April 2017 … The Healthy NewsWorks student journalism program is centered on empowering students to have new experiences and step outside their comfort zone. For eighth grader Andrea Ritter, who drew the cover illustration for Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2017, this was certainly the case.
“I never contributed to something this big with my art before. I was excited to have an opportunity like this—creating art for an organization,” Andrea said. “Not just making it for yourself, but for other people. I was definitely nervous about how well I’d be able to actually do it.”
Though the project was intimidating, Andrea said it seemed interesting.
She was given some guidelines but had a lot of independence in deciding the actual image of several athletes walking arm in arm in front of an open field. Because sports is a major theme of this year’s book, Andrea said that she tried to include many different sports, “show sportsmanship,” and reveal how the book “inspires people to come together.”
It turned out to be a positive experience, she said. “I’ve learned how to create a piece for a specific purpose, not just whatever I want to draw at the moment,” she said.
Andrea has been part of the staff of the Bulldog Bulletin, the Healthy NewsWorks newspaper at East Norriton Middle School, since the sixth grade. “I’ve drawn a lot over my whole life (and) I’ve done a lot of art for the newspaper in previous years,” she said.
Reflecting on her experience with the program, Andrea said it “has been a great opportunity to expand creatively and get feedback on art and writing.” Collaboration with fellow reporters and the interviewing and editing process have been among the highlights for her. “I think that’s very important to the creative process and learning how to see other people’s viewpoints,” she said.
—By Zubin Hill