From the get-go, my favorite part of being a reporter has been getting out in to the heart of the community. To be able to meet, visit and hear stories that I can share with others as I paint a picture of a person’s tale makes this job feel less like work than it probably should.
As I turn the corner on three months here at the Dispatch, I have been given the opportunity to embark on other community ventures, including trips to two area elementary schools where I was able to share a bit of my story while taking away even more of theirs.
The first visit came during “I Love Reading” month in February, visiting Mrs. Maurer’s first grade class at Riverside Elementary to read them a book on all of the career options open to the young visionaries.
They all sat “pretzel style” on the floor, wide-eyed and eager to hear a story read from an actual reporter because “my mom and dad read the paper” and “one time my sister was in a picture in the paper.” They wanted to be police officers, nurses, teachers and even one news reporter. I left feeling so grateful for the opportunity to visit with them and hopefully prove to them that they too can be anything they want.
My latest chance to jump back in to the schools was Tuesday during Ms. Surma’s third grade class at Baxter Elementary where the students are learning about news. I can say with certainty that there are a few students in that class who will be the future journalists of America. They showed me their own handmade advertisements for restaurants and were able to tell me why the newspaper is important to them and how to properly write a story.
They flipped the script on me and for once I wasn’t the one asking the questions as they tossed dozens of inquiries my way, ranging from what my favorite story ever to write was, to what does the Dispatch do if there is no news to report on. Again they were as excited to hear from me as I was to share because “my mom and dad read the newspaper” and “once my sister was in picture in the paper.”
Sweetening the deal on these visits for me is that fact that, for as long as I can remember, my career path signs led to being an elementary school teacher. All the way up until my freshman year of college that was the plan until I did what most college students do and changed my mind and my major to journalism.
Now to be able to be a journalist and embrace even just a touch of what that means to young students is something that I am humbly proud to be a part of.
So thank you all for letting me be a part of this community’s story.