Riptide adviser leaves for Virginia
By Isabelle Spence, Associate Editor The Riptide serves an important role in the school community and for the students who choose to participate in it. The class provides new opportunities, an important education in journalistic methods, and most of all, a strong support system in the staff.
However, the paper did not begin this way. Many of the most important elements of the class would not be possible without Steven Denlinger, the newspaper’s current advisor. Now, after six years of advising the paper, Denlinger is moving onto the next phase of his career in Stafford, Virginia. As the staff prepares for this change, students have reflected on the many lessons they have learned from him over the years.
For most high school students, their first interactions with Denlinger took place in one of his English classes. Here, Denlinger sought to teach more than the required material. He often went above and beyond when it came to helping students, even at the expense of his personal time.
“Mr. Denlinger was always friendly and understanding in our learning,” senior Garrett Mueller said. “He sought to see his students succeed beyond the classroom.”
Denlinger’s dedication to his students is especially apparent through his work with the Riptide. Every member of the staff can easily see that Denlinger loves journalism and the paper, and this passion translates to a strong program.
“In the Riptide class, I have learned to be confident, advocate for myself and others, and stand up for what I believe in,” senior Clara Atwell said. “The way Denlinger has helped to shape the Riptide program has a lot to do with this. He has big ambitions for and an unwavering belief in his journalism students, and gives them freedom to discover their individual talents and selves and learn to lead.”
Denlinger’s unwavering trust in his students motivated the staff to strive and make the paper the best possible version it could be.
“Denlinger has helped increase the validity and trustworthiness of the paper,” junior Hannah Spranger said. “I will take this knowledge with me even when he leaves so that the paper may continue to be as strong as it is now in the future.”
Additionally, Denlinger always treated the paper as a serious endeavour, and never used its status as a high school newspaper as an excuse not to uphold the very highest standards for its contents.
“[Denlinger taught me] that the pen is a sword,” Mueller said. “The stories published in the Riptide have great power and influence over those who read it. I think Denlinger would love to see that sword continue to be used for good and touch on the controversial and story-worthy events.”
Perhaps more important than the journalistic standards he enforced were the personal changes that Denlinger has helped bring about for students.
“The staff provides people with an opportunity to get out of the [cliqueness] of high school and build a community with students from different backgrounds,” Atwell said. “I have built really close friendships with so many people I would’ve never talked to on this staff. I really don’t want to see that opportunity fade for future students.”
Denlinger consistently emphasized this sense of community throughout the staff. Additionally, the class structure encourages student initiative and leadership. From this, students learned how to lead, an important skill that is seldom taught at a high school.
“[I learned that] being a good leader is bringing the whole team up with you,” sophomore Catherine Brown said.
Students also learned the importance of relying on others.
“[Denlinger taught me] the importance of finding hard working people and then giving them the freedom to do their work,” senior Lewis Kanagy said.
Perhaps above any other quality, Denlinger praised initiative. This was the foundation of his teaching style: encouraging students to be able to thrive without him. His students have clearly begun to reflect the philosophy.
“Denlinger has taught me to be more responsible with my work and to take things into my own hands when there’s a problem,” freshman Savannah Butcher said.
This philosophy filled the entire class, from the writing process to ad selling.
“[Denlinger has] encouraged me as a writer and to go after things I was too afraid to try in the first place,” sophomore Halle Wyatt said. “The personal knowledge I’m taking with me is to push past the fear and insecurity and go after what I want.”
Personally, joining the Riptide changed my life more than I could have predicted. The class under Denlinger’s advising allowed and encouraged me to take charge. His policies of equal opportunities for all and his unwavering faith and trust in his students to be the best they can be helped motivate me to put myself out there to apply to be Editor-in-Chief. Since then, the class has continued to help develop my leadership, business, writing, and people skills. Though in the coming years Denlinger will be with a different newspaper, his legacy will live on with the Riptide.
Riptide adviser leaves for Virginia