OIS student newspaper a hit

Published 6:00 am Sunday, November 22, 2015

Oxford Intermediate School’s events are a little easier to know about, thanks to a new student-run newspaper.

The first edition of “The Charger Chat” was published Oct. 30 and students will publish three more editions before the end of the school year.

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“I believe it helps students grow and strengthen their writing skills,” April Thornton said.

Seventeen fifth- and sixth-graders staff the paper. Since it was started, the students have been getting first-hand experience in interviewing, photography, designing and editing.

While the paper is currently print only, Thornton said she plans to have an online edition some time in the future.

Thornton sponsors and manages the students as they continue to broaden their journalistic interests. Former journalism teacher Mary Wilkinson and Beth Fitts help out as well.

Thornton was asked to sponsor the newspaper club after OIS started a new after-school club program. The students interested in joining signed up the first of the school year and “The Charger Chat” had its first meeting Sept. 10.

“Since the newspaper is still new to us, and the students have no experience with layout, Mrs. Wilkinson helps with the layout,” Thornton said. “We talk to the students about the layout and show them previews.”

Thornton said the club helps the students learn how to be responsible. The students have to meet deadlines as well as develop listening and communication skills as they write and interview.

Some of the students are using the early experience to decide whether they want to work at a newspaper when they get older.

Staff Writer Noah Amizon, 10, covered a choir club event for his first article. He said although he enjoys writing for the paper, he is currently considering growing up to be a lawyer or work in government.

Amizon said his favorite part of being a staff writer is being able to inform the entire school about important information they need to know.

His next article will be an piece on how to get and keep good grades. He plans to interview the principal for tips.

Likewise, Staff Writer Reagan Habeed, 10, also does not necessarily want to be a reporter when she grows up. She is considering a career as a competitive horseback rider or trainer. However, she does enjoy taking photos of events.

Staff Writer Ava Kathryn Ormon, 10, is more determined. She is giving a news career some serious thought.

Orman’s favorite article so far was when she interviewed a veteran. She asked him how being away from home affects his family and what he liked best about being in the armed forces.

Thornton said she hopes what OIS students are writing about will inspire other local schools to start a newspaper as well.

“They are all so talented, and they all have bright futures ahead of them in journalism and photography. I will be here to encourage and lead every step of the way,” Thornton said.