By Kailey Cota, SIPA assistant
Posted April 29, 2022
Two of Clarke Central High School’s ODYSSEY Media Group members are our newest SIPA Stars.
ODYSSEY Media Group Adviser David Ragsdale worked with both students in 2017 at Camp Red Clay, a week-long writing-intensive summer camp. Since he met them as shy middle schoolers, they’ve grown into acclimated journalists.
SIPA Star Audrey Enghauser learned to step out of her comfort zone throughout her time at the ODYSSEY Media Group, according to Ragsdale.
“I’ve seen her ascension from precocious middle school writing prodigy to the Editor-in-Chief of an award-winning journalism program,” Ragsdale said in his letter of recommendation.
SIPA Star Natalie Schliekelman, who once was so shy she was afraid to speak to older students, has now found her voice, Ragsdale said.
“I’ve seen Natalie mature into a quality journalist, an excellent scholar, and a leader,” Ragsdale said. “Through conducting countless interviews, she realized she could weave stories about our school for our community of readers.”
Though Schliekelman and Enghauser work closely together as the managing editor and a magazine design and digital media creation staffer, their talent for reporting makes them stand out as SIPA Stars even more than their leadership abilities.
Enghauser wrote three feature stories for the ODYSSEY newsmagazine about various issues facing Athens’ Black community now and in the past. Through in-depth reporting on these features, she was able to tell their stories in a meaningful way.
“They were her fuel and grounded her in the CCHS community in meaningful ways,” Ragsdale said about the features. “She learned how to bring important voices to our readership and found a passion for issue-based storytelling — improving her writing and interviewing skills each time out.”
Schliekelman’s reporting skills were strengthened by her drive to consistently publish breaking news and her work on a feature story about the application of 504 and Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for students.
“She ensures our community is provided with not only the news it wants but that it needs,” Ragsdale said. “She has also shown her flourish in stylized pieces from 300-word profiles to reviews.”
Schliekelman also attended the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, a program for the state’s top 1/3 of the top 1% gifted and talented students, with Ragsdale. At the Honors Program, she applied her journalistic and critical thinking skill sets, which reinforced much her love of writing, the power of language, and media studies, Ragsdale said.
They’re also both multimedia journalists who have dabbled in radio, web design, packages and social media.
“Overall, Natalie is an excellent scholar with an ultra-competitive GPA and course history,” Ragsdale said. “I’ve found her to be creative and willing to take on challenges. She is a quality collaborator and a true leader.”
Schliekelman continues to improve her and her peers by making connections to previous studies and pushing the thinking of others, Rasgdalde said.
SIPA Stars is a showcase series that spotlights individual students, celebrates their
content, and exemplifies good Southern journalism at work in scholastic classrooms.
An adviser or editor can recommend a student to be a SIPA Star through a short application process. We will create web and social media posts and letters to principals and local media outlets to identify and spotlight the student selected.