July 11, 2014

Welcome, Topanga Elementary Mini Messenger

 

PHOTO BY JOHN SIPPLE, 2013

Welcome, Topanga Elementary <i>Mini Messenger</i>

Pictured from left, back row: Lee Ivy,Voisin, Nicole Sheard (Principal, Advisor), AvaDalgaard, Sidney Brody, Shira Feinberg, Samantha Miller, Amy Weisberg (Teacher, Advisor), Mikayla Williams, Gabby Beauvais, Skye Smith, Esme Lee. Front row, from left: Anna Schow, Sarah Green, India Schmitt, Summer Sholty.

I have had the pleasure of working with the Topanga Elementary School Newspaper Club to produce the first edition of the Topanga Elementary Mini Messenger (click on link at the bottom of this article). In my present-time life, filled with media that in my youth was the stuff of comic books and cartoon strips—does anyone else remember the Dick Tracy two-way radio wristwatch?—it is heartening to know that there are bright contemporary young people who are excited about creating in a media so hopelessly old-fashioned as a local small-town newspaper.

These kids jumped on the Mini Messenger with the kind of enthusiasm that is owned by the young and fearless. The Newspaper Club grew in size from six to thirteen between our first and second meetings. As editors, they embraced the material of their peers and honored it with care and wisdom, selecting that which they felt would make a good paper. They grieved over the stuff that got cut because of space limitations, and vowed to include it in the next edition because it was too good to go unpublished.

Many members of the Newspaper Club are also Junior Librarians. They spend lunch hours thinking about literature and how to preserve it and make it available to others.

So, when next you read the dreary news of the day on your iPad or feel a tinge of ennui at the latest lowering of the civility bar by a rudderless young celebrity who gets impossible amounts of fame and money for a hard-to-define talent, you can be heartened that there are young people right here in our hometown who do credit to all of us. They can read and write and draw and imagine—and they care.

After helping to produce the first edition of the Mini Messenger, to me our future looks a lot brighter.

Special Feature: Topanga Elementary Mini Messenger Newspaper