History of The Harbinger
“Sees all; Hears all; Keeps no secret.” What’s that about?!? An underground spy network, Communism, Big Brother, the CIA? All good questions but no; it is the motto of the Sparks High School newspaper, The Helios. If you’re wondering about Sparks High School and The Helios then; never fear, my inquisitive readers, all of your questions and more will be answered, I promise.
Hereford High school was originally a one room schoolhouse called Sparks High School. Many generations, additions and renovations later turned Sparks High into the Hereford High we know and love today. The Sparks newspaper, The Helios, started as a four page paper in the 1930’s. The paper was simplistic by our standards but the cat’s meow when it came to news in the 30’s.
The organization was incredibly different than today’s. The paper consisted of mostly school related news with a solid three column spread across the page. There were no definite section headlines that could be discerned and the columns were separated with solid lines instead of the spaces we use today. When one article ended, the next began right below it. The ad pages were at the very end of the paper and were all ads and no articles. Along with the layout, the topics of the articles were different than ours as well. All the articles were about school and community related topics. The community aspect gave the paper a quaint small town feel that keeps everyone in the loop. Honor Roll students were also featured in The Helios, but then again they didn’t have as many students as we do now. Since the technological accomplishments of the time were dwarfed by ours, the paper couldn’t be ultra sophisticated. The Helios had a simplistic beauty and the fact it was one of the building blocks of paper today just adds to its appeal.
So what’s next? Does the school just magically become Hereford High, the newspaper all the sudden turn into The Harbinger, end of story? No, there is more to this saga still.
The Helios evolved into a longer paper called Skraps. Skraps kept the three columns ofThe Helios. But, to modernize their paper Skraps got rid of the lines separating columns and replaced them with the few pica wide column guides we use today. To go over the one column articles were unified headlines, which were short and to the point, instead of the subject verb format utilized today. Skraps was a six or eight page paper, with all the ads on the back pages. Students also drew pictures and submitted them as the graphics for certain articles. The articles were all about Sparks. They were well written and really quite interesting. As Skraps progresses the paper becomes regular newspaper sized, instead of printer paper sized. There are also many more student interviews. In the 50’s high schoolers were opinionated and they showed it. Skraps continues until 1953, in which year it evolves again and becomes our beloved Harbinger.
The Harbinger started on September 21, 1953, though it was quite a bit different then it is today. The articles were one column long, just as their predecessors Skraps and The Helios. It came out only 5 times a year, unlike ours which has the luxury of running every month. Students could buy a yearly subscription to the original Harbinger for 45 cents a year. The format was different as well. The head plate is written in ribbon-like font with the Hereford emblem in the background. It also listed the issue number, volume number, the high school name and address and the release date. Surrounding this information was a box. They altered the outline for the box with holidays and special events like we change our head plate. As well as format modifications, the topics of the articles changed over time. At first, like Skraps, the original Harbinger was full of quotes and student opinions. All the articles were also about school related topics such as school renovations, the Pioneer Pub, and upcoming events. In 1996, the students started writing about non-school related topics. Finally, editorials were being written, movie reviews, and national news problem were being expressed. It was fantastic. Reading about things other than school in the school paper is so much more interesting, than school, school, and more school.
Two-thousand three was a very special year for The Harbinger, it was The Harbingers’s50th anniversary. The anniversary edition was incredible. The double truck had a watermark of all the names of the staff. They also changed the head plate for the occasion. The name Harbinger was laid over a rectangular plate with light decoration underneath. After the success of the anniversary issue the head plate and format were changed permanently. We still use this format for The Harbinger today when issues go out to the press.
Since newspapers have become a thing of the past and national papers are folding left and right, we wanted to update and keep our beloved Harbinger going strong. We decided to take a leaf out of the Baltimore Sun’s “book” and try to go online. We couldn’t just start up a website though, we needed a 400 dollar grant from the PTSA. Our editors in chief Hannah Byrne and Angie Innis petitioned to the PTSA to obtain this grant and….IT WAS APPROVED! We are now officially online for the first time. The next step was to design our web page. In class we were able to pick all of the colors of the site and design the layout. Then we uploaded our staff bios and articles. Being online for the first time is an outstanding accomplishment that we are proud to be a part of. All our hard work is now immortalized on the internet for all to see.