Profile: Celia Bever

By Rebecca Anzel
The Greene Team

Celia Bever is on a mission.

She is determined to revive The Rag, Northport High School’s student newspaper, which failed to publish last year.

It is a challenge that will require the seventeen-year-old senior to inspire what she feels is a disillusioned and poorly trained staff and win the interest of a school community, which, she says, cares little about The Rag.

Bever said she is up for the challenge.

“This is something I need to do for the next generation – not a legacy,” she said. “But I want to leave the school with a paper so that even if it takes a few years before someone comes along who cares about it, they won’t have to start from scratch.”

Celia Bever

Celia Bever

After the past year’s complications, The Rag’s staff is seemingly disillusioned. A question has risen in their minds about if they can trust that their efforts, including researching, reporting, and writing a story, will be rewarded. Bever said that she will “try to convince them that it’s really going to happen this time.”

To do that she has plans to call a meeting of all staff as soon as possible, and express her regrets. Once done, she will get moving on printing The Rag’s first issue, even if it does end up being a short one.

Her main goal is to produce “physical proof” that changes are being made. Bever’s hopes are high that the staff will put their trust in her, and that The Rag will once again be printing regularly.

On top of motivating the staff, Bever also must train them. She is the last of a group of students who were trained by the paper’s now-retired advisor. This means that staff members must be taught how to use layout software, the printing process, how a paper runs, and then the basics of journalism, which include how to write for each section and how to properly edit.

Students at Northport High School, according to Bever, do not appreciate The Rag. “Our paper isn’t very popular or very loved; when it’s not being stepped on and ignored, it’s subject to controversy,” she commented.

Bever is working on a way to not only change her high school’s view of the paper but to encourage them to interact and become a part of it. Her plan is to create an online version of The Rag, enabling writers to go to an event such as a sports game or a school theatre production and within a few hours have an article ready for readers to see.

She also has plans to improve the communication between staff and reader. For years, a social wall appeared to separate the two groups, additionally aiding the continuing dissatisfaction with The Rag.

Bever wants to make sure that readers’ opinions are heard, hoping to create a way for anyone with a story idea or question to easily be able to get in touch with an editor.

With six years of experience writing everything from technology pieces to news as well as being part of the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, she feels she is more than qualified for not only her upcoming battle but also for the position which she will soon be trusted with – editor-in-chief.

Journalism is a passion of Bever’s, and even though she knows that her plan is “ambitious,” keeping The Rag alive is most important.

“Getting out a good paper is not as important to me as getting out a paper,” she explained.