as well.
Broadcast and the GF Current
In the mid 90’s, the Communications class’s Broadcast News portion had grown so drastically that it, too, became its own class, know then as WRAM. WRAM was housed as a separate class and production for around 5 years, while the Communications class continued to produce award-winning publications.
After the retirement of Gooch, the Communications class changed hands a couple of times, but remained a class in the school. In the spring of 2000, the Communications class was reorganized to resemble a closer picture of the original class from the 80s. It continued to produce the newspaper and was one of the first in the state to help set the precedent of broadsheet publications. Even in the early years of reorganization, it went on to to win 5 consecutive Tar Heel awards, given to one of the top 3-5 programs in the state. Since then, it has continued to win Tarheels and other major awards in state competitions.
During this time, the WRAM class was affected by course-offerings stress on the department that housed it and ultimately became a class in limbo. Then in 2006, the Communications class once again picked up the broadcast; after completely revamping the look and idea, the all-new GF Current, a full-length broadcast news show, in debuted in 2007.
The new broadcast class became so popular that it was granted an entire class period to itself and housed over 28 students. However, due to stress on classroom sizes, the Communications class decided it was best for the English Department to merge the classes and run them at the same time in one class, making a class of almost 55 students.
The combined class has been slimmed for management purposes, but the Communications class still averages nearly 45 applicants per year, even with Roberson offering more AP classes than ever before.
In 2008, in order to address a growing need for the journalism program, we created a Journalism I class, open to all students but specifically designed to train young journalists and provide an additional Elective option for freshmen. This program produced some of the most dedicated students in the school, with some students remaining with the program all four years of their high school careers.
Unfortunately, due to space and course offering restrictions, the J1 program was discontinued just a few years later. However, the class, which is now limited to sophomores through seniors, still averages anywhere from 25-35 students each year.
A Whole New Media
With the increased connection to broadcast, the class began to look into creating a media group concept. Shortly thereafter, the Golden Fleece Media Group was established as the professional and business identity of the productions created in the Communications class.
Over the last couple of years, the Communications class has discussed and looked into expanding its coverage through an online news site. In the 2011-2012 school year, preparations were made to established a fully independent site that would allow us to reach more people and be able to update information in a way a monthly issue can’t. As the year went by, we attained an address, a hosting service, and much more.
In the summer of 2012, the beta site was created and we held a soft launch as we returned to school. Then, after years of thought, dreams and work, we were able to launch Roberson’s only official news site, GoldenFleeceOnline.com, at the end of September 2012.
Now students in the class are instructed in convergence media with video, print, and audio being produced to be published online, in the newspaper, and through the broadcast. We are looking forward to the future of what we will be able to do to serve our school and community and to continue the fight to preserve the foundations we were established on.
More to come…