Scribe Now 15 Years in Publication


Angel Crawford

Journalism adviser David Flanary, left, poses wit hEditor-in-Chief Russ Hubbard at the 2014 national journalism convention in Washington DC. This was the first time the program won the “Pacemaker” award. the highest honor in scholastic journalism. The Scribe has won the title twice and been a finalist six times.

Aubryn Markl, Sport's Editor

Sevier Middle’s newspaper, the Sequoyah Scribe, is celebrating its 15-year anniversary this year. Over the years, the Scribe has achieved multiple awards, including “Best Newspaper” in the state, several national “Pacemaker” awards, and over 200 awards for individual articles and photos.

“Honestly, my first thought was ‘oh wow, I’m old’,” Linore Huss, a former Scribe staff member, said.

Huss was there at the very beginning, serving with the Scribe during its first year. Today, she is the Director at The Inventor Center in Kingsport and teaches metals and ceramics classes.

Aubrey Vincent, another former staff member, agreed. She is currently enrolled at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville pursuing a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and Management.

“It definitely makes me feel old, as it has been 8 years since I have been a member,” she said.

The program  started in 2008, when Social Studies teacher David Flanary joined the school.

“When I was asked ‘what can you do extracurricular at our school’ I said ‘I’m not much of a coach, but I wrote for my high school newspaper, wrote for my college newspaper, and I guess we could do a newspaper here’,” Flanary said.

Students got involved with the Scribe for various reasons.

“I loved my time with the Scribe,” Laura Dingus, who joined the Scribe during its second year, said. “I mostly was in the newscast, I didn’t really do a lot with the actual newspaper, but I loved the newscast. I was one of the reporters that did the headline stories. It was just getting started when I was at Sevier, so I was happy to be in something that was brand new.”

Today, Dingus works at Lincoln Elementary as a Pre-K teacher.

Starting a new program wasn’t exactly easy.

“There was no money,” Flanary said. “The hardest part was that there was just no money. There was nothing. We had no equipment, we didn’t have computers, we didn’t have a newsroom, a dedicated space like we have now. It was tough to make something from pretty much nothing,” Flanary said.

Despite these issues, the Sequoyah Scribe has improved a lot over the years.

“There is lot a single thing that we don’t do better than we did 15 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” Flanary said. “I had to learn a lot about newspaper advising and yearbooks and broadcasting. As I learned all these things, and I was able to pass them on to students, and we just naturally got better.”

Huss agreed.

“We were definitely still learning; it was early days of the paper,” she said. “Aside from the obvious skills of journalism, editing, and arranging the layout, I also grew as a person at the Scribe. I’m still an introvert, but as a middle schooler I just didn’t approach people, ever. Being a part of the paper forced me to go outside of my comfort zone.”

Many former staff members cite working with Flanary as a highlight of their time at Sevier.

“My favorite thing about the Scribe was Mr. Flanary,” Vincent said. “His compassion for his students should be exemplified, and if it hadn’t been for him or my time with the Scribe, I don’t know if I would be where I’m at today.”

Huss agreed.

“He encourages his students to be curious, take delight in reading and learning, and think for themselves,” she said.

The Seqouyah Scribe has had significant impacts on its former members.

“Working with the Scribe was the beginning of my confidence in my own abilities,” Huss said. “When I did a good job, I got confirmation of that, and I also received helpful suggestions and grew personally. While I didn’t continue with journalism myself, I know some of the editors and others involved with the paper continued in high school and onward.”

Former staff members highly recommend the experience to current middle school students.

“I absolutely would recommend it,” Dingus said “It was my favorite activity that I did in middle school and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. The skills you learn in journalism last with you for a lifetime. There’s a part for everyone in journalism no matter who you are.”

Dingus was one of several staff members who were involved with the Scribe’s weekly broadcast news.

“I had just figured out, kind of, how to do a newspaper, and then the students were like ‘how do we do a broadcast?’ and I’m like ‘I have no idea’,” Flanary said. “Students kind of threw this broadcasting thing at me, and I was trying to give them the opportunity to do the stuff that they were looking for.”

Time and money, unfortunately, killed the broadcast. Fortunately, there has been some talk about starting it back up again.

“We made it work for a little while, but it was extremely difficult,” Flanary said. “After a few years, we were just hitting a critical mass of money. There was a lot of equipment needed. What happens when you have six cameras, and one breaks, and it’s $300 to buy a replacement?”

Space was the final issue. The newspaper was expanding and the program needed all the space in the newsroom.

“There at the end, before things fizzled out, one of our broadcast journalists was named second place ‘best reporter’ in the state of Tennessee,” Flanary said. “Our broadcast was doing really, really well. So losing the broadcast, I wasn’t happy with.”

Over the course of years, the Scribe produced over 800 broadcast episodes.

Five years ago, the Sequoyah Scribe also started to create the yearbook.

“Since we had a lot of success doing the newspaper, a principal just one day came to me and said ‘we could use somebody to do the yearbook’,” Flanary said. “The yearbook was always thrown at a random teacher. For a while, the librarian made it, then it was a social studies teacher. They basically sent out an email and said ‘hey, if you’re a football coach, please send us some pictures you took on your phone at the football game’. I wasn’t interested in working like that.”

Flanary asked the Scribe staff if they were interested and willing to do the yearbook, and they agreed. So he placed the yearbook in the hands of

“I feel like our program has taught students some skills that they’re able to go out into the real world and do something with,” he said. “I think that is the thing I’m probably most proud of and the reason that I’m still doing this after 15 years.”

There are some interesting things Flanary would like to accomplish during his time with the Scribe.

“Number one, make it a related arts class, and number two, bring the broadcasts back,” he said. “I think those two things go hand in hand. If I were able to see my student journalists every day, rather than just once a week, I think we could accomplish a lot, including bringing the broadcast back or trying our hand at some short interview podcasts.”

Flanary has some hopes for the future. He would eventually like to get a TikTok up and running, for non-Scribe students to catch a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes in the newsroom. The biggest influence on the Scribe, however, will always be the students.

“If students come to me with a really cool idea, or something that they want to try or want to experiment with, generally, if the time and the space and the resources are there, I’ll just say, ‘okay, let’s run with it’,” Flanary said.