The versatile world of Instagram

How students use the platform for purpose
Two phones stacked on top of each other. The top phone has the Instagram app loading page opened.
As a top social media site accessed by many across the world, Instagram has created a positive impact on several communities — including schools. With this platform, students and teachers have had the opportunity to express themselves to their peers. “My goal is art advocacy: advocating for who we are and what we do,” ceramics teacher Ashley Drissell said. “Showing [art online] helps parents and the community understand what we do in art and why it’s important, why it’s relevant [and] how we create community.”
Sophie McCarthy
Lettering “Merry Christmas,” sophomore Roxie Schopp sits at her desk creating a new holiday card for her greeting card business. She started her business her freshman year as a way to express and do something with her love for calligraphy and art. “I started [my business] because I’ve always been an economic person. It felt right to do, and I knew I could continue it and do it well,” Schopp said. (Roxie Schopp)
Spreading joy, one card at a time

Running a business and making the decision to do so is difficult at any age. Add being 14 and in freshman year to that — it’s a daunting task. That’s exactly what sophomore Roxie Schopp had to tackle when she started her online greeting card business, Roxie’s Schopp. Schopp’s business focuses on sharing her creativity and artwork through her Instagram page, @roxies_schopp, which allows her to advertise her card-making business. 

For Schopp, social media is the main vessel to get word out about her products. The platform provides her with an accessible way to share photos of her work. 

“I solely depend on Instagram and Facebook. [Facebook has] the Gen [X] and millennial type of [audiences], and those are the people who are [particularly] interested in giving physical gifts,” Schopp said. 

Schopp devotes time to putting out new posts with unique cards every week. Her first step on a posting day —  typically on a Wednesday or on the weekend — is to make the actual card. To begin, Schopp must receive an order and then find outside inspiration to make it exactly what the recipient wants. 

Schopp takes inspiration from Pinterest, where she uses ideas from her feed and puts her own creative spin on the cards. She has multiple Pinterest boards with different cards to help organize all of her favorite designs into categories. 

“I get my inspiration from Pinterest. Usually on my feed, I’ll see little cards, like a Halloween one and be like, ‘That’s super cute. Let’s add ghosts.’ I put my own spin on it,” Schopp said.

Next, Schopp gathers her supplies and card paper and sketches her perfect design. Overall, making one card can take Schopp up to an hour. After creating the card, she begins the posting process, which takes more than just the click of a button; in fact, the post itself typically takes around an hour to do. First, Schopp must find natural lighting to photograph her newly-made card in. This usually means setting up outside on her porch or by the window in her bedroom. After taking the picture, Schopp moves into editing, making sure the exposure and contrast are balanced. The final step before adding a new creation to her Instagram page is writing the perfect caption that encompasses Schopp’s card and engages her viewers. After that, it’s time to post — even if those posts aren’t always consistent. 

“I try to post as often as I can. I have an alarm set at 5 p.m. to [post],” Schopp said. “But, let’s be quite honest,  I’m going to forget within the first week of trying to do that.”

Carrying on an Instagram legacy
Senior Brian Wright sits down to write a caption for the @pwestsuperfan Instagram page. After taking over the responsibility of the account, Wright has made one message clear to the West High community. “Attendance is mandatory,” Wright said. (Brian Wright)

PwestSuperfan: the well-known, ‘not affiliated with the Parkway School District,’ West High fanpage. 

A popular Instagram among students and parents, @pwestsuperfan boasts nearly 2,000 followers — yet not a lot of students know what goes on behind the scenes. 

Senior Brian Wright has the day of any average high school student: brush your teeth, eat breakfast, do a full day of school, go to bed and start the cycle over again. But within that day, Wright has to make sure he sets aside time, from five minutes to 30 minutes, to create a post for Superfan. Posts typically consist of game day announcements or celebrations for when a team wins.

“If I’m trying to make a really good [post], [it takes me] maybe 20 to 30 minutes. [If I’m] just trying to make an easy one, [it takes] five to 10 [minutes],” Wright said.                        

Even though a post may only take five minutes, a lot of prior work needs to be done by Wright in order to get all the content for the post. He needs to get pictures from journalism students of sports such as soccer, football, baseball and softball. This process can get difficult if the pictures are blurry or too zoomed-out, but it can get even more difficult when sports teams don’t communicate when their games are.

 “A lot of other sports complain to me when I don’t post about their games, [but they] don’t tell me when their games are. I [have to] go check their account sometimes so [that] they don’t get mad,” Wright said. 

After the post is made comes the caption. Captions for game day posts all include a few consistent elements: a punchy one-liner, the place, time and day of the game, and a theme, if applicable. The caption attracts the viewer’s interest, which means it has to be perfectly crafted and thought out. After that, it is time to post, which is the simplest part of the process. 

“[The caption is] usually just off the dome,” Wright said.

And while there may be a lot of time, effort and consistency that goes into running the Superfan account, it doesn’t come without its fun and memories.

“It’s my senior year, and I want to make memories with my friends. It’s important to support your school and have school spirit because, at the end of the day, you’re going to regret not going to those super fun games. And a couple of years later, when you’re in college and you’re stressed out about stuff, you’re going to wish [you were] at a high school football game,” Wright said. 

Ceramics teacher Ashley Drissell chooses a new student piece to photograph for her Instagram page. One of her main reasons for creating the page was to ensure that her students’ hard work and art could be shared with a community of art appreciators. “I think at its core, my goal is art advocacy,” Drissel said. (Sophie McCarthy)
One pot, one smile

Many students view art class as a method to unwind, be creative and make intricate art pieces.  For this very reason, ceramics teacher Ashley Drissell created her art Instagram page as a way to share student art with others all across the country. She posts various levels of expertise through her photos, from both her ceramics and sculpture classes, to allow students, their peers and even strangers to appreciate inspiring art pieces. 

Drissell’s main goal of her Instagram page is to show the raw and real inspiration art can bring to others. She doesn’t box herself in with how much or little she can post; on average, Drissell posts twice a week, sometimes less and sometimes more. Additionally, she isn’t strict about the pictures that she posts, simply choosing whatever feels right or most interesting. 

“How do I choose what I post? I don’t, really. I just take pictures, and I post them. I post what I think is going to be interesting, and I don’t do a lot of editing or changing of anything. I want to show honest documentation of what we’re up to,” Drissell said. 

More importantly, Drissell’s Instagram page serves as an important space for the students. Not only does the page allow them to see their creations shared with others, but students can also see the activities, games and artwork processes they do in class through a documented form. 

“I have students that now are aware of my Instagram and get excited if they see their work posted. That’s become a fun thing,” Drissell said. “And now, if [students] notice I’m walking around the room taking pictures, [they’re] like ‘Ooh, I’m gonna be on Instagram.’”

But beyond the documentation of her classes, Drissell hopes her Instagram advocates for the arts. To her, showing off her students’ pieces is a way to bring families and communities together in an inspiring way. Although she was already taking pictures of her students’ work to show to future classes, sharing them on social media is now fostering the growth of a space where community members can stay updated on what classes are doing. 

“I have followers from all over the country, [even] in other countries, [who] aren’t even affiliated with West High. I hope that it is exciting and inspiring [for them] to see what young people are capable of,” Drissell said.

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About the Contributors
Sophie McCarthy, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? I loved "Rebecca." I read it for English freshman year, and it ended up being one of my favorite books. Who is your hero? I would say I have two heroes: my mom and my dad. My mom is my hero because I look up to her so much and want to be the type of woman she is—just kind and genuine and selfless. My dad is my hero because he's taught me so many things that have truly changed how I think, but he's also so funny and so kind to everyone. He could walk up to anyone on the street and start a conversation, and I think that can be such a hard quality to obtain but one that's really inspiring. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Either bagels with strawberry cream cheese or fruit. I like carbs.
Roxie Schopp, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? Books? Who is your hero? My mom. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I can't choose.
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    Audri Van KirkJan 18, 2024 at 7:00 pm

    Soso good sophie!!