The Kestrel has had a long and tumultuous history as the school newspaper of Xavier High School. It had its beginnings in 1963 under the name “X-citing News.” Since then, our school’s paper has fluctuated between having a major role in student life and being a minor and sometimes nonexistent portion of the Xavier community.

In 2013, The Kestrel staff had an opportunity to take a trip down to the school’s media center, where we were granted entry into the yearbook vault, every “Don” in the history of our school all in the same place. In several of these yearbooks from years past, we found pages dedicated to The Kestrel and its exploits during each school year. Our writers discovered that in 1968, The Kestrel’s popularity was enough to not only warrant a “Kestrel Trophy” awarded by the school but to also earn an annual plaque to be handed down by the Middletown Press, called the “Most Valuable Kestrel Staffer” plaque. Also, two years later in 1970, the Kestrel received even more honor from the Middletown Press as it was recognized as having published the best issue in Middlesex County. It was clear that early on, The Kestrel set a high standard for local news reporting.

Over the years, The Kestrel continued to have success and was even popular enough to earn a new office in the school library in 1975. Five years later, in 1980, the newspaper was able to publish six issues in the same school year, a number that is impressive for any school newspaper, fledgling or veteran. But in more recent years, The Kestrel has struggled with a lack of interest from the student body and thus a lack of readers and writers. During the 2010-2011 school year, The Kestrel only managed to print two issues that were met with minimal interest, leading to a discontinuation of the newspaper altogether in the following school year. In the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, The Kestrel was literally nonexistent. Beginning in 2013, The Kestrel returned as Xavier’s official news publication, having been repopulated by an entirely new group of students and armed with an entirely new, digital reporting platform at www.xkestrel.com.

The Kestrel reports under the following mission statement:

We, the Kestrel, believe that it is our obligation to announce current news and events to the Xavier Community. It is our undertaking to ensure that our readers are interested and can relate to stories we publish. We are focused on writing original articles and promoting freedom of expression as we serve as the student body’s voice. Through The Kestrel, the thoughts and concerns of the Xavier community will be heard.

The meaning behind these four simple sentences is just as straightforward as it appears. The goal of our newspaper now and for the foreseeable future stands to be to publish stories of popular interest for Xavier students, as well as to report the concerns and interests of the student body. Overall, the development of original content by The Kestrel will serve to form a powerful voice for the Xavier community.

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