Trojournal’s longtime sponsor enjoys the liberty of retirement


Drew Hanson, Lead Editor

Throughout the Trojournal’s existence there have been many momentous changes. Decades have passed, staff members have come and gone, and we’ve even ventured completely online. However, one thing, or rather person, has remained largely the same until this year. Mr. Gary McClure has been the Trojournals longtime sponsor. 

Mr. McClure started sponsoring the Trojournal in 1980. He had previously taught journalism, and it was his task to revive the student news publication. Although he has been the sponsor for 

as long as most of us can remember, the founder of the publication remains a mystery. 

“I was not the Trojournal’s founder, and I don’t know who was. Mrs. Sundell, whom I did not know, had previously advised The Trojournal, but by the time I came to Southeast of Saline in 1980, The Trojournal did not exist; it was my charge to revive it,”  said McClure. 

Thus, Mr. McClure’s first year in charge of the Trojournal didn’t always go smoothly. 

“When I revived The Trojournal in 1980, I started with a group of students who just needed another elective class, so the early road was ‘bumpy.’” 

With the advancement of technology, that would soon change. 

“However, by 1986, we were among the first schools in the nation to move to computer page layout. That brought some kids with technology interests to the class, and I recruited a few hardworking students with strong writing skills to the class and they brought others also, and by the early 1990s, our students were often winning contests.” 

Journalism, just like other activities, would prove to fluctuate. McClure described another down period in the late 90s, another wave of contest winners in the 2000s, and finally a class of three just five years ago, where he feared the Trojournal might have been finished for good. 

Despite the continuous roller coaster of ups and downs, McClure enjoyed many aspects of the job. 

“First, I enjoyed watching students exercise free speech. Second, I enjoyed watching them learn that with freedom comes responsibility. Finally, some of my longest-lasting friendships with students have come through journalism.” 

He also warns of student opinions being attributed to administrators, but adamantly advocates for free speech. 

“Many of my colleagues and administrators attributed my students’ opinions and actions to me. There are those who think the student press exists to create positive PR for a school, so when my students investigated environmental issues in the building or other controversial issues, I wasn’t always a popular figure.” 

As for now, the once hardworking advisor and teacher is enjoying his retirement. He enjoys the comforts of a mask-less environment and has even returned to his previous ways of learning and working. 

“I’m always learning, often still teaching, and always exploring new challenges. For example, I spent several weeks studying Geometry as I designed and constructed a hip roof for the playhouse in my backyard, and I’ve occasionally watched a video or two in Spanish as I try to develop language skills. More recently, I’ve been teaching by providing tech support and editing to family and friends. I’ve ghost written a few missionary updates, and I do some editing of my daughter’s analytical chemistry doctoral dissertation and will probably assist in editing my son’s international politics and business thesis.  I continue to explore new challenges as I delve into home and farm repairs that are far beyond my comfort zone.” 

When a Covid vaccine becomes available, he plans to travel. 

“I had planned to travel — to Mexico, to Nashville, to Arizona, and other places — in the winter, though, and I doubt I’ll choose to put myself in harm’s way until there is a Covid vaccine.”

As for the future of student journalism, he sees online publications such as the Trojournal as the way of the future. 

“It’s unlikely that many will return solely to print or even to a combination of print and online. Once the teachers realize that they can produce the same quality content in half the time, produce more timely stories, save money, expand into video, and increase their reading audiences, they’ll never want to return to print.” 

That was shown true with the Trojournal, which was able to successfully move online with the help of McClure. The Trojournal staff fervently thanks Mr. Gary McClure for his defense of free speech, willingness to fit student needs, and decades of service and advisement to our publication.