The DiRectory

History of The DiRectory

History of The DiRectory

The Rectory School newspaper was started in 1997 by Lisette Rimer, a fledgling English teacher, and Tom Army, a supportive headmaster who had a passion for current events. There were few area student newspapers to model, none at the middle school level. But there was a school computer lab with sputtering Apple Es. Save early, save often was the rule. With the help of how-to manuals and willing students, the first papers rolled off school Xerox machines. Photos were barely recognizable, and the typos were glaring, but Rectory students were publishing their views on timely issues long before most middle schoolers.

More students joined the staff. The paper grew from six to twenty-four pages. Secretaries politely suggested that the copying be done elsewhere. Internet access by 2000 encouraged students to broaden their topics from school dress codes and menus to September 11 and the Iraq War. Whatever their interests, student curiosity drove the stories: What’s it like to be expelled? Why are Korean students so good at math? What does a master plan mean for students? Is there life after secondary school rejection?

The DiRectory revealed the heart of the school through the heart of its student reporters. It taught passion for content, writing structure, and even grammar. The need for strong leads, clarity, conciseness, powerful verbs, and punctuation became self-evident. Students wrote for the pride of being published, and the result became a seventeen-year tradition of student-centered writing in a printed paper. Now that tradition continues online with a new advisor, Patty Shattuck, and current headmaster, Fred Williams, who will build on the ever-growing curiosity of Rectory middle schoolers and carry their written spirit to a more timely medium. The DiRectory will now be all digital, from writing to publication, increasing circulation to alumni and parents with the touch of a button — something we didn’t dream was possible seventeen years ago!

Lisette Rimer
Newspaper Advisor (retired)

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The student news site of Rectory School.
History of The DiRectory