Seventh and eighth grade students at Powell Township School in Big Bay have spent the last several weeks learning about journalism. They have now completed their first newspaper written by the students.
The Powell Township Times hit the presses this past Wednesday. It's an entirely student-written newspaper and it's the first of its kind at Powell Township School. For most of the semester, the seventh and eighth grade classes have been learning the finer points of journalism from retired journalist, Faye Bowers. Bowers is originally from the Big Bay and Marquette area before becoming a reporter with the Christian Science Monitor and Los Angeles Times. She spent considerable time overseas covering international stories. The teacher, Linda Fleury, is an old friend and invited Bowers to help teach the class several months ago. It wasn't long before each student grabbed a pen and paper to report for themselves.
"They created their own stories out of events that are happening in Big Bay, either here at the school or in the community, so they're all local stories," said Bowers.
"Writing a newspaper article is a lot different from a story that we usually do. You have to go and interview people, you have to get every name right, you can't make up any names," said eighth grader Bethany Wright.
The seven students each spent many hours during language arts, writing and editing their stories and coming up with eye-catching headlines. They covered stories ranging from the cross country team to the school science fair. Then they chose photos online to go with each story.
"It's a lot of work to first, get it put together, but then it gets easier after that, and it's fun to do it with everybody else," said seventh grader Alexis Tierrablanca.
Part of the education involved pouring over local and national newspapers. They would dissect articles to find the who, what, when, where, and why.
"It's important to the kids to read for information, to process what they've read, to be able to write what they've found out," said Fleury, the seventh and eighth grade teacher.
"I want them to gain an appreciation for the news, first and foremost, to pay attention to current events, to know what's going on in their own community and in their broader communities," Bowers said.
The newspaper was published and distributed throughout the school and to local businesses in Big Bay. Fluery and Bowers plan to keep teaching journalism with language arts next semester.