In the tight knit community of Ramtown, a group of students at Middle School South are working to bring back a tradition they hope will bring the residents closer together and be more knowledgeable about what is happening in the world around them.
Leading the program at the middle school is Arthur Perez who said he is glad to see the paper return after budget cuts forced them to shut down several years ago. "The best part is being surrounded by students that are really motivated about writing," he said. "As a teacher, sometimes we struggle with trying to get kids to write. It's just amazing to be an advisor to a club where kids come because they like to write.
Just from talking to the students it is clear that they are proud to be a part of the "Husky Howell'er" writing stories about not only activities inside the building but also issues that they care about outside of school.
One of the young reporters is sixth grader Michaela Navarro. As a member of the school's field hockey team, Navarro got an up close and personal view which she said helped her to cover the team as well as play for them. "I like hearing what coaches say and how much they give so I can know everything before anybody else knows anything," she said.
Even with just one edition published so far this year, Navarro said she also likes the fact that she can put her byline to a story and people will recognize her efforts and compliment her on her work. "I think it's very exciting because people see who the article is by and they can actually say I know that person."
While Navarro focused on the school sports scene, fellow sixth grader Christian Milano went straight to the pros. As a fan of the Yankees, Giants, Knicks and Rangers Milano said he was glad to be able to talk about his favorite teams while also writing a recipe column as well. "I love to cook," the young chef said. While he is not sure if he is going to focus on the culinary or journalistic profession Milano said he is glad to work with both right now.
In addition to sports, the students also used their first edition to talk about more recreational activities. Seventh grader Anthony Beska said he enjoys writing movie reviews and taking any other assignments Perez gives him. He said in the future he hopes to be a writer though his specific field is still to be determined.
Even though Howell has not been hit by the first big winter storm of the year sixth grader Mary Lykes is already looking forward to a season on the slopes with her travel column. Lykes said she has been on skis for close to eight years now and enjoys being able to share her passion with others. "I pretty much go every winter so I know a lot of the trails," she said of Cannon Mountain, her favorite spot to go to up in New Hampshire.
Like many people on the mountain Lykes said she also draws the line in the snow when it comes to skiing or snowboarding. "I don't like snowboarding," she said. "I could never have my feet together and then try and steer."
This year the students have also learned the value of not only adding technology to the paper but also taking the time needed to complete bigger stories. Sixth grader Aparna Ragupathi writes the "Boredom Busters" column and also helps Perez with the paper's website. She said her column came about as a way to help keep her fellow students from getting bored in their daily lives. "They're only things I've tried on myself," she said. "I won't suggest something unless I've done it."
In addition to being a writer when she grows up, Ragupathi said she would someday like to be Dr. Ragupathi and hopefully find a way to put the two careers together."
As one of the oldest students working on the paper, eighth grader Adrian Greva has been tackling the issue of bullying in schools. Working on a topic that has gained attention on the local, state and national level, Greva said he is glad to have the chance to look at something that matters to many people. "I think it actually is a pretty important topic," he said.
Greva said he has enjoyed his time as a journalist as he gets ready to move on to the high school level. He said his favorite part is, "being able to go to different places in the school and have decent conversations with people and getting all the inside information that you could get as someone in the press."
Whatever his students are writing about, Perez said he is glad they get to enjoy the final results and share that with their community. "I think it's really great to bring it back," he said. "The idea was to bring it back to try and instill a little bit of school spirit and get the different schools in the district to be talking about all the wonderful things that happen throughout the district.
The latest edition of the Middle School South paper is attached to this story.