Kaili Easton – Mustangs Ahead Editor
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – The 2016-17 school year has been a year of firsts, lasts, and milestones here at “Mustangs Ahead.” We picked up many new jobs – Mustang Heritage, monitoring the LRHS website, expanding our podcast program, infographics, and much more. We’ve gained many readers, including local news outlets who began picking up our stories for their own pages. We hit over 3,000 stories this year, sometimes running as many as ten stories a day.
After spending four years with the program, I have never seen a more successful year than 2016-17, my senior year and my year as editor. From running an actual printed newspaper when the school opened in 1998, to now being a 100% online news source, it is safe to say that “Mustangs Ahead” is keeping with the times. This year, we ran our 3,000th story, a major feat and a wonderful accomplishment that brings pride to not only “Mustangs Ahead” staff but to the LRHS administrative team. Without their never-ending support, “Mustangs Ahead” would not be where it is today. Our stories have reached so many more readers, thanks to “Bradenton Patch” allowing us to “patch” a handpicked story once a week, and to the Manatee County School District for reposting our Instagram posts and retweeting our tweets on numerous occasions.
“Mustangs Ahead” picked up Mustang Heritage, located in the LRHS media center. While most Mustangs take a glance at this every day, not many know what it actually is. Mustang Heritage includes the calendar in the media center, containing academic and sports events happening around the Ranch for the current month. On top of that, there is a trophy case and jerseys hanging on the walls, representing multiple LRHS sports accomplishments through the years. We had a team on site in the media center everyday working to keep Mustang’s Heritage up to date and accurate, something new to the program this year.
Another new task taken on by some brave “Mustangs Ahead” staff members is monitoring the school website. Links were dead and pages were blank or outdated until this group had a go at it. They managed to delete unnecessary pages, update the remaining, and create new ones. The LRHS website is an updated and accurate tool used by staff, parents, and students to find things such as important forms, staff contact information, and information about sports and clubs.
“Mustangs Ahead” podcast editor, senior Riley Murphy, managed to record not only her own podcasts and edit others but to expand and build the podcast program to multiple podcasts a week, including “Calendar,” “Club of the Week,” “Mustang Voices,” and “Senior Stories.” Murphy and her team focused on more than highlighting school events, they turned their focus to going in depth with notable seniors and teachers at the Ranch, creating a more personal focus on Mustang success stories. Next year, AmeliaBelle Dasovich will be taking over Murphy’s tasks, no doubt keeping up with the ever-growing program.
Senior Brie Reid took over our infographics program, running easy-to-read images containing information pertaining to exam schedules, graduation dates, homecoming events, and much more. I am confident that Reid will pass the baton to a new editor with just as much pride in the program as she has.
This year at “Mustangs Ahead” is one for the books, not to be forgotten. On behalf of “Mustangs Ahead” writing and leadership staff, thank you to anyone, whether it be at LRHS or otherwise, for reading and sharing our stories and allowing up to grow and learn as we progress through the years. As I pass my role as editor on to Sam Harris, I’m sure that “Mustangs Ahead” will have as just as, if not more, successful 2017-18 school year.
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