Inman journalism club picks up momentum

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Inman journalism club picks up momentum

6th grader Jimmy Carrico works diligently on his story about the Falcons.

6th grader Jimmy Carrico works diligently on his story about the Falcons.

Ava Smith

6th grader Jimmy Carrico works diligently on his story about the Falcons.

Ava Smith

Ava Smith

6th grader Jimmy Carrico works diligently on his story about the Falcons.

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Students sit quietly at their desks, their faces illuminated with the blue light from their laptops. They are hard at work, concentrating on writing their monthly stories. Although middle schoolers, they are training to be reporters in Inman Middle School’s journalism club.

A journalism program existed at Inman in the past. But two years ago, Inman parent and professional journalist Cathy Huyghe requested its renewal. She writes about the wine industry for Forbes magazine. When her twin boys moved to Inman in 7th grade, she volunteered to restart the program.

“I wanted to be able to communicate to [the students] the power of writing and the power of expressing and articulating themselves and the ability to know how to write and to expand what is possible … and be the voice of the school community,” Huyghe said.

English teacher David Peterson is the club’s sponsor.

“I’ve learned that you constantly have to be doing something different,” Peterson said. “When I first started, I didn’t really know where we were headed. But after last year, I have more vision.”

He has been able to do just that. In the club’s first year, there were only eight students. This year, there are about 20 students, including more 8th graders than ever, who will feed into Grady next school year.

“I just have a passion for writing,” said seventh-grader Claire Shields. “I always have had one.”

Sixth-grader Todun Famurewa is the cartoon artist for the club’s website. She chooses her topics for the cartoons based on the season of the year. For the October update, she is drawing a Halloween cartoon. Famurewa joined the club because her dad inspired her.

“I was interviewed by my dad for a news report he was doing,” Famurewa said. “And I was like, ‘Woah, that’s so cool!’”

During her time with the Journalism Club, Huyghe brought her journalist expertise to the table by teaching the kids the structure of a publication. Huyghe also brought in guest speakers such as Ernie Suggs from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We transferred that way of looking at a newspaper, a kind of old school newspaper, into what threat looks like from a digital perspective,” Huyghe said.

The club has evolved since its inception. When founded, there was only a journal with entries from all of the student writers.

“I wouldn’t say it was our best work,” Peterson said. “But we were just starting out.”

However, last year, the club developed its own publication: a monthly updated website. At that point, students ran it almost independently.

“Now they [the students] create the Google site, come up with what is going to be posted, and update it on a monthly basis,” Peterson said.

Seventh-grader Emmet McNulty is the editor of the website. The other writers send him their work, and he integrates their stories into the website.

“What I like about it is that I get complete control over the website,” McNulty said. “This is a project that is going to take a long time.”

Peterson is focusing on helping kids find their “beat” or specific area of interest to write about.

Sixth-grader Virginia Woodcock loves all things sports and likes Journalism Club because she is free to write about what she loves.

“It’s fun because you can really choose anything to write about,” Woodcock said.

Students cover a range of topics, from sports to space. The club has given members a platform to write about their interests.

“[This month] we are either writing about global warming or Georgia politics. We haven’t decided yet,” Kyle said.

Peterson hopes Journalism Club members take something meaningful from the experience when they move on to Grady.

“I want all the kids to come out of it with a love for writing, a love for sharing, a love for communicating their own ideas, but also the ideas of others,” Peterson said.

Huyghe’s sons, Leo and Ethan, graduated from Inman and are now freshmen at Grady. Even though she is no longer involved in the club, Huyghe hopes to see enthusiasm for journalism continue.

“I would love for students to continue to see how journalism can be a means of expression for themselves and how they can take what they are doing anyway … and take that to a different level in terms of journalism,” Huyghe said. “That is a hope that I would love to see ingrained in the students, both at Inman and at Grady.”

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