|Photo from Kyra's dad|
Kyra O’Connor, 13, Davis Middle School student, was named a Scholastic News Kid Reporter. She was chosen from more than 200 applicants who submitted original news reports about their communities.
The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps is a group of 32 young reporters, ages 10–14, from 20 states across the United States, and in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Thailand
O’Connor is excited about having the opportunity to be read by a large audience and making an impact on the world.
“I love knowing that my words could be used by someone. They could take my words as inspiration, relate to it and learn from it. I could be read by someone famous and they could take my words to heart,” she said.
O’Connor’s mom found out about the opportunity with Scholastic through an e-mail.
“I started the application in July and I worked on it right up until the day it was due. I had my teachers and parents read over my application,” O’Connor said.
Stephanie DeStephen, O’Connor’s Language Arts teacher at Davis, said that O’ Connor approached her bursting with excitement for the opportunity to “try out” for such an opportunity and asked if she would look at her article and give her some feedback.
“Of course, I said yes! It is a teacher’s dream to see such intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm in a student. It shows she was ready to venture outside the bounds of the classroom walls and share her writing with the world. I’m very proud of her!” DeStephen said in an e-mail.
When O’ Connor saw the opportunity with Scholastic, she knew, “this would be a great experience to interact with a big publishing house,” O’Connor said.
“They have published so many books that have impacted and shaped me,” she said.
The application asked students to write an article about an issue in their community and propose two future article ideas.
“The article had to be under 400 words and I found it challenging to write so short but it tested my ability to make every word be meaningful,” O’Connor said. “My two article ideas were about Dublin’s growing population which could lead to redistricting and how people were upset that a Wal-Mart could be coming to Dublin.”
For her first assignment, O’Connor had the option to write about one of her article ideas from her application or write about a person in her community who is spreading holiday cheer.
“I realized the redistricting article was a lot harder than I thought it would be and people seemed to have calmed down about the Wal-Mart. So now I am writing about a librarian in the Columbus City Schools who is in leading a book drive,” she said.
the Scholastic Kid Reporters have covered "news for kids, by kids" for more than fourteen years
Their stories appear online at the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website and in issues of Scholastic classroom magazines, which reaches more than 25 million students in classrooms nationwide.
“The Scholastic News Kid Reporters’ stories are a terrific way to engage students with news reported by kids their own age. They’re an invaluable complement to the articles in Scholastic News magazines and on Scholastic News online, which put contemporary news in a context that’s relevant and age-appropriate for young readers,” said Suzanne McCabe, Editor of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.
DeStephen said O’Connor is an avid reader and passionate writer.
“I knew her passion for writing from the first journal entry we completed in class. We always snap for students in my class when he or she shares writing, and the class was so blown away by the exquisite details and figurative language in her writing that they started snapping before she was even done sharing,” she said.
Janet DiSilvestro, Gifted Instruction Specialist at Olde Sawmill Elementary, was one of Kyra’s teachers. She said that she encouraged Kyra to write, was a cheerleader when she needed it, and a reviewer of work she did inside and outside of class.
“Kyra is an avid writer and self driven and motivated. She is a very creative thinker and can write with both the big picture idea and include the most detailed of description to paint the picture in the readers head,” she said in an e-mail.
Kyra is a member of the Girl Scouts of America and Power of the Pen. She plays lacrosse, basketball and runs cross-country. Kyra plays several musical instruments, including the viola and Japanese drums (Taiko).
In the past, Scholastic Kid Reporters have interviewed politicians, entertainers, authors, sports stars—and even President Barack Obama, Brian Williams and Soledad O’Brien.
I liked writing this article because it was a positive upbeat article about a very promising young woman who was selected for an amazing opportunity.
I interviewed her over the phone on my way back from New Jersey (on Black Friday). I was so impressed by how mature Kyra sounded and I think she will go very far in life. Her teachers had such positive things to say about her.