Thursday, 17 October 2013

Origins: The Be You! Tree

The Be You! Tree: the official newsletter of my school, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3). Mooted by our beloved principal, Puan Azizah Yusoff; it is a quarterly publication which covers any ongoing school event. It is the companion publication of the School Resource Centre blog, and is run by the Publicity Subunit of the School Resource Centre Prefect Board.
It all started on the 11th of August, 2011, an ordinary-looking date for most. According the blog post written by Nur Diana Rodzi [2011-2014 Friday Assistant Supervisor] on the next day entitled ‘It’s official, people’, the events plays out as can be read below:

It's just in. During the meeting on Thursday, Pn.Tan [Soa Tiam][then-Resource Centre Coordinator] said that she is going to make the newsletter into a reality. So yeah, it is in the works, and hopefully, it'll be released soon

2011 was an important year for me, but not just because of this. The PMR examinations were about to test my batch that year, being the second public examination I have to face in my entire school life. As with any student, examination year means putting a hold on anything which doesn’t involve academics per se. Being a School Resource Centre Prefect, that meant having to be less active in the School Resource Centre. However, that didn’t stop what was about to happen next, as Diana writes:

Currently, the newsletter team consists of the other administrator of this blog and I. I am in charge of the designs and the other person is in charge of the articles. Sadly, most people don't agree with him being the journalist as his English is a little too good. If he wrote the articles, I don't think half the school population would understand what he is saying, including the teachers.

Who else should the ‘other administrator’ be, if it wasn’t me! Not being in any particular subunit at the time, and the posts for the High Committee already been filled, a new subunit was created. However, nothing can be done as of yet, as the PMR examinations were already at my doorstep

After the examination, Diana and I got busy with planning to set up the subunit itself. We brainstormed for ideas, and listed them all down. This became our first letter to Puan Tan Soa Tiam, and in hindsight, it was quite full of original ideas, and is very influential in the direction it is taking now, such as its affiliation with the blog, creation of a Facebook fan page and input from normal students. This letter I have appended due to its length, but it is nevertheless worth reading.

At this time, we took to designing the mast head of The Be You! Tree. Besides that, we also decided to design the logo of the School Resource Centre, in hope that it will become the official emblem of the School Resource Centre

By the 17th of September, we have started advertising for input into the newsletter, which is detailed in the aptly-titled blog post, ‘The Be You! Tree’. It basically marks the true start of the newsletter editing . This I have also appended due to its length, but its spirit shines through as clear as day.

By then, Diana and I had gotten busy with editing. I started to write articles, and Diana would do the art and design on Microsoft Powerpoint. However, with the end of the school year coming close, the pilot had to be pushed to 2012. However, a preview was printed for inspection of the District Education Office officials

In 2012, Puan Tan Soa Tiam was replaced with current (at time of writing) School Resource Centre Coordinator, Puan Sabrina Mohd Rafiai @ Ismail. By then, it is displayed in the designated notice board for students to read, but instead of being monthly, it was semi-annual. As it was Diana’s year to face the PMR examinations, she had to put her responsibilities on hold.

Since the whole undertaking was a bit tedious, the whole concept needed a rethink, so by the end of the year, The Be You! Tree underwent a makeover; with a new mast head, a new concept and a School Resource Centre logo revamp. Shedding the rigid sections, it centred solely on articles written by students for students, about events in the school.

In 2013, the project was brought into joint venture with the school Editorial club, with the newly-named Bulletin Subunit collecting articles, and the Editorial club managing the design. From that, it was then first syndicated throughout the school. During School Resource Centre Week, it was mentioned in the principal’s opening speech in joy.

The articles from this first issue were put up on the blog. Later on, articles are derived from the School Resource Centre blog. The blog itself had evolved from being a casual medium of sharing to being an official source for news and events in schools as well.

Originally founded on the 31st of July, 2011 as a virtual camp fire to recount experiences, the blog slowly started to cover school-related events in 2012, which involved the School Resource Centre Prefect Board, such as School Resource Centre Week, Wind Band Concert and the PMR Examinations. In 2013, it started to grow in that direction, culminating in the creation of the series of farewells from the 2012/2013 High Committee, before reaching its climax in the Highlights of 2011-2013 series and the Student Highlights Series which grossed 1,770 views in August; thus making the total overall views of the blog to 11,854 views as of 7:36 PM on the 13th of October, 2013.

Starting of the 23rd of May, the blog posts are also syndicated to The Be You! Tree Facebook fan page and Twitter account. These were revamped to now belong to the School Resource Centre.

With this strengthening of a digital base, content from The Be You! Tree becomes more accessible to the masses, and the printed issues continue to be displayed on a designated notice board.

As I retire this year, with two years of experience, I hope this subunit, with the usage of a variety of mediums will continue to achieve the paramount mission of the Library: to make itself an agent of dissemination of knowledge and information.

APPENDIX I: Letter of Suggestion

To Puan Tan Soa Tiam,

On behalf of myself and Nur Diana binti Rodzi, I would like to thank you for entrusting us to edit the newsletter. After discussing with each other, we would like to make a few suggestions:

1. We would like our subunit to be named ‘Warkah’ noting that the other subunits in the School Resource Centre Prefect body are named in their Malay names. We also would like to name the newsletter, ‘The Be You! Tree’ and design the logo that would show that it is part of the School Resource Centre.

2. The newsletter should consist of the following. We are still brainstorming for more segments, so these are the ones we have thought of so far:

a. Featured articles on school-based activities

b. Opinion columns that could be dedicated to addresses from individuals or organisations within the school

c. An advisory column, where problems could be expressed and answered. (Possibly a joint venture with the Peer Helpers or Counselling Unit)

d. A gallery for student artwork

e. A comic strip by students

f. Short stories from students

g. Short stories from students

h. Puzzles (Crossword, Sudoku, etc)

i. Birthday shout-outs to students

3. We would like to request for a box to be prepared so that we may receive any suggestions or submissions for the newsletter. This may be placed anywhere that is near the library.

4. We would like the newsletter to be affiliated with the School Resource Centre Blog, so that we may too receive suggestions via the blog. A dedicated page on Facebook could be set up for the same reason. 

These are our suggestions as of now. We would consult you if we have any inquiries or more suggestions for the subject matter. If you have anything to say to us regarding the newsletter, please do not hesitate to tell us both. 

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Newsletter Subunit team, 

School Resource Centre,
SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3)

APPENDIX II: The Be You! Tree

It's all becoming a reality! With the pilot slated for October, the Be You! Tree would soon reach the hands of the student body. Articles, columns and a whole load of fun stuff is waiting to be printed off.

The newsletter is like the monthly version of the annual school magazine. It features events that happened during the month before and some interesting articles. There would also be an advice column, horoscopes, birthday shout-outs, art work, comics, puzzles and much more!

Wanting advice for your problems in school? Write to our advice column, and you could get a solution that would work for you. Just use a pseudonym. We will change the names of friends, if mentioned. We won't tell them, as to not compromise your privacy

Your BFFs birthday just around the corner, and don't know just what to give? Why not send a birthday shout-out, alongside your name, your friend's name and birthday. Don't forget your shout-out. Keep it nice, simple and short. It would definitely be the best thing they've ever gotten!

Think it's time to unleash that creative stroke of genius? Send your masterpieces to us with your name and title to the e-mail below.

Have a hand in drawing hilarious cartoons? You're in luck, because we are also looking for in-school cartoonists. Got a funny comic to share? Submit it to us, any maybe you would be an overnight sensation! Don't forget your name (or a pseudonym) and title of your work. Just don't make it anti-teacher (no matter how wacky those teachers may be)

Living true to our name, we really would appreciate any suggestions for new columns or any adjustments. It is YOU that makes up The Be You! Tree, it is YOU that makes the difference. Just tell us at

The Be You! Tree is a subsidary of the Library, and would be handled by the Unit Warkah in the Librarian body, which coincidentally, is made up of the blog administrators (Isn't that great? :). With that, I can say, we look forward to publish the newsletter and capture the spirit that is SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3)


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