Highland News Flash

Students journalists publish Newsflash at Highland Elementary
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Jesse Baalman, Communication Specialist

At Highland Elementary School, a student-run newspaper can be added to the list of good things that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a desire to be remembered (and lots of free time), four students dreamt up what is now called Newsflash, a bi-weekly source of information for students, staff and parents at the school.

Kyra Hills, Rylan Donohoue, Paislee Fields and Jaime Barragan are responsible for the paper, which has issued three separate editions since it began in January. Inside the paper are write-ups on teachers and students of the week as well as information on upcoming events. “We have a bunch of kids from fifth grade that go and they read a story about different interests they have and stuff that we put on paper,” says Donohoue.

Looking back on all the stories published so far, Donohoue says one about a guitar-playing classmate is his favorite. For Hills, it’s the profiles on important figures throughout American history, including Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. Fields says she enjoys getting to know people through the newspaper while Barragan has the special job of translating the text with the school’s Spanish liaison, Maria Lara.

n Justin Bankey, instructional coach and dean of students, helps coordinate the making of the paper. He says he helps guide their ideas and processes toward the goals they have for the paper. “I have been able to watch them grow over the last few months into knowing and fulfilling their own vision,” says Bankey. “This year, any year, really, being able to showcase students’ skills is something the community of Highland Elementary can be proud of. We also get a glimpse of other amazing goings-on of students from other grades and the teachers who are doing wonderful things in the classrooms.

According to the student reporters, a career in journalism doesn’t sound too bad. Hills herself already reads the Post Independent on occasion. Fields says she might want to pursue a career in journalism someday while Rylan says he may want to do it on the side. Either way, the students are learning valuable skills by producing their very own newspaper. “I think we’re learning a lot about how to communicate with more people,” says Donohoue. “My favorite part is just getting to do this with these guys.”

“It was all their idea; it came from them,” says principal Rich Hills. “I'm super proud of these guys because we've never done a good job of bragging about what we do around here at Highland normally. So these guys are able to accentuate some of that.”


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