Straight on Through

Things in my head and now …. not

That’s My Boy!

justin.jpgOk…. so have to share this literal bit of news!  Justin received the Artist of the Month for his writing and this article was in todays paper.  Al and I are so proud of him!  Way to go Justin!

Senior plans to major in journalism   (Brainerd Dispatch April 3, 2008)

DeChantal comfortable in editor’s chair
Brainerd High School senior Justin DeChantal has written short stories and poems, and this year he decided to give the Fifth Street Journal a shot. DeChantal plans to go to college to major in journalism, so he thought writing for the school newspaper would be a good start. DeChantal became editor-in-chief this semester and he has loved every minute of it.DeChantal was named Fine Arts Student of the Week for his efforts in the journalism class.

Fifth Street Journal adviser Wendy Vandeputte said, “Justin’s work for the Fifth Street Journal this year is proof of a promising career in journalism. He has been a strong writer all year, and he has been a dedicated leader as editor-in-chief second semester. I am very proud of the growth I’ve seen in Justin throughout his years at BHS.”

Following is a question-and-answer session with DeChantal.

What college are you planning to attend and what would you like to do with your degree?

“I’m either going to go to (Minnesota State University-) Mankato, St. Cloud (State University) or Bemidji (State University). I’d like to be a staff writer. I’d rather write for a magazine than a newspaper because the way I see it (newspaper writers) have to have things done in a day. In a magazine you’d have more time.”

What position did you hold first semester in class?

“I was the business manager and I wasn’t a good one. I had to figure out ads and where they should go in the newspaper. It was an experience, but I’d rather be in an editorial position, not just a staff writer. I like to have more responsibilities and I like to see my name in the column.”

What was your reaction when you became editor-in-chief?

“I was very excited. It was awesome. I really like it and I handle it well.”

What are your responsibilities?

“I make sure everyone is on task and I work with Mrs. Vandeputte on sending the paper to the Dispatch to be printed. I finalize things, including cutlines, bylines and making sure everything is perfect.”

What’s your favorite thing to do?

“Writing stories is fun and there is such a variety of stories to chose from. I like to write more of the opinion pieces than the news. Sometimes I have to stop (writing) because I put my opinion in a news story. I think it’s fun to read about something and then write about it.”

Tell me about one of your opinion pieces.

“I wrote about my recent mission trip to Honduras. I went for 10 days with The Journey North Community Church. I was skeptical at first to write it because I wasn’t sure if we could write about God, but (Vandeputte) said I could because it was an opinion piece. It was my first trip there and it was amazing. I’ve matured through it and I figured things out about life.”

Justin DeChantal Art focus: Fifth Street Journal.Year: Senior.Age: 17.

Favorite subjects: Journalism and government.

Most memorable fine arts achievement: Being named editor-in-chief second semester this school year.

Favorite TV program: “One Tree Hill.”

Favorite movies: “Superbad” and “Disturbia.”

Favorite book: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling.

Favorite song: “X-Amount of Words” by Blue October.

Favorite food: Mandarin oranges.

Favorite thing to do: Writing stories and poetry and hanging with friends.

Parents: Al and Sheila DeChantal of Brainerd.

What other stories have you written?

“Pretty much everything. I wrote a story about a Kids Against Hunger event and fun articles like ’50 things to do in Brainerd with no money’ and ’20-plus random statistics in the U.S.'”

Proudest thing you’ve done in class?

“The front page of the last issue. It was my first front page I did as editor-in-chief and it turned out good. There was a story on ‘This month in history.’ I fit everything on the page with the correct font.”

What do you like about writing?

“It’s a way to express yourself. Writing is great. I like to use a thesaurus to find bigger words that make me look smarter. It’s a great accomplishment when you read your own story.”

Talk about your leadership.

“Everyone listens to me because I’m loud. I have lots of friends in class so they listen well. We need to work on deadlines. On Friday, not everyone made their deadline for the first draft. People either procrastinated or they just couldn’t do their story and they needed more time. I try to keep the students on task and Vandeputte will handle the students if they don’t get their work done.”

Biggest strength in Fifth Street?


Biggest weakness?

“Making deadlines, in the first semester. I’m better at them now because I have to be to be the editor-in-chief. Now I deal with it all and see why deadlines are important.”

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851.

April 3, 2008 - Posted by | Thursday Thumbs Up


  1. Just a correction… it was fine arts student of the week, not month. 🙂

    Comment by Justin DeChantal | April 8, 2008

  2. Oops – my bad…. I wanted to say of the Century but thought that was a bit too “Mom LIke”….. ha ha

    Comment by sdechantal | April 8, 2008

  3. Love this. I reread it all and it’s funny to read my answers to some of the questions now. Makes me miss that part of my life! Writing is incredible and I really did enjoy being the editor-in-chief back then. Sorry to admit it, though, I’m definitely not going for journalism anymore. I hope this world will settle for another graphic designer! A fantastic one at that, though. 🙂

    Comment by Justin | October 25, 2011

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