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Paoli High School

501 Elm St.
Paoli, IN 47454
(812) 723-3905

Staff Editorial: Community Starts Here

Staff Suggests Key Ways You Can Make a Difference

A community is a group of people who have similar shared interests. Depending on the size, people involved, or what the community is about, that group can be various things.

Our media staff believes belonging to a community is extremely important. In surviving high school, your community is an excellent source of social connection and offers a sense of belonging.

Social connections are the relationships you have with the people around you. These people can be friends, family, co-workers, or even classmates. One staff member defined belonging as being somewhere or with someone where you feel wholly valued, not judged, and at home.

An article from the American Psychological Association, “Roll out the welcome mat: Five ways to ensure your new members have a sense of belonging,” explains the five ways to make people feel a sense of belonging. These five ways are to continue with retention, check up on individuals other than just at the beginning, individualize messages for group members, ensure your online presence is what you want it to be, and keep members in the loop with opportunities coming up.

When it comes to the first step in making people feel a sense of belonging, retention is critical. It is essential to make someone feel acknowledged when they join a community and throughout their time involved. It makes people feel more welcome upon entering and makes older members feel appreciated just as much as new members.

The next step mentioned in the story is to continue to check up on people throughout their time here. Checking up on people when they join and throughout will keep them from losing interest in the activity.

The third step is to individualize messages, changing what you say depending on who you tell it to. Our staff feels it is crucial at PHS because it makes individuals feel like they matter more and are unique compared to their classmates, teammates, or friends.

The fourth step in the story is to ensure your online presence is what you want it to be. Make sure you present yourself how you want people to see you online. While our staff feels this is important for the school, it is less critical for individuals. For individuals, online presence is less important than in-person presence. Whether at school, practice or in meetings, how you present yourself makes an impression on you. Presenting yourself with more confidence and kindness will get you a lot farther than giving yourself as a quiet, rude loner.

The fifth and final step the story mentioned is to keep people in the loop with opportunities. We as a staff feel this is very important in clubs, friend groups, classes or sports. Keeping people up to date on opportunities or events will keep people involved will then lead to more people wanting to join your community. Keeping people updated not only improves the community but also helps it grow.

Although these five steps were originally for new members in a workplace, they work in a school setting. The school tries to m ake people at school feel like they belong in the community, and it shows. Over half of the staff feels PHS cares about the students being in some type of community. Not only does the school care about whether or not we are involved in communities, but it also cares about if we feel a sense of belonging. PHS does this by offering a variety of clubs, sports, and classes.

Over half of the staff believe involvement in different communities is essential because it helps you find yourself and decide who you want to be. Out of all our school communities, the most popular among us is our friend groups and sports teams. Although these are the most popular, there are other communities that we are involved in. These include media classes, Booster Club, Tri-Hi-Y, Student Council, FCA, and Youth Council.

Although not everyone is involved in a community, it is essential, and everyone should. It can teach you different life lessons and help build you. It can help you make new friends, gain confidence, and learn new skills.

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About the Contributors
Olivia McSpadden
Olivia McSpadden, Chief Photographer, Facebook Editor
Hi, I'm Olivia McSpadden! This past year I was the photo editor for the yearbook and one of the main sports photographers. This year I'm the Chief Photographer and the Facebook Editor. With the Chief Photographer position, I have a heavy hand in the selection of pictures in the Hillcrest Yearbook, Paolite Newspaper, and all of our social media accounts. In addition to this I'm also over the gallerists of Paoli Media, so every time someone takes an event they make a gallery and captions, and then I post it on Facebook for the public to see!
Heather Nichols, Adviser
Taylor Morgan
Taylor Morgan, Photographer
Hi, I am Taylor Morgan. I'm a freshman photographer for PHS media. This is my second year in photography. I enjoy cheerleading, photography, and spending time with my loved ones.
Kylie Flannery
Kylie Flannery, Hillcrest Assistant Editor
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