Just about every high school in the country has a student newspaper. Few elementary schools, however, offer students an opportunity for to report on the happenings of school life.
At Wheeler Avenue School, its student newspaper has been around for a quarter-century. The Wheeler Squealer is published twice a year, once in the winter and again in the spring. Advisor Guy Jacob, who teaches fifth grade at the school, said he is proud the publication has made it to 25 years.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students are selected by their teachers to write for the Squealer. The top writers in each class are chosen to participate, and they meet with Jacob after school to plan, write and edit their stories.
â€śI like that we get to have a voice and tell other people about what we do in our school,â€ť said sixth-grader Michael Ott, who has reported for the Squealer for the past two years.
The students write about a variety of topics focusing on Wheeler Avenue, such as assemblies and special programs, field trips, concerts and activities in the classes. Often students will interview staff members and administrators.
Ott said his favorite topic to write about is Wheeler Hockey League, which is run by phys. ed. teacher Rob Primeggia. He said he writes his stories in a way so readers feel like they were at the games.
Fifth-grader Vito Oliveri said he enjoys writing about projects that students do for class. The most interesting story he has written, he said, was about when his class went to see a Civil War re-enactment.
Sonali Dutt, a fifth-grader, said she really enjoys writing and has even signed up to be a reporter with Time for Kids magazine. She first has to write an essay about a community service activity that happened at her school.
Last year, Michael won the 2012 Young Authorâ€™s Contest for fifth grade from the Nassau Reading Council. Jacob submitted a piece that Michael wrote for the Squealer about his class trip to the Oceanside Marine Nature Study.
Jonathan Prashad, a sixth-grader, likes working for the newspaper. â€śI enjoy spending my time here,â€ť he said. â€śWe get the thrill of writing articles and expressing our ideas about whatâ€™s happened.â€ť