January 2019…One of Vicki Strickland’s favorite memories of working with the Bulldog Bulletin, the health-focused newspaper at East Norriton Middle School, was going with her student reporters to visit an urban farm on the campus of Lankenau Hospital.
“Students were fascinated to see the garden, get to pick herbs and vegetables, and then eat some of those herbs and vegetables in a salad out in the sunshine,” Vicki said recently. “One student in particular said to me that day that she planned to go home and try to figure out how to plant a garden of her own so that she could enjoy fresh vegetables with her family.”
Such learning through experience is an essential part of the Bulldog Bulletin, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this school year as part of the Healthy NewsWorks program. Student staffers are in fifth through seventh grades.
“What the student journalists learn, as well as the information they spread by participating in Healthy NewsWorks, plants the seeds to help youngsters become their healthiest self,” Vicki said.
A former broadcast news journalist who switched to teaching as her second career, Vicki was recruited to help with the paper soon after she joined the East Norriton faculty nine years ago. “It is truly a great fit for me, because of my love of writing as well as my belief that education on diet and exercise is so important,” she said. “In today’s world of fast food and eating whatever is convenient, people can easily get lost in a world where paying attention to diet and exercise isn’t important.”
She said she enjoys seeing students learn important information both about nutrition and the importance of being active, and particularly relishes the “aha” moments when she sees learning in action.
A few years ago, her staff of student journalists took a behind-the-scenes tour of a Whole Foods grocery store, with a focus on healthy food choices. “The students were extremely interested about the topics they learned and couldn’t wait to get home to share the information with their parents,” she said.