Here’s what’s up in the Spooniverse, according to our members.

What My Experience Building Spoon High School Taught Me

Pursue your passions and follow your gut.

In December 2015, I discovered Spoon University. I was baking cupcakes and experimenting with different fillings, and I came across Spoon online, and it spoke to me. A few weeks later, my brother happened to bring home Northwestern's Spoon Magazine. From Spoon's online site to NU's Magazine, I instantly fell in love with Spoon and wanted to become involved.

I became an avid follower of Spoon University’s articles and could not wait until college to participate. I was drawn to Spoon because, during my time reporting for my high school newspaper, I had a particular affinity for covering health and food-related topics. In addition, I enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen with a new recipe and keeping up with the latest food trends. 

cake, sweet, tea
Caitie Veech

I knew Spoon University was the perfect publication that would allow me to pursue my interest and passion with food and health. I thought, why not email Spoon HQ to see if there were any opportunities for a motivated high school student? Not only did I get a response, but I was accepted into their National Contributor Program as a writer—the first-ever high school student to do so. Fortunately, Spoon’s CEO, Mackenzie Barth was brainstorming ways to expand to high school student contributors around the same time I started writing for Spoon.  

Lauren Peller

I collaborated with Spoon HQ to design and implement a high school chapter and program. Although overseeing this chapter/program was daunting at first, I now find it tremendously rewarding to connect with students who have a common interest in food, writing, video, and photography.

From the beginning stages of creating the program to recruiting students across the nation to hosting information sessions weekly, I am extremely impressed with how much the chapter has grown since its beginning. The official launch was back in August 2016 and I remember feeling extremely accomplished; In just a few short months, numerous high school students have published articles daily on a collegiate publication.

Fast forward to the present, there are about 70 members from across the nation involved in the program—which is outstanding—because this program allows students to bond over their interests and passions through articles, videos, or photos. As the original Founder of the Spoon High School Chapter, I have acquired many skills and lessons that I continue to use on a daily basis.

Matthew Gillam

Reflecting back on the past year and a half with Spoon, I realized how positive my experience has been. I could go on for hours about how wonderful Spoon has been for me, but, for now, we'll just stick to these five lessons that building Spoon High School has taught me that have made my experience so incredible.

I Developed Professional Skills 

kettle, tea, espresso, coffee
Ryan Terhune

From learning how to properly construct an email to working one on one with the Spoon HQ team, I have acquired skills that have helped me interact with people more professionally. When I was leading Spoon High School info sessions or interviewing candidates, over time, I gained the confidence to speak more comfortably to my peers and adults. 

I also now understand the importance of responding to emails in a timely fashion and always making sure my grammar is on point. When I started working closely with Britney Chu (former Community Growth Manager), she would create mock emails for me to use when reaching out to potential contributors, or she would send me emails with corrections to use for the future. 

In addition, she taught me the importance of sending contributors branding exercises to help the contributors understand what Spoon High School is and what their purpose is/will be with Spoon High School. Britney and Spoon HQ taught me how to professionally interact with my peers; this guidance was instrumental in building and maintaining the program. 

I Expanded My Writing Skills 

Lauren Peller

I was always accustomed to writing for newspapers or my English classes. However, Spoon expanded my writing palate and taught me how to gear my writing towards a specific audience. For example, Lindsay Paulen, my fellow Spoonie, and I wrote an article titled, "25 Places to Eat When You’re Visiting Colleges in D.C."

This article was perfect for a high school audience because high school students are constantly traveling all around the country to visit colleges. Through writing for Spoon on a weekly basis, I also learned how to write more casually and inject my own voice throughout my articles. 

I Created a Community  

ketchup, meat, bun, hamburger, sandwich, bread, tomato, lettuce
Matthew Gillam

Through Spoon High School, I have created friendships with students all over the country who have similar passions to me. I had the pleasure of not only meeting various high school students involved in Spoon, but I also had to opportunity to work one on one with Spoon High Schoolers to develop the chapter.

One of the high school team members, Matthew Gillam served as a graphic designer for the chapter. He created the logo for the high school chapter, adding a pencil point to the bottom of the Spoon University logo. Similar to Matthew, many other team members went the extra mile and contributed amazing articles that received thousands of page views or came up with an inventive idea to improve the chapter. 

I Managed a Team of Passionate People

fish, cake
Spoon University

Learning how to work with a large group of people remotely was a daunting task at first. However, our chapter was always connected via Slack and email, which allowed me to manage the chapter more efficiently. I delegated responsibilities to other passionate students and constantly communicated with members through monthly emails or video sessions about their experience with Spoon High School.  

I Followed My Gut  

coffee, tea
Lauren Peller

After reading this, I hope I inspired you to listen to your gut and always pursue your interests. For me, just one carefully crafted email to Spoon HQ evolved into a meaningful and educational experience. To all those budding journalists out there: apply to be on the Spoon High School chapter

Not only will you learn how to be a better journalist, photographer, marketer, and videographer, you will meet and connect with people from all across the nation with the same interests and goals. In addition, you will receive wonderful guidance from the experts at Spoon HQ. Remember, always follow your gut and never give up on your passions.

I Continue My Journey With Spoon University  

cake, tea
Lauren Peller

As I embark on my next chapter in life, I am truly thankful to those who have supported me with the start of my Spoon journey. A huge shout out to Sam Dilling (current Community Editor) and Britney Chu (previous Community Growth Manager) for teaching me the necessary skills to succeed in managing and leading the Spoon High School chapter/program. Thank you to Spoon's founders, Mackenzie Barth and Sarah Adler, for believing in me to create the first-ever high school level chapter on Spoon University. I am so excited for my future with Spoon at GW in the fall. I can't wait to explore the D.C. food scene and be on GW's Spoon chapter.

candy, coffee
Lauren Peller

Thank you, Spoon University and Spoon HQ for helping me find my passion and grow as a person. My journey with Spoon is far from over... see you soon Spoon GW