Grade 11 Ballenas students Isabella Loberiza and Russ Ragelskis show off the news site they’ve launched, the Ballenas Wave, which they hope will give students a voice, and a new way to connect with each other. — Adam Kveton Photo

Students start news website at Parksville school

The Ballenas Wave a new platform for students to connect, be heard

A pair of Ballenas Secondary School students have created something they hope will help fellow students discover the talent at their school, connect on issues that matter to them, and be heard by the administration.

It’s called the Ballenas Wave — a news website by students and for students.

It’s the brainchild of editor-in-chief Isabella Loberiza, who, with the website-making abilities of fellow Grade 11 Russ Ragelskis, launched the news site earlier this year.

“I wanted to start something that was student-based for the school,” said Loberiza. “I know there is a website already, but it’s all administration-based. I wanted something that the students have control over so we have more of a say in what the school does. We could have more communication within the students in Ballenas.”

So far, the website has articles about basketball games, Pink Shirt Day, the theatre production currently running at the school (Legally Blonde the Musical), and badminton intramurals. The stories are written by various students, and all students are eligible to submit a story, provided they arrange it with Loberiza and she edits it, she said.

The website also has a section called Ask Abby — an advice column where students can ask questions anonymously for another student to answer.

But that’s just the very start of what Loberiza and Ragelskis hope the website can do.

“Originally my idea was (to make) a place where students can put in their artistic views and talents, and if they can send in like, a video of them like singing, or send in a copy of a short story they wrote or something, it would provide a creative side and share that with the school,” said Loberiza.

“The students that are actually really talented don’t really have a platform to show off their artistic side, so this is a way for people to see that,” added Ragelskis.

Loberiza hopes the website can do more than that. In addition to letting students know what’s happening at the school, she hopes to show them what’s happening in the community that they might want to know about, and provide a place for students to discuss and learn about world issues, as well.

They also hope the news site can be a way for students to be heard by administration.

“Right now it’s not really easy for kids to get their message across to administration,” said Ragelskis. “It’s easier to get everybody’s opinion into one article than everyone going to the administration individually.”

“It’s important that it’s something that’s uniquely their voice,” said Olivia Hill, the teacher sponsoring the Ballenas Wave effort. She said she’s provided support, but that it’s Loberiza’s idea, and she and a group of about five students are running with it.

To check out the news site, visit online at

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