Bobbie Maddox: Cricket Chirps Adviser For 33 Years
by Cameron White
The Cricket Chirps Newspaper is the longest running student-run school newspaper in Texas, and this year will mark the 98 anniversary of the paper. It has taken decades of work from multiple staffs to produce the paper we have today, and an advisor to lead them in the right direction. Bobbie Maddox was the advisor for the Chirps between 1975 and 2007, giving 33 years of directing and assisting the staff.
Maddox grew up an Air Force brat and has been all over the world, but has always been involved in her school newspaper.
“Much of my time during my early high school years was spent riding a bus from Chicksands AFB to my school near London,” Maddox said. “I wrote some columns for the school paper, but not having after school time limited my participation. When we moved to San Antonio my junior year, I became very involved with the Thomas Jefferson H.S. Declaration. I was a reporter the first year, feature editor my senior year, and editor-in-chief of an end-of the-year ‘special edition.’"
After high school, Maddox majored in journalism at Southwest Texas State University, now known as Texas State University, and served as various department editors for the University Star. In addition, she served as the assistant editor for her yearbook, The Pedagog, and worked for her photography department.
“I was responsible for assisting the photography students in the darkroom,” Maddox said. “I was also tasked with checking in and out photography equipment, filing photos, and filing negatives.”
Maddox then moved to serve as the advisor for Cricket Chirps in 1975, and during her time leading the Cricket Chirps, produced a paper once every week. Throughout the years she served she also had to deal with various controversies regarding her students and the stories they produced.
“Because I believed in allowing the Cricket Chirps to be a STUDENT run newspaper in as much as possible (See Hazelwood vs Kuhlmeier), I believed that the staff should decide the content and that it should be relevant to the interests and needs of the student body, its primary audience. I advised the staff to remember that professional newspapers might cover some of the same topics as they, but only they would cover them from the viewpoint or angle of the students at Seguin High. Seguin High news and interests should always be their first focus. Whether it was the AIDS epidemic in the mid-80s, teen pregnancy, marriage, sex (choose any decade), how much money was spent on football as opposed to fine arts, what jobs would be available in five years, or fashion trends.”
The students in charge of the paper would often come into conflict with the administration and staff at the school. These clashes were due to their head-strong, and, at times, brutally honest stances on the problems that they wrote about.
“All topics should be reported with the relevance to the Seguin High reader in mind. During the years that I taught, I and student editors found ourselves sometimes at odds with superintendents. principals, faculty, students and parents. Sometimes student reporters made mistakes in judgment, sometimes they were harbingers of truth, holding a mirror up for the community to see itself. I always hoped that I guided them to consider the greater good for all and the consequences of the "power of (even) the (student) press." I hoped they approached topics with honesty in their purpose and their reporting, and that they faced the results of mistakes and learned by them.”
As the advisor, Maddox has had many students come and go over the years. However every now and then there was a student that left a real impression on her, and stayed in Maddox's memories.
“In 33 years, I had lots of outstanding students,” Maddox said. “I'll never forget the newspaper staff the first year I taught because, together, we survived producing a weekly newspaper. The news editor, Craig, went on to own a radio station, and the sports editor, Barry, worked at the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Martha, the editor-in-chief my second year of teaching became the public relations officer for a big hospital.”
Beyond her first few years, she continued to have students that later achieved excellence. Maddox clearly keeps in touch with many of her past students, and is very proud of what they’ve accomplished.
“Later on, I had James who now has a masters degree in marketing and design, and uses his talents and training to support his acting career in NYC,” Maddox said. “Tess owned her own advertising firm, eventually went on to be CEO of Resolute Hospital, and now serves as vice president of Strategic Communications and Marketing at Trinity University. Amy is in charge of public relations at Duke Energy in North Carolina. Lisa is a columnist for the Houston Chronicle and has won a Pulitzer Prize.”
Maddox retired in 2007 due to family reasons, namely her soon-to-arrive grandchildren and her father, who had began to battle dementia. She now gets to spend her time with family, amongst the many organizations she is a part of.
“I retired because my only daughter was expecting her first child and I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible,” Maddox said. “Now I have four beautiful, smart, always entertaining grandchildren. In addition, my father required much of my time as he advanced through the effects of several strokes and dementia. I lost him recently, and I am forever grateful to have had some years that allowed me to put him and my family first.”
In addition to spending time with her grandchildren, Maddox now gets to help and contribute to the community with her journalism skills and writing experience, and travels with her husband in order practice her photography on a variety of exciting and interesting places.
“I have managed to be active in the community through my church and other service organizations,” Maddox said. “I also handle communications as the vice president of the Delphian Study Club, and I have served on the board of Seguin Conservation Society, promoting the preservation of historic buildings such as the Dietz-Castilla Doll House, the First Church, Log Cabin and Los Nogales museum.”
Today, Maddox continues to utilize her writing, reporting, and photography skills. Maddox and her husband love photography and have traveled to many cities, and seen mountains and streams through the lens of a camera. Even 11 years after working with the student newspaper, Maddox continues to tell the truth about the world around her and share it with others in the many groups she participates in.