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Learning to Fly--Eagle News Takes Off!

The Eagle News Crew Fall '22 clearly enjoys each other's company. (Front row, left to right: Ethan Hoffman, Melissa Smith, Sarah Rafael Javier, and Lily Lovette. Back row, left to right: Muna Seagle, Vivien Mitchell, Patrick Trent, Emma Duncan) (Photo by Shannon Brooks)

By Shannon Brooks--Journalism Teacher

A new school year means Eagle News is back in the nest with a bigger flock than last year. This year’s team of student journalists includes hatchlings, fledglings, and a few returning eaglets as well - all of which promise an exciting year for Eagle News and its readers.

VIVIEN MITCHELL, junior, comes to Eagle News after her good friend from creative writing class (and Eagle News editor) Emma Duncan convinced her to join the staff. “I always had a niche for writing,” Vivien reports. “I wrote a story with my mom when I was five about a magical tree. I already took creative writing, and this seemed like a fun way to interview people, write, and take pictures.” Vivien says when she’s not at school, she can be found working at her family’s restaurant, Napoli Cowboy, or watching her little brother. Regarding plans for after high school, Vivien says, “Go with the flow for now. Go to Western, get a business degree, and run the family restaurant, but just keep working there for now. I might become a realtor.” Vivien’s fellow staffers describe her as confident and outspoken, which makes her a natural for student journalism.

LILY LOVETTE is one of three sophomores on staff this semester and is brand new to FCHS. She’s been homeschooled since 8th grade but always got high marks for her writing. “[Middle school] teachers always said I was a good writer so I was looking for something that involved writing,” Lily explains. That led her to journalism. Lily loves to read - mainly horror, mystery, and Harry Potter - and spends five days a week working for a family friend’s cleaning service. Lily’s colleagues describe her as calm, soulful, and kind - a steadying influence in the sometimes-chaotic Eagle newsroom.

SARAH RAFAEL JAVIER is another sophomore on the Eagle News crew. “I could have taken creative writing, but journalism sounded like more fun and I knew it had to do with [writing for a] newspaper,” Sarah explains. She plans to attend Ferrum College and earn a degree in business, following her grandparents into entrepreneurship. “I want to open my own business - a boutique here in Rocky Mount. I’d like to be the first grandchild to own my own business.” Sarah says when she’s not in school, you can find her shopping at the market in North Carolina for traditional Mexican clothing or caring for her large flock of chickens. Sarah’s classmates say she’s quiet and caring (“like a teddy bear” is how one Eagle staffer put it), but don’t be fooled, because as the saying goes, "still waters run deep."

MELISSA SMITH, junior, ended up in journalism because her mom signed her up for courses. Knowing Melissa’s love for writing and journaling, she thought it might be a good fit, and it has definitely proven to be so. Melissa loves to play electric and acoustic guitar, ukulele, and piano; her favorite selections come from Stone Sour and Nirvana. Her future plans are to attend art school and follow her father into the tattoo business. “I hate needles but I love tattoos,” she says. Melissa is a force to be reckoned with. “People are going to try to bring you down but you just can’t let that matter,” she says. Her classmates agree, describing her as ambitious and resilient.

ETHAN HOFFMAN returns to Eagle News as a junior this year. Ethan was recognized for his achievements in journalism last year and decided to come back for more. He loves sports - all of them - but prefers the watching from sidelines to playing. Ethan says when he’s not in school, you can find him at the closest sporting event, usually wielding a camera to cover games for his media class. It’s his intention to pursue a career in sports media. His fellow staffers describe Ethan as the 3 c’s: calm, cool, and collected.

PATRICK TRENT, senior, comes to FCHS from Gretna High School, which only had 500 students compared to FCHS’s 2000+. Patrick loves to write: personal thoughts, journaling, and even just about cool news topics for fun. He enjoys politics and current events but recently took up golf and has the blisters to prove it. When he’s not in school or on the course, he can be found working at Westlake Kroger or playing Madden. Patrick’s colleagues on staff describe him as honest - sometimes painfully so - but positive, outgoing, well-spoken, and known to take more than his share of the candy in class.

MUNA SEAGLE, sophomore, is constantly on the move. When she’s not in school, she’s busy with soccer, swimming, weight lifting, and homework. Her future plans reflect this same kinetic energy. “I see myself somewhere far away from here, a bigger city with more people, different types of people… I want to travel a lot and I don’t want to be in one place for too long.” Muna says her strong opinions brought her to journalism. Although she self-describes as “hard-headed”, Muna enjoys hearing and discussing other points of view. Her stubbornness carries over into her athletics. “If they tell me to do it, it’s going to happen,” she states emphatically. Her Eagle News colleagues couldn’t agree more.

EMMA DUNCAN, senior and editor, returns to lead Eagle News on one more flight before leaving the nest for college and a career in journalism, public relations, or marketing. “The Eagle News has become my baby in a way and you can't really abandon your child,” Emma explains. When she’s not writing, editing, revising, interviewing, uploading, or downloading things for the newspaper, Emma says she can be found “driving around Franklin County singing country music at the top of my lungs.” She also works extensively with YoungLife, a Christian youth ministry, and babysits - a lot. Emma’s staff describes her as hard-working, reliable, and detail-oriented. “But I’m also fun!” she emphasized.

Also on staff are members of the Newspaper Club who contribute special features, editorials, photos, and more, but there’s ALWAYS room for more in the Eagle newsroom. If you like to write, take pictures, talk to people, or get the inside scoop on what’s going on around campus, we need you! Come by Tech A Room 247 to get a Newspaper Club pass, speak with Emma Duncan, or email to learn more!

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