The Old Order Changeth, Once Again

In November, 1928, the first issue of the Thacher School Notes was published. Volume 1, number 1 of the publication was long overdue.

The first iteration of the newspaper came in February, 1893 and was named Casa Piedra Reata.

The Reata presents its compliments to the world in general and makes its bow. Whether it will long survive the dangers of infancy cannot be told, but it hopes to appear in public once a fortnight during term time (Feb 1, 1893)

Survive long, it did not.

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The school, just four years old at this time, was unable to sustain the newspaper by itself. The school thus began publishing as a single back page in the Ojai newspaper. The last page listed it as simply School Notes.

This continued until 1916, when for reasons unexplained, the archives fall silent between until 1928.

Then, under the editors Edward Yeomans, Jr. CdeP 1930 and Wetherill Collins CdeP 1930, the first edition of the Thacher School Notes appeared, and we have kept that name ever since.

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Although the newspaper has had years of absence – we are currently in Volume 83 despite being in year 85 – the name has stayed the same.

While the name has changed since 1893, the mission has stayed the same.

Its object, as its name implies, is to catch hold of all sorts of items of news and other things of interest to those interested in Casa Piedra Ranch, and present them to its indulgent readers at the bi-weekly “round-up” under its own brand an ear-mark. (Casa Piedra Reata, Feb 1, 1893)

The 1928 editors noted, “It must be admitted, however, that the Notes were sometimes dull. Never aspiring to be much more than a summary of weekly events, if nothing particularly thrilling happened we went through a period of literary lapses.”

They also believed that, “the transformation of the Notes into an independent publication has been a great step forward. . . . will result in a better written and more comprehensive survey of the school life, giving more scope to the editors and more interest to the readers.”

     Yes, this is still the Thacher School Notes, but who would recognize it! Surely a great change from the four half columns in the corner of The Ojai that have been so familiar to Casa de Piedrans for the last twenty years. The first question is, “How did this change come about?” and that is what we here intend to explain.

As we said, heretofore the School Notes have been published weekly in the town paper. This plan has worked remarkably well, and has solved a problem difficult in a school as small as ours, and enjoying so many different out-door activities. As long as the editor of The Ojai was willing to make this concession to us, we had nothing to worry about.

Finally the inevitable question arose, “Is this really the best we can do in the way of a school paper?” The question was discussed at some length last year, as every year for six or eight past, and this the result.

We need not say we hope it will surely be a change for the better; we are confident that it is, and realize that our alumni, and both students and teachers agree with us. Now that the hardest part is over, the transition has been accomplished, let us all do our share in helping the project along by suggestions and contributions, and as our universal friend Ike Livermore would put it, “maintain the old superiority.”

The first edition covered such hot topics as the Photography Club, the arts program, a meeting of the trustees, a review of the fall camping program, a mid-season baseball review, and recent trail work completed by the Pack & Saddle Club and the Bit & Spur Club.

A recent investigation of the archives by editor, Elliot Schiff, revealed that the old newspaper rarely, if ever, covered news outside the Thacher community. Nothing on the first flight by the Wright brothers, nothing on Nelson Mandela, and nothing on the southern California earthquake of 1994. How insular our community could be!

Last year, the paper was taken over by English teacher Mr. Joel Sohn, the current faculty advisor for The Thacher Notes, and Irene Limb CdeP 2013, last year’s Editor-in-Chief. Under this new direction, the paper took a step forward, putting the paper in full color and shifting to a tabloid size newspaper layout. These tweaks to the paper made the publications cleaner and more professional with each publication.

And now, this year The Thacher Notes has become more active than ever. Shifting to an online format, The Thacher Notes has transformed from a once-a-trimester publication to a living, breathing news website that is constantly being updated. The Thacher Notes has also greatly expanded this year, covering various forms of social media including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. With an all new staff and an entirely new web-based format, The Thacher Notes has surely undergone a massive transformation, making the paper more available, and more active in Thacher everyday life.

The Editors

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