A Colorado Springs middle school student was recently selected for an international program that gives aspiring young reporters on-the-job training before they even reach high school.
Layla Laramie, 7 years olde-graduate to Challenger Middle School, is one of 36 young people aged 10 to 14 who were selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants to participate in the Scholastic Kids Press 2021-2022 program. Laramie, 12, will interview Colorado Springs residents on a variety of topics, from entertainment to sports to politics. His work and that of his fellow Kid Reporters will be featured in future issues of Scholastic magazine.
The program is dedicated to “helping children share their perspectives and learn to write stories that also affect their peers and adults,” said Suzanne McCabe, editor of Scholastic Kids Press.
Each year, the editors of Scholastic magazine review hundreds of nominations and choose a few based on their writing ability, interview skills and attention to detail, McCabe said. Applicants must submit a sample news article, an essay explaining why they want to join the program, and two article ideas.
“It’s really exciting to see the ideas they come up with and the issues they face, from climate change to racism to ending wars,” McCabe said. “They have such an interesting view of the world and their place in it.”
Laramie, who cross-country in addition to playing softball, soccer and basketball, said she wanted to report on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected classrooms, activities and sports.
“I really like to let my community know what’s going on,” she said.
Over the program’s 20-year history, Kid Reporters interviewed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “Hamilton” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, environmentalist Jane Goodall, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and a crowd. other notable personalities.
Laramie is particularly interested in profiling influential women. She has featured Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Malala Yousafzai in previous school projects, and she said her dream interview would be Vice President Kamala Harris.
“I would like to know why she wanted (to be vice president), what inspired her and what she hopes to inspire in future generations,” she said.
Many former Kid Reporters have pursued careers in print and broadcast media, McCabe said.
“We had children who grew up to be reporters, producers or art directors,” she said. “The program is looking for kids who are interested in journalism, and many of our Kid Reporters maintain that interest years later.”
But Laramie appears to be on a different career path, at least for now. She said she hopes to become a cardiac surgeon.
“We made a field trip in 5e grade, and we have to dissect a sheep’s heart. I’ve been interested in (heart surgery) since then, ”Laramie said. “But I would still like to write as a hobby. “
At the end of the program, students who still belong to the age group and wish to do another year are encouraged to reapply. Laramie said she would consider applying for a second year.
“We’re excited to see what Layla brings to us,” said McCabe. “I think she’s going to be great.”