Behind the Byline; looking into years of hard work

BluePrints+first+issue+of+the+2020-2021+school+year.

BluePrints first issue of the 2020-2021 school year.

Kennedy Ogden

What once started as an after-school club in the early 2000s is now an award-winning publication. BluePrints winning the All Ohio award was a culmination of many years of hard work.

Blue Prints staff during OSMA awards via zoom (Video credit:Blueprints/Amy Tolbert)

The creation of BluePrints is credited to Beth Gwyn, a retired English teacher. 

BluePrints was not always in the hands of Gwyn. Current high school teacher E.B. Smith took the reins after Gwyn retired. 

‘I inherited BluePrints in 2002,” Smith said.

When Smith started as an adviser, BluePrints was an afterschool club. The students worked to publish in the Granville Sentinel once a month as a special feature. 

“Students would write articles, and the editor-in-chief and I would collect them, drive to the old Sentinel offices in Granville, and use their computers in order to create a two-page layout,” Smith said. 

With the popularity of journalism growing within the school, the small afterschool club grew into an official curriculum. By 2003, the journalism course was born, with the help of the Granville Education Foundation. 

“The Granville Education Foundation was able to provide funds for two separate grants that I wrote for the purchase of the computers and software used at the time,” Smith said 

Through the years, BluePrints began publishing their own newspapers throughout the school year.

Each era of BluePrints brought different traditions. While Smith taught the course, each year the staff would work to create a t-shirt. Each time a new newspaper was released the students would wear the shirt that they had designed. 

From 2002- 2008, Smith worked as an English teacher and Journalism teacher. After some years the baton was passed to current teacher, Amy Tolbert. 

“I was so happy when we hired Mrs. Tolbert because she had a Journalism teaching background,” Smith said. 

After relocating to Worthington, Ohio, from Pittsburgh, Tolbert applied for the position as an English/Journalism teacher. 

“Although it was a little longer commute than I wanted, I had a good feeling about [the job], so I applied,” Tolbert said. 

Tolbert was well immersed in the field of publications. She had started a journalism program at her previous school, while also being the scholastic yearbook adviser for a handful of years. She picked up the reins where Smith left off.

“I didn’t want to rock the boat that much my first year, but after a few years, we started to transition to a newsmagazine format,” Tolbert said. 

The first year BluePrints introduced themselves as a monthly magazine was 2010. The process for publishing nine issues a year began. 

“As I look back on the covers, I have very distinct memories of each issue,” Tolbert said.

After years of transitions due to technology, Blueprints switched into gear. 

As technology-enhanced over the years, BluePrints staff started a website platform, social media accounts and a Youtube channel. With the workload increasing, BluePrints began to publish quarterly issues. After years of transitions due to technology, Blueprints switched into gear. 

BluePrints magazine through the years. Created by Kennedy Ogden

“We had strengths and weaknesses every year,” Tolbert said. 

There were many situations with the issues where design was great, but the writing was not or vice versa, according to Tolbert. Last year the staff came together to create harmonious issues, she said.

“We had a well-rounded staff with a wide range of talents,” Tolbert said. 

With many years of experience and a passionate team, Tolbert was able to guide BluePrints to victory. Last year BluePrints won the Ohio Scholastic Media Association All-Ohio award, which is like winning states for Journalism. 

“While I was on BluePrints since my junior year, [winning All-Ohio] was one of the best feelings in the world,” said former staff member Molly Wilson, who is a journalism major at Ohio University. “Knowing all the hard work, designs, layouts and stories are all being acknowledged is a huge reassurance” 

The BluePrints staff continues to be the voice of the student body. 

Current 2020-2021 BluePrints staff. Thinglink created by Kennedy Ogden.