FALMOUTH — With a passion for writing, 11-year-old Caroline Tracy has joined the Kids Press Corps at Scholastic News.
She said her goals are to write stories that inspire kids to do good deeds in their communities and to care for the environment.
Tracy, a sixth-grader at Falmouth Middle School, is the only student from Maine this year to be named to the Kids Press Corps, which the Scholastic News website calls “the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program.”
“Our young journalists report news for kids, by kids, with coverage of breaking news, entertainment and sports events from their hometowns and on the national stage,” the website says.
Tracy’s aunt, Julie Russell, works for Scholastic, and suggested that Tracy might be interested in applying to the Kids Press Corps program, which is open to students 10-14 nationwide.
The application included an essay about why Tracy wanted to write for the Kids Press and also a sample article, which she wrote about a student who had an idea for a community garden that would donate produce to the Falmouth Food Pantry.
Tracy found out she was accepted into the Kids Press Corps in mid-November and just recently received her credentials, which include a T-shirt, a couple pens, business cards, a press pass and a reporter’s notebook.
Her first story is due in January; Tracy said kid reporters can either submit story ideas or receive assignments from Kids Press Editor Suzanne McCabe. Tracy submitted two ideas for stories, but has yet to hear back.
She hopes to do her first story on Garbage to Garden, a curbside composting service based in Portland that services homeowners, as well as schools, restaurants and special events in southern Maine.
Tracy first heard about Garbage to Garden at school, and convinced her parents to sign up for the program because “I’m really into helping the earth.”
McCabe said she looks for kid reporters “who are curious, write well and are willing to work hard.”
She added, “Throughout the year, we see our kid reporters make great strides with their reporting, writing and listening skills, as well as their self-confidence. Our young reporters, in turn, bring (stories) to Scholastic News readers that (are) relevant and fun.”
“I love getting to know our reporters and learning what their interests and abilities are,” McCabe said. “Seeing their enthusiasm for taking on assignments and sharing what they find with their peers is incredibly rewarding.”
In addition, she said, “Charging kids with going out to get a story and report it accurately is one of the best ways to engage kids in the world around them.”
The kid reporters most often submit stories about “the democratic process, influential people, kids who are making a difference in their community, scientific advancements, new books and movies and cultural events,” McCabe said.
In the past year, kid reporters have also had the opportunity to interview first lady Michelle Obama, Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda, actors Eddie Redmayne and Whoopi Goldberg, social commentator Seth Meyers and NASA scientists, among others.
Stories by the Kids Press Corps appear online at the Scholastic News Kids website, scholastic.com/kidspress, and in issues of classroom magazines, published by Scholastic, which reach more than 25 million students across the country.
The typical length of service is a year, but kid reporters who wish to can re-apply to participate annual until they age out. Tracy is not yet sure whether she wants to report for the Kids Press Corps for more than one year.
“I want to inform other kids about what’s going on in the world, interview people and learn a lot,” she said of her goals for being a kid reporter.
In addition to writing, Tracy said she loves to read. She also plays the clarinet and has a black belt in karate. Her grandparents own and operate a dojo in Yarmouth, where she’s been studying martial arts since the age of 3.
Much like her writing, Tracy said karate gives her “a lot of self-confidence” and makes her “feel bold and powerful, like I can change the world.”
Caroline Tracy, a sixth-grader at Falmouth Middle School, is the only student from Maine to participate in Scholastic News’ Kids Press Corps program this year.