A 3 year study into The Dakota Planet


Madeline Kraemer, Editor-in-Chief

A 3 year study into The Dakota Planet

When I was a freshman, an upperclassman walked into my English class and gave us flyers for Writing for Publication. I thought the idea of being on the school newspaper sounded cooler than art class, so I signed up for the class. I had no idea that this class would change my life in every single way.

If you are even considering taking the class, I beg you to do it, there is no other class, or teacher, in the school that will give you as much as this one. There will never be a place in this school where you feel more at home. There will never be a class as loud, or as funny. Half of our time is spent debating and sharing ideas, people hear us from down the hall. You won’t find a teacher who cares more about her students than Mrs. Sarver. I will never be able to thank Mrs. Sarver enough for being who she is and putting up with me for 3 years.

In Writing for Publication, you will have more freedom that any other class has ever given you. When I say that you can do anything, I mean it. We’ve had students who are artists, and for a grade they literally made art and posted it. We’ve had poets, fiction writers, graphic designers, photographers, there is no limit to how creative you can be. I started out as a photographer; all I did was take picture of school events for other people’s stories. When I was going through all the equipment we had, I realized there was a lot of unused video stuff. That was the day broadcast started.

Broadcast was the first thing I truly loved doing at school, it gave me more confidence, which has benefited me beyond what I’ve ever imagined. I won’t lie to you and say it was all sunshine and rainbows, it was hard to work with other people for once rather than doing it all myself. And I certainly won’t tell you that we were any good, it would take us days to get one take finished because we kept laughing. But the work put in by Bethany, Catera, Daniela, Christian and I, helped me create DTV. Bethany played a huge part in broadcast, without her editing every video, there would have been nothing to post, she played a bigger role than I think she realizes. I truly looked up to all of them, even when we didn’t get along, because as a terrified sophomore, it was a huge help to have friends in the building. I don’t know if they followed along with DTV and got to see what their work created, but I hope they get the chance to see some of the new videos and know that they each had a part in that.

The next year after everyone I worked with graduated, I was back at square one. But with slightly more power as managing editor of The Dakota planet, I knew where to begin. Somewhere, lost in a graveyard of files, there are audition tapes of Zariq, Brandon, Jacob, and Lexi in the back room reading lines. I had a skeleton of Broadcast that I planned to work off of, and Zariq had a completely different vision. Did this go well? No, I actually tried to fire him, but I am insanely glad he wouldn’t stop fighting me. He is the one person who made it all work, and as much as I wanted that person to be me, I’m glad it wasn’t. I had to learn how to not do all the work in a group project, which was really hard for me, I had to learn to trust them to create something we all were proud of. We were never perfect, it took us weeks to post one video, we fought… a lot at first, and we laughed so much some days that nothing got done. We weren’t perfect, but we were good. The videos we made were hilarious and people actually started watching them, the site was getting more views than ever and more and more people signed up for the class. The moments in the broadcast room were some of the ones where I realized I actually liked high school. On several occasions, being part of DTV actually made me popular, we showed our infamous Christmas special (lets not talk about it) in the auditorium one day, and people were actually coming up to me and asking if I was a part of that. I don’t think I’ll ever forget DTV and what it did for me. Things didn’t go exactly as planned this year with COVID, but I hope I’ll get to see more content from next year’s students, and that making videos brings them as much joy as it did for me.

I want to thank a few people who had a part to play in my newspaper experience. Thank you, Mr. Voss, for being our biggest fan, your comments always make us laugh and your support means a lot. A huge thank you to Mr. Koskos for your continued support of The Dakota Planet, I never imagined I would be seeing my principal as much as I did during high school, but thank you for supporting our goals and helping us reach them. Thank you, Mr. Mcleod, even though you were a late addition to my high school career, our classroom debates wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting without you.

I genuinely have never met a single one of Mrs. Sarvers students who doesn’t have pages worth of praise to give her. It is nearly impossible to leave her classroom feeling sad, or discouraged. Even when we almost gave her a heart attack a few times from the trouble we got in (sorry about that), she always supported us and did what she could to make sure we got to do what we loved.  As I said before, you will not find a teacher who cares more about her students, you will not find another teacher like Mrs. Sarver. I lucked out, my junior year I had her 3 hours in a row, I don’t know how she wasn’t sick of me after one day, but it was the best time I’ve had in school. The kind of teachers who understand what it’s like to be a student are the kind of teachers that students love. Instead of just saying “I’ll always be there for you” she actually is. I didn’t eat lunch in the lunch room a single day of 10th and 11th grade, she was more than happy to let us hang out in her classroom and continue our conversations and jokes. When you walk into her room it’s impossible to not feel loved, I don’t even think she has the ability to hate anyone on this earth. I had the chance to be in her English 11 class as well, and it was a class I truly loved. It was one of those classes where you don’t realize how much you’re learning because it doesn’t feel like work, it’s a class where there are no stupid questions and no wrong answers. Instead of requiring essays and projects to have so many rules, she asks that you simply show her that you learned something, one time I made a playlist about a reading and explained why I chose those songs for a grade. Even if you don’t have her as a teacher, you should stop by, or better yet, sign up for her classes, it’s worth it. The time I spent in room 118 taught me more than any assignment or book, the lessons I learned there will serve me well beyond just college.

Take Writing for Publication. Even if you can’t write, or aren’t good at photography, take the class, there will be a spot for you. I like to think there will always be a part of me left at Dakota when I leave tomorrow, my work will matter even when I move on. Even when I’m gone, Mrs. Sarver will remember the girl who wouldn’t stop talking, and took several years off her life expectancy from all the stress. But I hope watching me grow from a terrified sophomore to Editor in Chief, shows her how much she changes her student’s lives. I hope that I get to watch The Dakota Planet grow into something even more beautiful.


Mrs. Sarver, thank you will never be enough, but it’s a start. Thank you.


Sincerely, your Editor in Chief,

Madeline Kraemer