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Elsewhere, Antoinette writes a story about how "Paying attention has its rewards." And Blanca has a Q&A with the principal, Mamie Keith, about when Ms. Keith calls security: "I call security if the students are fighting and out of control. [I call] for a weapon or a simulated weapon. I will call them for drugs, irate people, whether it's parents or staff," Keith says.
Dominating other pages are four-color photos — of the neighborhood; of girls practicing for the talent show; of the patterns of light on playground equipment.
On the morning the paper comes out, Boody presses her unwieldy staffers to critique their work.
The students like the stories; they like the pictures. Leslie is disappointed that the story she worked so hard on didn't run (welcome to the club, sister). They plan a trip downtown to show the school board what they've done. They talk about distributing papers at the candy store (Midtown Groceries and Liquor) on the corner.
"We should put some downtown," one student says, "so if people have coffee and a doughnut, they can read it!"
"We should put it on the Plaza — they'll pay good money for it there!"
Yeah, we're all wondering how much money a newspaper is worth these days.
But Harris believes there's a future in journalism for these kids and hopes some of them have been inspired.
"Telling stories about your neighborhood makes you an advocacy journalist," she notes. "For a lot of these kids, their neighborhoods are disgusting. There's garbage everywhere. We have kids whose relatives have been shot or killed. The first thing most of them wanted to write about was violence and how the school system is failing them. There's no order maintained in the classrooms. A lot of them face bullying and threats — real threats. Not just 'I'm going to beat you up on the playground after school,' but 'I'm going to shoot you sometime,' or 'You're going to regret making that comment because my friends are going to come get you.'"
One day, she adds, "They can go back to their neighborhoods and say, 'This is where I started. Even at 10 years old, I pointed out the flaws of this community.' And then, as an adult with a college education, they can show what's happening and how we can change it."
Octavia, the one with the two front-page stories, says she'll probably keep writing (even though she wants to be a veterinarian). "When I was little, in another grade, I used to have my stories on the wall. Some people say I should write books, but I don't know if I want to."
Stories on the wall. Possible books. Journalism will live on.