School & Community News

Reflections of a Healthy NewsWorks alum
March 13, 2013

Editor’s note: Josie Dillard became a health journalist while she was in elementary school at Hancock Elementary School in Norristown. She went on to be a key contributor for the Healthy Panther at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy. She is now a valued alum of the Healthy NewsWorks student media program.

March 2013…I am a reporter and book author. Wow. I never thought I’d write that sentence with my name in it.

Joining the newspaper opened many doors for me and gave me a confidence boost. I felt important interviewing and talking to teachers. Being on the newspaper also helped improve my writing.

Year after year since third grade, I became an avid journalist. It then led me to become an author. That was unexpected.

Never did I imagine that I would be a published author. Plus, I was published doing something I love. It was a huge step up for me.

It was amazing to get ready for my interviews with Dr. Neil Izenberg, CEO of KidsHealth.org, this year, and Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, last year, for “Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities”. Two other students and I interviewed Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey via Skype. It was a whole new experience and it was magical.

I felt completely professional and that we were making a big difference. We are just kids getting a wonderful opportunity to interview people so powerful and meaningful to other kids. I know our books are read by kids and adults of all ages. People are interested in what other people are doing to make a positive change.

This was an amazing experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am just glad that Healthy NewsWorks gave me these chances.

One day, I hope to be as inspiring as the people we write about in the book.

—By Josie Dillard, Norristown Area High School

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.