Six weeks ago, I said goodbye to working part time at a ho-hum job and hello to writing for a daily newspaper. And in that time, I’ve written dozens of stories–some straight, hard news and some fun, descriptive features.
Here’s a sampling of my favorites:
- “Few local schools hit targets”: Only two school districts in the Sauk Valley met federal No Child Left Behind standards, even though benchmarks were frozen at last year’s level, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. And more than 40 schools, including every high school in the area, failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward those goals.
- “Shaking on top of the world”: Brayden Porter shimmied atop the Cascade mountains in the Pacific Northwest and twisted in the Andes in South America, mimicking the action of earthquakes along Ring of Fire, the most seismically active area on Earth. Porter isn’t a jet-setter; he is a fourth-grader at Washington Elementary. He wasn’t really high atop a mountain or deep inside a trench; he was standing on a 26-by-35-foot map of the Pacific Ocean on loan to the school from National Geographic.
- “A chance to horse around and learn”: Xavier Buhlman made a new friend. He’s short and stocky. He’s got shaggy, brown hair and big, brown eyes. And he’s really smart. Xavier and Destiny won’t sit next to each other on the bus or chase after each other on the playground, though, because Xavier is a fifth-grader and Destiny is a 17-year-old pony.
- “Lessons learned on way to top”: Driven – adjective; relentlessly compelled the need to accomplish a goal; very hard-working and ambitious. See also: PJ Caposey, principal of Oregon High School. Caposey is just 32 years old, but already he has accomplished more than some educators twice his age. But his rapid rise from unprepared sociology teacher at a rough, South Side Chicago high school to respected principal at a nationally recognized, small-town high school has not been without its trials.
- “Turning in her keys after nearly 50 years”: Velma Quest has dozens of grandchildren. Only a few of them are really hers; the rest are the children she drives to and from school on a big, yellow school bus. Quest has driven a bus for the Amboy School District since 1965. She’s hauled hundreds of students and logged thousands of miles over her nearly 50 years behind the wheel. But she’s ready to turn in her keys – in 2 weeks, just 2 days before her 80th birthday.
- “An experiment in education”: In this classroom, there are no desks, no chalkboards, no textbooks. In this classroom – a long, narrow room with brick walls and high, cathedral-style ceilings – there are folding tables pushed into the corner, drawings taped to the wall and measuring tapes, wrenches and bolts strewn about the floor. In this classroom, students are conducting scientific research and experiments and trying, often failing, and trying again.
Only the most recent seven days of stories are available on our website for free; older stories incur a small charge to retrieve them from our archive. (I have mixed feelings about newspaper website pay walls, but I will save that opus for another time.)
To access the older articles, e-mail me at kaylabee18 [at] gmail [dot] come or kheimerman [at] saukvalley [dot] com, and I will give you a username and password.