Morton East’s school newspaper has gone by many names

Ian Carranza

Hugo Calugi (1933)
Arthur Kozelka (1929)

Morton’s Pony Express News has been called many things over the years; what started as “The J. Sterling Morton High School Bulletin” more than one hundred years ago is now Morton East’s “Pony Express News.”

“The J. Sterling Morton Highschool Bulletin” was founded in 1912 and lasted until 1916; it was a 7 X 10 inch booklet that had 2 columns on each page, production ceased after most of the funds used to produce the school newspaper went towards the war efforts.

In the fall of 1916, a body of Morton students desired to support a school paper which they could call their own. Thus, the name of the second newspaper became “Mortonews”. Honor rolls, bits of school news, and humor may be found in its pages. In it we learn that due to the war, a few Morton boys left for the front. All the joy and spirit of happiness left the students, and the school paper was discontinued for a brief period.

Meanwhile, from the year 1917 – 1918 a local newspaper devoted an entire page to Morton’s news written by students under the title of “Morton Times”. With the close of the war came a renaissance, and with it came a new school paper named “Mortonette” that lasted from 1918 – 1920 which consisted of four pages with three columns each.

As time went on the feminine name “Mortonette” became unsatisfactory as a representation of the school. So, a group of students changed the name to “Morton News”. This publication was published monthly and merits the distinction of being the first paper to be printed inside of the walls of the school, it went on from 1920 – 1922.

The “Maroon and White” had its birth in 1922. This paper appeared weekly, sold for 5 cents, and consisted of eight pages, ten by seven inches, with two columns on a page. On March 7, 1925, the size of the weekly increased to ten by fourteen inches with three columns on a page.

Again, in 1926 the paper underwent a change in name to “Mortonian”. The size increased to eleven by seventeen inches, accuracy in editing was greatly improved, and the whole paper showed signs of accomplishment. Confusion often arose because both the yearbook and the school news went under the same name.

And so, on February 14, 1930, the weekly assumed its new name, the “Mortonian Weekly”.  And, that name remained until it became a multipage monthly in the 1980’s.

“I don’t know about the 80’s, but the school newspaper has had at least three names since I became advisor,”  journalism teacher Mr. Kent Frankfother said.  “When I took over, it was named “The Mortonian,” but we soon changed that to “Monthly Mortonian”; we had a couple special issues called “Morton News Flash” and a satire for April Fool’s Day called the “MortONION.”  About five years ago, we had a class competition to rename the paper, and the winning student came up with “Pony Express News,” Mr. Frankfother said.

Mr. Frankfother said that a teacher in the district recently asked about the pony express connection.

“In the old West, the pony express was responsible for delivering mail and news to pioneers scattered across the country.  We do the same thing for East, ” Mr. Frankfother said.