Who said reading the newspaper is just for old people?
Students in classes at Hinckley-Finlayson High School are discovering the benefit of local newspaper coverage, thanks to some dedicated teachers and generous donors.
Once a week, Jay Kreger’s civics classes open up the Hinckley News and peruse its contents. Lately, they’ve been talking about the upcoming school board and referendum vote. They’re evaluating each candidate’s position on the issues and coming up with their own questions for the candidates.
Annie France has been opening the Academy classes once a week with the Hinckley News. “We have done different things — sometimes they read for fun, sometimes to practice summarizing,” France said. They, too, have taken special interest in the upcoming school board election and referendum by looking at the letters to the editor that have been coming in. Maybe someday, France said, her students will write in their own letters.
Students said they enjoy reading about sports and other school happenings, such as pictures from the elementary schools and the special Homecoming edition. Other feature stories on people in the community are also a favorite. The crime stories catch the students’ interest as well, which the teachers try to use as constructive lessons.
All this is in thanks to Steve Razskazoff and FirstLight Health System. Razskazoff supported bringing the papers into the schools the first two weeks, and FirstLight has generously donated for the rest of the school year. The classes that use the papers as part of the curriculum are guaranteed access to them.
In Mr. Kreger’s class, only about a third of the students would look at the paper otherwise. Bringing the newspapers in the classroom gets the next generation of community leaders a head start on understanding things like the school board and the way that referendums affect the larger community.
France said only a couple of students in her class are subscribers at home. “This is a great new experience for most of them,” and it works to break down the notion that newspapers are only for old people. “We are working to change that idea,” she added.
Kim Tepley, director of marketing at FirstLight, said, “FirstLight is pleased to support literacy opportunities for area schools. It’s been found that low literacy can affect one’s health and overall well-being negatively, and can be associated with poor understanding of written or spoken medical advice. Opportunities such as this allow FirstLight to help increase the literacy rate among children and young adults within its communities.”