Palmetto High launches

SPECIAL TO THE HERALDFebruary 24, 2014 

PALMETTO -- The journalism class at Palmetto High School has launched a website:

The students at Palmetto High School released their new website in an effort to promote their publications of The Prowl online. This effort will allow Palmetto High journalism students to gain first-hand experience in the ever-expanding market of online news media.

The new website will feature news stories, opinion articles and beat assignments across a new platform incorporating text, photos and video. Students will learn how to publish to the web -- across multiple devices and formats -- in real time.

"My students are going to receive a whole new level of hands-on experience with all the hard work that goes into maintaining a site that is updated daily," said Nelson Lopez, journalism adviser.

Palmetto-based web development company ClickingSpree volunteered to design and host the site for Palmetto High. They are also responsible for Palmetto's all-sports website,

"This is a great opportunity for students at Palmetto High to learn and gain real-world experience about the news industry and how it has become infused with the internet," said Jordan Varnadore, a partner at ClickingSpree and former Palmetto High student.

Varnadore met with Lopez a few weeks ago to discuss the possibility of creating the website and developing a process for the construction phase. Varnadore then called on Charles "Chad" Burton III, another former Palmetto High student, to get involved with the project.

"Chad has a set of skills like none I have ever seen when it comes to web development and matters of IT," Varnadore said. "After hearing of Mr. Lopez's vision for his class, I knew he would be the person to call on given our accelerated timeline and functionality goals of the website."

Burton's background is in web development, computer security and computer programming. He said he and is anxious about the opportunity to involve students with computer technologies.

"The one thing schools are lacking is a good programming class. We decided to take on the project because we are firm believers in the future and these kids are the future. Although it's not quite programming just yet, I believe we have

opened to door to their interaction with future technologies that will take their skills learned in Journalism to the next level," Burton said.

The new website is based in WordPress, a popular writing/blog tool based in PHP and MySQL, which will allow students to learn technologies used in online media today, Lopez said. Students will also have the opportunity to author their stories in a format where those viewing the site can sort stories by topic, category or by their favorite authors.

"Students will get the chance to put their hands on the technology and process of what many major news outlets use today. With that kind of knowledge they can be ahead of their peers entering the workplace or even into college," Varnadore said.

The Prowl has partnered with and will provide sports coverage for them.

"I knew this was the perfect marriage for our program," said Lopez. " has given us the opportunity to not only cover sports in real time that are occurring on campus, but also to receive exposure from a broader audience." launched last fall to provide coverage of Palmetto High athletics. The site provides news, featured articles, scores, schedules, rosters and live streaming of selected sporting events. is run as a media/communication outlet for the Palmetto High Athletic Booster Club.

The partnership with the Palmetto High journalism class will expand coverage of Palmetto High athletics dramatically, Lopez said.

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