November 2015…Students in kindergarten through grade 8 at St. Veronica School in North Philadelphia will soon be able to read a health-focused newspaper written and illustrated by some of their fellow students.
St. Veronica this fall became one of 14 schools participating in the Healthy NewsWorks student media program.
One of the first orders of business at St. Veronica was deciding on a name for the paper, which is expected to publish its first issue in coming weeks.
“Students came up with many name options, but they chose ‘Healthy Hero‘ because a hero helps,” said Ms. Diane Muller, a fifth and sixth grade teacher and the newspaper’s faculty advisor. “They want their newspaper to be entertaining and help others.”
After receiving some basic journalism training in interview etiquette and techniques, the student reporters started interviewing teachers and school staff for a story about “healthy smiles.” They are also working on “Character Counts,” a new program at the school focused on personal character.
“The students are really enjoying interviewing teachers. They’re becoming comfortable talking to the adults and are developing a strong interest in reporting. It’s been a wonderful experience so far,” said Ms. Muller.
St. Veronica is part of the Independence Mission Schools network of 15 Catholic elementary schools that were formerly run by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Another Independence Mission school, St. Martin de Porres, is in its second year with Healthy NewsWorks.
—By Brian Bonanni, Healthy NewsWorks volunteer