A group of girls have been taking many field trips as of late, from Tunis to Tripoli, Cairo, Khartoum, Washington and Beijing. These globetrotters are best know to the student body as the Brave Academic Student’s Club for Achievers (BASCA). They have been all over the world but have not left the confines of the Harford School Campus. As they say on the BBC’s Focus on Africa, “if it’s happening in Africa, we bring it into focus,” Well if it’s happening at Harford School for Girls, BASCAwill bask some light on it..."
BASCA is a product of a group of student with the zeal to bring the news inside the blue Harford gate. Supervised by a few teachers with a journalistic passion, the news was presented weekly, until the idea died a slow death a few years ago. Left without supervisor or anyone to jumpstart the club, it laid dormant. Sometimes, I wonder how life can often work out so perfectly. The first day of meeting my powerful, ambitious principal, she said I would be in change of the school’s news club unaware of my won newsie background. (Again, I wonder how my Peace Corps Service and I have found ourselves in such a perfect marriage….)
The news is ‘broadcasted’ every Friday during devotion. Four news-inspired girls sit behind wooden desk in their royal blue Harford berets like correspondents at a news desk. With confident, loud voices they present the latest in International, National, and Campus news to the student body. But before the girls stand before their colleagues, they have to gather the latest happenings. BASCA meets twice a week before the Friday broadcast, once as a news meeting to decide what we should focus on for the week and then another time for rehearsal. After a year, it's exciting, they will often come to me and say "Miss Allison, I have been investigating a news story for us this week." Along with the news, the students are able to send in letters about concerns or opinions they have at school. The Principal can't have all the say in what's happening at school. Sometimes they can be pretty controversial. The student body keeps BASCA reporters on their toes.
When I am with my girls in BASCA, I find myself having flashbacks. Scary ones for that fact. I think back to my dreaded high school days. While they were not my happiest, they did have some profound influences on my life direction. Lennox High School's Pep-a-Graph was my introduction into journalism and kick started my interest in learning what is happening around the world. In some respects, I feel like it might have led me to Peace Corps. But I can only hope that BASCA is doing what the Pep-a-Graph did for me. Connecting my Harford girls to the wider world and helping them realize that even though they might be stuck inside the walls of the compound, the protest in Egypt influence them, while they are learning about verbs from Miss Allison, the independence of South Sudan is important and they singing the school song and listening to devotion, everything that our Principal says is news and news needs to be shared.