MOKANE, Mo. - With a recently discovered mutual love of writing, an enthusiastic group of South Callaway Middle School students have combined forces with the aim of starting a school newspaper.
Members of the middle school's new writing club met after school Tuesday to discuss plans for the first edition of Paws on News, which they are hoping to publish the second week of November.
Proposed sections include a fun zone for jokes and puzzles, short stories, sports, art, announcements, parent information, opinion, interviews and book reviews as well as a student advice column.
In addition to writing all the content, the students also will use publishing software to help put the paper together. Sixth- and seventh-grade science teacher Shannon Bobryk said the monthly edition likely will be in PDF form because all middle school students have iPads and it can be sent out electronically.
"The students seem really excited about it," Bobryk said.
The writing club got started when Bobryk noticed sixth-grader Sarah Stephens' affinity for writing.
"I had a story and Miss Bobryk wanted to read it. She noticed I liked writing, so she said maybe we could start a club," Stephens said.
Stephens quickly took steps to make that happen, asking all her friends and putting up flyers all over school. Eventually the writing club - which meets every Tuesday after school - ended up with a core membership of 18 students who all have an urge for creativity in common.
"I'm one of the creative, fun ones," she said of her love of writing. "All of us pretty much are in here. (Writing) is just my thing."
Classmate and friend Hannah Huntsman said she agreed to join the group because she had seen characters on television shows and in movies work on school newspapers, and "I thought it would be cool to have one in our school."
"It's going to be cool to show all our creativity and work," Huntsman said.
Sixth grader Ellie Edler said she too joined because she thought it would be fun to "create a newspaper and spend the day after school with my friends in here."
Edler, who serves on the jokes, art and fun committees, said she has enjoyed working on the jokes best, and she is looking forward to reading the group's finished product in a few weeks.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how we all worked as a team to create something," she said.
Fellow sixth graders Brooklyn Furlong and Tinsley Rogers gave similar reasons for joining - both referencing a love for writing.
"As soon as I heard about it I wanted to join because in reading class with Mrs. Hofherr, she gives us topics to write on and I fell in love with writing," Rogers said.
Eighth grader Zack Leisinger said he had wanted a school newspaper "for a while" because he felt the school - and the city of Mokane - needed a good source for local news.
"I'm proud of the fact that we've kind of established something," Leisinger said.
As they've worked together the past several weeks, Stephens said that something has included a new support network.
"Some of us don't really fit in - we're not into sports or anything - this gives us a chance to make friends with kids we normally wouldn't. It gives us a chance to know each other," she said. "Some of us are dealing with other things outside of school too. It sort of helps us get away from all the stuff outside.
"It gives us a place where we can feel happy and welcome and secure."