From the Archives of GC: The History of The Talon


Mary Ellen McDermott, Joanna Dugroo

The evolution of Good Counsel High School’s student newspaper, from 1961 through 2019.

As a student at Good Counsel (GC), you have probably wondered at some point about what our school was like in the past. How good were our sports teams? What was on the lunch menu? Was the uniform different? What about the clubs? Through an interview with Mr. Wood, school archivist and former moderator of The Talon, I have investigated the history of one of GC’s longest-running and (in my opinion) most important clubs — our school newspaper! 

GC’s original newspaper, first published on Halloween in 1958, was known as The Counselor. This publication was initially mimeographed, meaning that it was printed using a machine that pushed ink through a stencil onto paper. But, it was soon shifted to being printed on glossy paper instead. One edition of The Counselor from April 21, 1967, discusses GC’s entrance exam for freshmen before the days of the HSPT. It also discusses GC’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” a GC literary magazine called Rhubarb, and junior prom. 

The Counselor was published through the 1980s, but another newspaper was started in the early 1960s. Mr. Wood describes this paper as “a competing ‘rag’ called The Talon.” Starting out as a newsletter from the print shop, The Talon was an alternative publication to The Counselor. When Mr. Wood was the moderator in the early 1970s, the editors of The Talon and The Counselor (Ralph Chite ‘75 and Bob Bellisimo ‘75 respectively) even had a rivalry! Although students made fun of The Talon’s modest appearance, it was produced more often than The Counselor because it was less expensive. One edition of The Talon from November 13, 1961, describes a football win, the new booster club, and an opinion piece on teenage drinking. 

In 1978, a third newspaper was started at GC. Known as The Falcon News, this glossy publication was “a breath of fresh air,” in the words of Mr. Wood. However, in 1982, The Talon, The Counselor, and The Falcon News merged into one publication. This paper, known as The Falcon News since 1988, was “a formidable publication, with brilliant writers and occasional controversial articles that upset the administration,” as described by Mr. Wood. The Falcon News was published through 2004. 

I interviewed Ms. Neugebauer, co-moderator of The Talon and GC English teacher, to learn more about GC’s newspaper in recent years. When Ms. Neugebauer arrived in 2009, The Talon was a club moderated by Mr. Gray ‘74. With only four members, it didn’t produce more than 1 or 2 issues in a school year. At that time, GC’s principal wanted more from The Talon, so Ms. Neugebauer wrote the curriculum for a journalism class that would help bring more student writers to The Talon

But, printing The Talon on paper became too costly, and it needed to transition to an online publication. Although digital journalism is becoming more prominent, Ms. Neugebauer thought that The Talon should continue to be printed on paper as well. In the words of Ms. Neugebauer, “I knew that digital journalism was becoming the dominant medium. But I also felt really strongly that, as a journalism class, it was still important to teach kids what [the printing] process looked like because, for many of them, it was the first time they had thought about what goes into printing a newspaper.” Then, in 2017, The Talon made the digital transition and became a club again. Mrs. Essig of the GC print shop became the moderator with Ms. Atkins as co-moderator for two years. And in 2019, Ms. N re-joined as co-moderator with Mrs. Essig, and The Talon has been run this way ever since. 

But, The Talon isn’t as well-known to students as it used to be. The printed version used to be handed out during community. Ms. N believes that “more students read [The Talon] when it was a paper because it was something tangible that they could feel and was in their face.” However, through the hard work of The Talon staff, The Talon’s readership has increased since first published online. 

GC’s newspaper has come a long way since 1958! Despite name changes, rivalries, and a transition to online, the GC community continues to be informed by our own students. The Talon, The Counselor, and The Falcon News have all shaped the history of our school from student opinions, game scores, and important events at GC and in the world. 

If you are still curious about what GC looked like a few years ago, make sure to check out the archives tab on our website, where you can see past online articles!