They get put into a room with pizza and drinks and are asked to start the process of creating Xtreme, a newspaper section that teens across the area can relate to, find a voice in and are informed by.
As part of The Augusta Chronicle's Teen Board, 20 students join for one cause: to fill Xtreme with stories that reach across grade levels, locations and, sometimes, generations.
Now it's your turn. The Teen Board is taking applications for 18 new members. We're looking for high school students from across the area with different talents, opinions and points of view to serve on the board.
"We strive to be a fair representation of everybody," said member Kimberly Jump, 16, a junior at Aiken High School. "We don't know who's reading and we don't want anybody to feel left out."
So the work begins. There are teen issues to explore, students to get opinions from or profile and stories to tell.
There are columns to write and revise (and revise again) and meetings to attend.
Second Tuesdays are the time for brainstorming and belly-aching, yet somewhere between the table of pizza and peers, board members say they discover something more.
"I don't know how to put it into words," said Dylan Plung, 15, a home-schooled freshman. "It's amazing just to see how everybody answers, to see how everybody else thinks."
With 20 personalities in the room, the awe is understandable.
"Everybody is really diverse," said Andy Johnson, 17, a junior at North Augusta High School. "It comes out in the meeting. There are conservative people, liberal people and people in between. It's an awesome conglomeration of people who have different points of view."
Member Domonique Lowe, 18, a senior at Glenn Hills High School, noticed that from the start.
"At first I was like, 'I'm from Glenn Hills and they're from Evans; we won't have a lot in common,' " she said, "but it turned out in the end that we did."
Lakeside High School freshman Alicia Sweat, 15, says the turnaround was inevitable, especially when people got to sharing their opinions.
"I definitely like different people's opinions. With the board, you see how my opinion isn't always right and that everyone has a different take on things," she said. "Just like some people go to the same schools and may not have anything in common, with the board you have some that have the same clothes and the same hairstyle but their opinions are so different.
"It really opens your eyes to opening your mind to being different and thinking about things in a different way."
Domonique said she'd like to see more students from urban schools apply to the board and enjoy the roundtable discussions and projects. The invitation to join is open to everyone from everywhere.
"It's an experience with a lot of other people you probably would never get to meet. There are people from (two) counties away that come all the way to Augusta to do this," Andy said. "You'd probably never meet them if they weren't on this board."
Working for peers
Aside from making contacts and friends, members also get to find the stories that affect their classmates, their schools or their communities and give voice to them.
"It's not just let's sit back, I'm on the teen board, it's dedication; it's work. You have to get your contacts. You have to meet deadline," said second-year member and North Augusta High School senior Caroline Price, 18. "(The editor) counts on us. We are the contact. That's important.
"The public needs to know what goes on in the high schools and the students."
Without Xtreme, that might not happen, she said.
"If there is a better place for it, I haven't heard of it," she said.
What has been heard is how much Xtreme means to readers.
"I have classmates who say they read and teachers who say they read it. They get it to see what students are thinking," Alicia said. "It's a teen newspaper so apply and make sure your voices are heard."
By the numbers
During a school year, The Augusta Chronicle Teen Board has a lot of duties and a lot of perks, too. See how things get broken down:
Formal meetings held: 10
Pizzas eaten: 40 (That's 18 cheese, 18 pepperoni and four beef)
Story ideas shared: 150 - and counting
Sources provided: 175-plus
Features written: 3
Columns published: 66 so far
Average number of edits: 3
Photo appearances by staff: 8
Models acquired: 12
SEEKING BOARD MEMBERS
Have something to say? Want to say it in Xtreme? Here's your chance.We're looking for 18 young minds with fresh ideas and the attitude to get things done to serve on the 2005-06 Xtreme Teen Board.
Applications will be accepted through July 5, 2005.
If you will be enrolled as a high school student next year, you're eligible to apply.
All we ask is that you answer a few questions. Watch your spelling and grammar and tell us a little about yourself and what youd like to contribute to Xtreme.
Send the application to
TEEN BOARD APPLICATIONS
The Augusta Chronicle, Attention: Newsroom
P.O. Box 1928
Augusta, GA 30903-1928.
E-mail applications to email@example.com.
1. Full name
3. Telephone (with area code)
5. High school
6. Upcoming grade (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior)
7. Why do you want to be on the Xtreme Teen Board?
8. What makes you the ideal board member? What perspective or talent can you bring to the board?
9. How do you spend your time? (Include any hobbies, school and community involvements, etc.)
10. What's your favorite feature in the Xtreme section?
11. What changes would you like to make to Xtreme? Why? Be specific.
12.If you were the Xtreme reporter, what's the first story you'd write? Why? Be specific.
13. What's a story you'd like to see in Xtreme that you haven't seen? Why? Be specific.
Save a stamp. Use our online form.
Reach Kamille Bostick at (706) 823-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.