By Rick Brown
California Mentor

It is pretty obvious that working with folks who take on the challenge of newspaper advising is a tremendous reward in mentoring. I have been very lucky in working with folks like Terrill Korrell, Alecia Brown and Suzanna Johnson.

Advising the newspaper at Bear River High School has struck a positive chord for Terrill Korrell. Photo by Rick Brown.

I have also been involved with other advisers on an informal level. All of these folks are pretty impressive in terms of creativity, passion and dedication.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Terrill and talk about newspaper advising, and being a teacher in these troubled times. Fortunately, the administration at Bear River High School, Grass Valley,  had no plans of cutting out journalism, but many other classes are on the chopping block, including Terrill’s famous psychology class.

That’s right psychology. Terrill took on the journalism position without formal training in the field. He has been a counselor and an inspiring psychology teacher and holds a master’s degree in counseling. A few years ago, the newspaper adviser left, and the class was scheduled to die unless a teaching staff member jumped in. And that is exactly what Terrill did.

He started this quest by taking a summer workshop taught by Steve O’Donoghue and me. Then he agreed to be mentored with a two-year contract.

With lots of preparation and planning, he jumped in with unflinching enthusiasm. He was assigned 40 kids with varying degrees of abilities. He and his editors also decided to published a paper once a week. By dividing the class into three sections and rotating the production schedules the Bear River Current has become the student voice for the school. The paper is lively, relevant and well written. And it is read — read a lot by both students and the staff.

One of Terrill’s keys to success is a willingness to ask good questions and seek advice. That advice can be in the form of logistical questions to networking with other advisers. He is always on the hunt to learn more.

Needless to say, working with such a colleague is inspiring and a heck of a lot of fun.