Cover Stories

Making the News: Central Christian School

Recently, journalism has spent as much time as the subject of the news as it has covering it. Central Christian School understands media discernment is an important skill for students, understanding what’s true and what’s not, especially with the rise of digital media. The private, Christian elementary school in Clayton has a student-run newspaper, the Central Gazette, now in its second year of publication. It’s a hands-on tool to teach collaboration, literacy skills and media practices.

The idea for a student paper was pitched last year by current fifth-grader Lauren Inazu, according to Christan Perona, Central’s director of communications and staff sponsor of Central Gazette. “Lauren had a very well thought-out plan that she could execute,” she says. Inazu’s motivation for founding the paper simply came from her desire to create an outlet for student voices in the community.

Inazu serves as co-editor of the paper along with classmate Gabby Hurd, who was selected this year as one of only 12 reporters in the nation for Time for Kids, a national magazine. Central Gazette meets after school and is open to interested fifth- and sixth-graders. Students designed the paper’s layout and are responsible for coming up with story ideas. A regular issue may include announcements, fashion news, short fiction stories, reviews, interviews with teachers, debate sections and devotionals. And students don’t have to worry about factual inaccuracy. Inazu makes sure every topic is thoroughly researched. “My philosophy is, ‘Get the facts before you create the drama,’” she says.

Perona says the paper is designed to foster collaboration and push the students creatively, building off skills taught in the classroom. “The newspaper staff is engaged with each other, talking, debating and defending their ideas while still being openminded,” she says. The staff also meets to discuss the successes and misfires in each issue, helping them learn how to take constructive criticism and grow. Dana Scheidt, director of curriculum and instruction, sees the Central Gazette as an extremely helpful learning tool that works with the school’s literacy program. “Students learn to communicate in a number of mediums and get real experience building interpersonal skills,” she says. “They learn that writing isn’t only about grammar and convention, but includes voice, strong ideas and intentional organization.” Perona adds that the paper helps students be critical thinkers and problem-solvers—important skills for many areas, including media discernment.

Last year, the paper was staffed by 13 of Inazu’s classmates, and the number of members increased by two this year. The 16 staff members now account for half of the fifth-grade class, according to Perona. Central is excited to see how the Gazette will impact and enrich the school community.

Located in Clayton, Central Christian School serves students from early childhood to sixth grade with its mission to instill a passion for God, a love of truth and a zeal to serve. Its application deadline is Feb. 2, 2018. Pictured on the cover: Central Gazette co-editor Lauren Inazu (center) with two staff writers. For more information, call 314.727.4535 or visit centralschoolstl.org.

Cover design by Allie Bronsky | Cover photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography

Pictured at top: The Central Gazette staff
Photo: Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography

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