Budding scribes develop student newspaper at Port Angeles school
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Maizie Tucker (seated) and Talia Anderson, fifth-grade students at Dry Creek Elementary School, review production of their student newspaper, The Fifth Grade Blurb. —Photo by Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A broken leg and two curious students resulted in the creation of a student newspaper at Dry Creek Elementary School.

When fifth-grade teacher Patricia Schromen broke her leg at the beginning of the school year, students began asking questions.

“Everyone wanted to know what was happening,” said Maizie Tucker, co-editor of The Fifth Grade Blurb.

Tucker and co-editor Talia Anderson, both students in Schromen’s class, decided that someone needed to find the answers — and that they were the ones to do it.

Schromen wasn’t returning this school year, they learned, and they would get a long-term substitute.

But simply telling their classmates what they learned wasn’t enough.

The pair decided that it needed to be in print, so they set out to create the classroom newspaper.

They settled down to figure out what needed to be in their newspaper, beyond the original concept of informing their classmates about their teacher’s injury.

October’s first issue of The Fifth Grade Blurb featured hand-drawn graphics, classroom news and a selection of activities, including a word search.

“The Blurb is a snippet of what’s going on this week,” Tucker said.

A second October issue was created when teacher Margaret Freter, who took over the class while Schromen was on medical leave, decided that there should be more news.

Both girls were academically strong and sometimes got ahead in their schoolwork, so they could use their free time to create the paper, Freter said.

Freter introduced Tucker and Anderson to the use of clip art and the computer writing program Microsoft Word.

Now she plans on transitioning the two girls to Microsoft Publisher.

“It was weird to see our first one,” Tucker said, noting the improvements they have made in the past three months.

Now the young journalists want to expand their classroom paper to the whole fifth grade — and possibly someday to the whole school.

“We’ve been talking to the other fifth-grade teacher and said, ‘This is what we’re doing,’” Tucker said.

Tucker said she wants to be a journalist someday, but Anderson said she is less certain of her own path.

“They’re hard workers and they are very creative,” Dry Creek Principal Mary Hebert said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 23. 2013 6:22PM
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