March 11, 2020


Shelby Hallett

The very first issue of the beacon was published in 1929 and featured an image of Principal Daugherty on the front cover.

Dallastown teachers Mrs. Clara M. Lentz and Mr. Harry W. Shenk are listed as the very first Beacon Staff Advisors.  While the publication proudly considers itself  “a student lead publication since 1929,”  the faculty who made it possible are still important parts of the process.

Another noteworthy Staff Advisor is retired English teacher Mrs. Sandy Moyer, formerly Ms. Pacholok. Moyer is estimated to be the longest running advisor after her 15 years in the position ended in 1999 when she resigned. She continued at Dallastown as the head of the English Department until her retirement.

“Compared to the technology-driven paper of today’s student publication, The Beacon, I knew had a turnaround time of at least two weeks and it was manually compiled and designed by the staff,” explained Moyer.

Moyer described the lengthy process.

“The student journalists would first submit their completed stories double-spaced on 8 x 10 ½ paper. I would proofread the texts and send the documents to a printing shop in York City whose staff would typeset our stories into column form.  If we were on schedule, the stories were returned to us within the work week. The stories were typeset onto paper whose reverse side was coated in wax. Once we had cut the typeset stories into column width, we were able to “stick” the waxed stories onto large “proof sheets” that were the identical size of a Beacon page. Talk about time consuming!”

The experience of a Beacon staff member in 2020 is certainly very different from what Moyer’s students went through.

While the turn around is still loosely meant to be two weeks, many shorter articles are published in half the time while longer projects may take twice as long.  Thanks to the website Dallastown students have more time and freedom.

While reflecting on her time with The Beacon, Moyer commented, “My favorite memories involve, of course, the students with whom I was privileged to work.  Those long hours formed some very strong friendships.  Some of my staff members went on to careers in journalism (Randy Parker of the York Daily Record), and many simply enjoyed the experience for what it was:  an opportunity to be a positive part of the Dallastown school community, to make lasting friendships, and to work together toward a common goal.”

The current Beacon adviser is English teacher Miss Angie Gable.  She has helped to usher The Beacon into the digital age and could beat Moyer’s 15 years at the end of next school year.

“One of the best things has been watching the evolution of The Beacon.  Starting social media accounts and the website has allowed us to cover breaking news and to print articles in a much more timely fashion.  I think this new hybrid form of journalism is better preparing students for what they may see after high school in journalism related careers.  It’s not all about writing an article anymore.  Although that’s the basis, a reporter has to be multi-faceted and able to work in a variety of platforms,” Gable said.

Even through all these changes, Gable continues to work in the best interest of the students and maintain the original goals of Dallastown’s student paper.

“At its core, The Beacon is still what it was when it started in 1929.  It’s a way to shine a light on the accomplishments and the issues that are important to the students of Dallastown.  We just do it a little differently today. “

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