On Tuesday, May 24, students, tutors, and teachers gathered in the 826 Valencia Writer’s Room at Everett Middle School to celebrate the newly released spring issue of the Straight-Up News, Everett’s biannual student newspaper. The room was abuzz with excitement as our student journalists saw their articles in print for the first time. Students then stepped up to the podium to share something they learned during this project, an appreciation for a tutor, or a portion of their article. After the presentations, everyone celebrated all their hard work with bagels and merriment.
For nine weeks, thirty seventh graders worked to produce their articles alongside dedicated 826 volunteers. First, students chose a subject that interested them. From there, they researched their topic and came up with questions for an interview subject or their fellow students. Then it was time to start writing. Initially, this may have seemed like a daunting task, but throughout the project students began to take ownership of their work. With thirty unique voices, this issue of the Straight-Up News is one of our most robust and diverse to date!
One student examined Europe’s current refugee crisis, while another chronicled Justin Bieber’s recent comeback. Several students analyzed the upcoming presidential election from different angles, looking at the candidates’ stances on gun control, celebrity endorsements, and whether or not voting for Hillary Clinton might make you a better feminist. At the end of this project, Everett student Henry Saulnier, who wrote about the most popular video game genres, shared: “I actually really surprised myself and am proud of what I wrote.”
Students were very grateful for the help offered by their tutors. One student, Angelica Gato commented, “I appreciate that my tutor helped me when I was stuck or struggling.” In turn, tutors were overwhelmed with pride at the accomplishments of their students.
Many students were in awe when they finally saw how all their articles came together to create a professional newspaper. Stop by the Pirate Store to grab a copy of this semester’s issue of Straight-Up News and see what all the fuss is about!
- Dana Belott, Programs Associate