Students discover power of the press

By | May 5, 2010

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Students in Caroline Hyde’s third grade class at St. Thomas More School in Appleton gather April 30 around the table that holds the story ideas for an upcoming issue of Grade 3 Knight News, their class newspaper. (Kasi Koshollek | For The Compass)

Four third-grade students spearheaded the project. When they approached their teacher, Caroline Hyde, about starting a newspaper, they found an eager advisor who suggested that the enterprise could simultaneously generate food for the hungry while informing and entertaining the St. Thomas More community.

Students embraced the concept.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in our students’ writing skills,” said Hyde. “They’re aware that they’re writing for an audience — that their work is publicly visible.” Combined with the opportunity to help feed the hungry, she said the project is a “powerful motivator” for the students to deliver quality work.

The Grade 3 Knight News offers a wide variety of useful and entertaining content, including articles covering holidays, campus activities and staff, sports, travel, fashion and prayer — as well as book reviews, games and puzzles, poetry and comics.

So far, the profitable enterprise has sent a bounty of food donations — as well as over $100 — to the St. Joseph Food Program. “These people came up with a creative way to learn to write and to care. We’re so grateful they’re willing to do that,” says Monica Clare, director of operations at St. Joseph Food Program. “Congratulations to them for their outstanding effort.”

“I like sports and writing,” says John Jansen, “and my grandpa volunteers at St. Joseph Food Program every week, so it’s a good fit.”

T.J. Van Eperen, another of the publication’s founders, says he’s like his grandpa, who worked as a reporter covering the Green Bay Packers. “I like sports, especially football, soccer, baseball and the Olympics.”

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Third graders T.J. Vaneperen, left, John Jansen, Alex Hahlbeck and Connor Simon organize a box of food that was donated by other students who ordered a copy of the school newspaper. Grade 3 Knight News includes stories and information about the entire school. (Kasi Koshollek | For The Compass)

“It was a great idea,” says Alex Hahlbeck. “What a fun way to share stories and help other people.”

“My mom was a newspaper reporter. She told me about it and I became interested in starting a newspaper,” recalls Connor Simon. “Plus, it’s important to help other people.”

Hyde says everyone in the class participates in her or his own way. “The students take pride in writing their articles each month. They understand how they personally are making a difference in others’ lives.”

A few clips for your reading pleasure include the following inspirations from the “Prayers” section:

“Dear Jesus, Help us to be like you. Help us to build up the church. Amen.”

“Dear Jesus, Help us to be humble, gentle and patient. Help us to love and help each other. Amen.”

Hooked? Make a donation and get your own copy by contacting the school, (920) 739-7826.

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