It was sad to read about the demise of the student newspaper at Perrysburg High School, the Somethin'. It's unfortunate when any newspaper puts a "30" on its history and prints its last edition. It is especially troubling when it's an enterprise by and for young people.
Perrysburg students have written, edited, and assembled the Somethin' for 90 years. But the last issue was printed and distributed as the school year wound down this month.
Officially, school officials say the paper could come back someday if student interest warrants. Unofficially, they probably know better.
What a shame. Somethin' would be a whole lot better than nuthin'.
Perrysburg Principal Michael Short, a fan of newspapers in general and the Somethin' in particular, wishes it weren't so. But the kids at his school -- like most other youngsters, it seems -- prefer the instant gratification of other activities, not classes that require intensive writing and reading.
Only half a dozen kids signed up for journalism class next year, so the class will not be offered.
It's a similar story at Clay High School in Oregon, where student interest in producing The Eagle has melted away to the point that it is rarely published. Journalism classes were not offered this past school year because so few kids expressed interest.
During my time at Clay, half a century ago, the school newspaper was a big deal. The journalism class was large, and spots on the Eagle staff were coveted.
A dedicated teacher named Robert LaConto made a huge difference in my life and the lives of many others. Even classmates who had no intention of going into journalism benefited greatly from the training and guidance they received as young reporters and editors on The Eagle.
It was hard work and it instilled an appreciation for discipline, diligence, and deadlines. When the finished product emerged, there was no other feeling quite like it. It's a rush I still get today, every time I pick up The Blade.
But I wonder whether even Mr. LaConto would get through to today's preoccupied, distracted youngsters. Could he inspire them to get creative at a keyboard and use their fingers, not just their thumbs? I don't know.
I don't despair for newspapers, but I do despair for the written word. An entire generation is so focused on cell phones and iPads that texting "OMG, URAQT, CU@8" to a boyfriend or girlfriend is what passes for clever, original writing.
Here's a thought: Establish a Web site and let the kids publish the school newspaper online. Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio, has published its Viking Views online for several years.
I haven't undertaken any kind of survey, scientific or otherwise, but I'm guessing that the unfortunate developments at Perrysburg and Clay high schools reflect a trend across the region and most likely the nation.
That should distress anybody who values written communication.
We're well into another baseball season, and for a foreign visitor -- or anyone else who is unfamiliar with the sport -- the game can be terribly confusing.
With that in mind, I happily share the following condensed version of the rules of baseball, source unknown. Now pay attention.
Baseball is a game played by two teams, one out, the other in. The team that's in sends players out one at a time to see whether they can get in before they get out. If they get out before they get in, they come in, but it doesn't count. If they get in before they get out, it does count.
When the ones out get three outs from the ones in before they get in without being out, the team that's out comes in and the team that's in goes out to get those going in out before they get in without being out.
When both teams have been in and out nine times, the game is over. The team with the most in without being out before coming in wins, unless the ones in are equal. In which case, the last ones in go out to get the ones in out before they get in without being out.
The game will end when each team has the same number of ins out but one team has more in without being out before coming in.
I hope this helps. Baseball is a cerebral sport. Sometimes it's a good idea to review the ins and outs of the game.
Thomas Walton is retired editor and vice president of The Blade. His column appears every other Monday.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org