Not all public high school students have let their teachers’ dispute with the province stand in the way of their extracurricular activities.
When students at North Toronto Collegiate discovered that their school’s newspaper Graffiti was being shut down they decided to take matters into their own hands.
After learning Graffiti would cease to operate due to the labour situation, Wex and her co-editor-in-chief, Anna Crombie, decided to pitch an idea for an independent paper.
“We were lucky that we’re a club that didn’t need a staff supervisor,” said the paper’s co-editor-in-chief, Sabina Wex.
Wex, and the Graffiti’s student management proposed three options to their team to keep a paper at their school — self-produce, publish online, or do nothing.
They chose to self-produce.
“It was completely unanimous,” Wex said.
They decided on the name for the new publication after student advisor Kyle Mastarciyan who was filling in for an editorial board member, referred to himself as the proxy.
Wex said she and Crombie understood that proxy meant a replacement, and so they fittingly named the new paper Proxy .
The name change was necessary because students were concerned that if it were called Graffiti some might think that school staff were going against their union to help put the publication out.
“We wanted to be careful not to have any association with the school to protect our advisor and even our principal,” said Wex.
Working without staff supervision hasn’t been difficult Wex said as Graffiti was largely student run.
“It’s not been that hard,” Wex said. “We always did everything ourselves so it wasn’t a huge switch.”
Wex says the students write, edit, speak with the printer and secure advertising on their own.
The only new aspect they had to navigate was opening a bank account, since student council no longer funds the paper. In order to pay for the January edition students needed to raise about $1,400.
“[Raising money] was scary at first because we didn’t know what to do,” said Wex.
The first edition of Proxy will include a feature about Toronto nightlife, gun violence in school following recent shootings in the U.S., a preview into a charity fashion show and an American perspective on Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
While Wex expects some students not to notice the change from Graffiti to Proxy she says the general consensus around the school community has been positive.
“The reaction is very strong,” Wex says. “People are excited.”
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