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PORTLAND — Students in the Newspaper Club at Lyman Moore Middle School are covering topics and issues they’re passionate about.
That includes everything from women’s rights to deforestation, to the longest-ever federal government shutdown, and even their favorite recipes or jokes.
Adviser, Court Caywood, a seventh grade English and language arts teacher, said all of the articles that appear on the school newspaper’s website, Through The Falcon’s Eyes, are completely student-generated.
Although the club has only existed for a few months, Caywood said he has been impressed by how deeply students care about issues affecting the world at large and how eager they are to “dig into deep, important issues” such as animal cruelty.
Caywood described the newspaper’s format as an online blog. Instead of publishing individual issues, he said, the club posts articles as they are produced. In the past three months, he said, students have “gone through about four hefty rounds of posting.”
Caywood said the Newspaper Club has about 23 members from all three grade levels at Lyman Moore. Some attend more regularly than others, because many of the students in the club also participate in sports or other extracurriculars, he said.
The main goal of the club, Caywood said, “is to act as an outlet for student writing. As far as the writing is concerned, I really don’t discourage anything that the students want to pursue.”
The students link any source material they use to write their articles, and Caywood said they “have been really engaged in the research they’ve conducted.”
In terms of showing students how to be more savvy consumers of online news content, Caywood said much of that is being covered in the classroom. But he’s also thinking about incorporating such lessons into the club’s regular activities.
The social issues covered in the school newspaper are completely student-driven, he said.
“I really think that this speaks to this generation of students,” Caywood said. “Many times they are simply written off as tech addicts who are more focused on social media than social issues, but I’ve found, as a teacher, that the opposite is true.”
He said his favorite moment was launching the website and seeing the students react to having their writing published for the world to see.
The newspaper website, designed by a club memer, says the club tries to publish fresh articles every two weeks or so and touts the fact that students have a lot of creative freedom to write about what inspires them.
Overall, Caywood said, his hope is that students “learn to love writing. Beyond writing, I want to bring together students who share a common interest and expand their social circle. This generation of students is going to make a huge difference in Portland.”
Members of the Newspaper Club at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland enjoy writing about social issues they’re passionate about. Pictured, from left, are Michaela Sanchez, Charlotte Murray, adviser Court Caywood, Olivia Litcher, Lily Hutchins, Hannah Irish, Jojo Philbrook, Cora Engebreth, Piper Guerrette, Piper Christina, Kiara Venerable and Evan Sucidlo.