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Ridgeview Elementary School students publish monthly newspaper

Heather Young usually skims the newspaper for stories that interest her.

Now, she's the one trying to catch the readers' attention.

Young is one of 16 Ridgeview Elementary School fourth-graders who are creating their own newspaper about the people and happenings at the school.

When her teacher, Jill Hafey, announced that the class would begin the project, Young was a little nervous, but more excited.

"I thought that would be really, really fun because I've never made a newspaper before, and I like to try new things," she said.

Hafey said she has given students the newspaper project three times in recent years. The last class to do it was three years ago.

"Every year, I improve it a little bit because I learn a little bit more technology," she said.

Not every class gets the opportunity, Hafey said. And not every student in her class does either.

"This group approached me and asked me to do something different," she said. "They wanted a challenge."

Hafey said creating a newspaper teaches students writing and interview skills, as well as digital camera and computer use.

"A lot of objectives we need for fourth grade are intertwined with this," she said. "We're trying to have our essential learning and have fun at the same time."

The group's first edition will be published this week, Hafey said. The group's goal will be to publish editions by the end of each month through the end of the school year.

The students work on the projects four times a week every other week, Hafey said, and they have control over the newspaper's stories, photos and design.

"I let them work through their struggles of what works and what doesn't on their own," she said.

Student Calden Scranton said he's up for the challenge.

"I like to write stories, and I like to ask people all sorts of questions about all sorts of things," he said.

He's writing about a Bulldog poster hanging at Ridgeview, reminding students of punctuality.

Young is writing about the autistic students who attend her school.

Hafey encourages the students to write about whatever topic they're interested in so their passion shows through in their writing.

"It kind of allows the kids to venture out and ask the questions they always wanted to ask," Hafey said, "and to answer the questions other people wonder, too."

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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