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In early autumn, the Los Alamos Monitor was invited to attend the Pojoaque Valley Intermediate School’s annual career fair. My co-worker, Hope Jaramillo, and I volunteered to attend.
We quickly began to think of things for the booth that would inspire young students to enter the world of journalism and publishing. This would be the first year that these topics would be covered at the fair; and, it turns out that there would be a few students who were especially interested in our booth.
The career fair was a bustling, well-structured event. Held in the gymnasium of the Intermediate School, students were brought in groups for specific amounts of time until the entire school had a chance to make their way through.
Hope and I were surprised at how each group wandered through with enthusiasm, eagerly completing forms given to them by their teachers that were designed to help them engage with each booth. They were encouraged to ask questions about what each business did, what kind of education was required, and how long we had been in business. It was both educational and interesting to the students; and it was easy to spot which children already had a very focused interest in specific subjects.
As the fair began to wind down, 5th grade teacher Noelle Bowyer approached the booth with a special story. One of her students, Celayell Evans-Lovato had approached her earlier in the year with the request to create the school’s first newspaper. Celayell was an aspiring journalist with a vision; and Bowyer wanted to find a way to help her orchestrate her plan.
Celayell quickly met with Principal Staci Mascarenas, who was more than excited to help her bring the project to life. They gathered support from the staff and students and began making plans to bring the idea into reality.
We all began to come up with ideas about how the Los Alamos Monitor could help them print their newspaper. Although it may have been easier to create an online version, Bowyer felt it was important to send the children home with a tangible product that students and their parents could enjoy together; and something they could save as a keepsake.
After the career fair, all of the presenters were invited to a complimentary lunch in the school library. As Hope and I feasted upon sandwiches and discussed the possibilities, we also both noted the library shelves were sparse. The two of us left with a pretty clear purpose that afternoon: to find a way to print their newspaper and to somehow find a way to help fill their library shelves.
Upon our return to the office, Publisher Keven Todd quickly gave us the go -ahead for the project. We needed a minimal amount of sponsors to help cover the cost of printing; and we saw the potential to help generate some money for the school. It was the perfect way to help purchase books for the library.
After a quick meeting with Ms. Bowyer, it was determined that the first edition would be printed before the holiday break. We only had a few weeks to generate a few sponsors for the first edition; but we gathered what we needed and then some. One sponsor has already donated $250 worth of books directly to library, with the delivery schedule after the holiday break.
We had the privilege of delivering their first edition to the classroom last Friday; and the reaction from the children was priceless. Each of them grabbed a copy off the stack and marveled at their names in print, some of them jumping up and down and squealing with excitement. There were many high fives, hugs, and lots of smiles.
The class is already preparing for their next edition, which will print in January. A couple of the students are working on articles and artwork during the holiday break. We are already gaining new sponsors for this edition and we are accepting book donations, as well.
Businesses or individuals who wish to help us sponsor their newspaper and fill their library with books, should contact the Los Alamos Monitor offices at 662-4185 and ask for Hope or April. We are accepting gently used, age appropriate book donations at our offices on 256 DP Road, directly next to ACE Hardware. Those who make a book donation of 10 or more books will receive a free 1-month subscription to the Los Alamos Monitor. We will also be placing a donation box at LANB soon. Watch for updates on their story in future editions of the Los Alamos Monitor.
-April M. Brown