School & Community News

Student reflections on Healthy NewsWorks
September 3, 2017

September 2017 … Several students who participated in the Healthy NewsWorks program during the 2016-17 school year shared reflections on their experiences with community members earlier this year.

Here are excerpts of their comments, delivered during the book-launch event celebrating the publication of Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2017.

Cornelio Rodriguez Jr., fifth grader, St. Veronica Healthy Hero

This year I have learned a lot about reporting and being healthy. I learned that children my age should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Also, we should exercise 60 minutes a day. A few times a week we should be sure to do bone-strengthening exercises. This year we also learned about resiliency, which means bouncing back from something difficult.

My favorite reporting experience is when my class Skyped with students from Sierra Leone. The students there did not have a clean source of water, so during the summer people built a well for the school. … I learned that the kids used to bring their own water to school. The well lets the kids refill their water bottles and allows them to take water home to their families.

… The advice that I would give to new reporters would be to always write true facts and never write false information. And remember to bring an extra piece of paper to an interview so you can write down more facts.

Ian Kaplan, fourth grader, Highland Park Elementary School Healthy Hawk

The Healthy Hawk helped me be a curious and more talkative—in a good way—person. Last year, I was shy and not that friendly to people whom I did not know. Now, saying “hello” comes flying out of my mouth.

Being a reporter was one of the best experiences I ever had. At first, interviewing and hearing the answers from the person I interviewed was so nerve-racking! … The interview with (vaccine expert) Dr. (Paul) Offit at first was scary because I did not know what was going to happen. I was nervous that I would do something wrong and mess up. Then when I got used to the interview, I really got going with the questions, and I learned a lot about vaccines.

The Healthy Hawk taught me many important life lessons. … I know now how to be a reporter in an interview, how to write strong articles, and how to tie a tie because of (teacher) Dr. (Leslie) Isaacs and my Healthy Hawk experiences.

Dean Millard, eighth grader, East Norriton Bulldog Bulletin

My whole experience with Healthy NewsWorks started in second grade at Cole Manor Elementary School. I remember interviewing the school nurse about student injuries as part of a story for the newspaper. After that, I was hooked. I really liked doing this and wanted to continue participating. Now, I am wrapping up an amazing seven-year experience with Healthy NewsWorks as I prepare to enter high school.

I have many great memories of my time on newspaper staffs. One of my most prominent memories is from third grade when our newspaper staff interviewed Liz Scott, Alex Scott’s mom. Alex battled cancer and ran a lemonade stand, famously known as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, to raise money for the hospital where she was being treated. In the interview, our reporters asked Mrs. Scott questions about the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that she and her husband run, memories of their daughter, and their goals for the Foundation.

As a journalist for Healthy NewsWorks, I have also had the opportunity numerous times to interview health leaders in our community. They include Marc Vetri, a top chef; Dr. Raina Merchant, social media medical trailblazer; Lily Yeh, an artist engaged in social change; Dr. Alfred Atanda, a sports medicine physician; and Dr. Alberto Esquenazi, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and inventor. In these interviews, I have learned about their lives, the positive work that they contribute to the community, and many other things.

During these experiences, the interview process was definitely my favorite part. As a team of journalists, we would research information about the leaders, brainstorm questions, and prepare for the big interview. I really enjoy conducting the interviews because it is amazing to actually meet these influential people and get to know them in person. Every year I have looked forward to this process, have cherished all of these great memories, and have been honored to be a part of the team.

Some people may ask why the past seven years were so special. My answer would be because of all of the very memorable moments, inspirational experiences, and motivational people. I have enjoyed doing this so much, I would possibly want to pursue a writing or journalism career. There will always be a part of the Healthy NewsWorks program in my heart, and I will continue my indescribable love for this program.

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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.