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Students write, photograph for new ‘Heritage Times’ newspaper

Nikki Lipski, front center, proudly shows a copy of "Heritage Times," the new newspaper at Heritage Elementary School. The staff includes Paris Dryer, front from left, and Marlon Sherman and teacher sponsors Jessica Miller and Kellye Ingraham. (CONTRIBUTED)
Nikki Lipski, front center, proudly shows a copy of “Heritage Times,” the new newspaper at Heritage Elementary School. The staff includes Paris Dryer, front from left, and Marlon Sherman and teacher sponsors Jessica Miller and Kellye Ingraham. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Students are learning interviewing and photography skills to produce articles for their new newspaper, “Heritage Times,” at Heritage Elementary School.

Impetus for a student-led newspaper occurred last year when a student approached principal Dr. Georgina Nelson. “We wanted to make it happen. We’re striving to meet students’ interests, fifth-grade teacher Kellye Ingraham said.

Ingraham and fellow fifth-grade teacher Jessica Miller are sponsoring “Heritage Times” as a weekly, after-school club. Eighteen students applied for a position on the staff and have worked tirelessly.

“The ‘Ram Reporters’ conducted interviews, observed activities, snapped pictures and wrote their own articles,” principal Dr. Georgina Nelson said. “Most work is done outside school hours. We’re so proud of their commitment and dedication.”

At their first meeting, reporters proposed newspaper titles and voted on their top three. Writing their biographies was their first assignment. “The first issue we focused on grade-level news but since then we’ve solicited the school staff for ideas and projects they would like to see as feature articles,” Ingraham said.

Completing work themselves, students write articles with Microsoft Word and take photographs with a camera obtained from Donorschoose.org. Except for their ‘biographies,’ they worked in two-member teams.

Miller and Ingraham handled the first issue’s layout. Eventually, they want divvy layout responsibility to students.

Fourth-grade Ram Reporters are Paris Dryer, Emma Clare Odom, Emma Plummer, Hope Price, Michaela Robinson and Lillian Yarbrough.

Fifth-grade reporters are Molly Bennett, Elizabeth Busby, Anna Hill, Emily Lee, Nikki Lipski and Sarah Vaughan. Sixth-grader writers are Grace Doerr, Emma Drake, Taylre Hall, Harshil Patel, Erin Ruch and Marlon Sherman.

“We’re a zero-budget club and simply don’t have resources to print copies,” Ingraham said. Currently, they are distributing “Heritage Times” electronically, primarily to parents. Ingraham and Miller are checking into securing a community sponsor to print copies — at least one newspaper per classroom and thus into students’ hands.

To read “Heritage Times,” visit hrtg.madisoncity.k12.al.us and click “Clubs and Organizations.” Then click “Newspaper Staff” and click “File” and open the “Heritage Times” folder.

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