Do you want to know what’s going on in each of the themed hallways at the Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade Center?
How are school sports teams doing? What events are coming up at school? What’s for lunch this week?
What’s going in the community?
To get the latest scoop, look no further than the Owl Gazette, a weekly publication put together by the school’s newspaper club.
Using a Google Docs template created by club adviser Mindy Clay, the 10 members gather information to share with the school.
Each month, one issue is printed and distributed, while the other three are placed on the school’s website for students, staff and the public to see.
By the end of the school year, the club plans to have released 30 issues of the Owl Gazette.
“All of our feedback has been positive,” Clay said. “The students like to read what their peers have written. The staff has been positive in their response and are always cooperative in working with the students.”
During the 2015-16 school year, a few boys told Clay they were interested in having a school newspaper. That started during the second semester.
“We had a couple of kids from each of the hallways and mainly wrote about what was going on at school,” she said.
The club picked back up at the beginning of this school year with a few kids but has since expanded to
10 members.
To join the club, which meets from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. every Monday, students have to fill out an application and explain why they are interested in being a part of the staff.
“I mainly do this to see writing ability so we can work from where they are,” Clay said. “I will always take more kids. I want to help them become better writers and see them be proud of what they can accomplish.”
The club members focus on school news and community events.
“We have done interviews of staff members and tried to report special things going on in each hallway,” Clay said. “We had a young man interested in community sports teams, so he has written about these contests. We want to promote what is going on at the school, so we have a column of upcoming events for the clubs and intercurricular classes.”
The staff also incorporates some special features, including a question-and-answer story with a teacher, Emoji of the Week, Food of the Week, Animal of the Week and Guess that Pokémon.
“I give them many ideas, and they choose what they would like to do,” Clay said. “I encourage them to check with their teachers for story ideas, as well. They like to do interviews. They also like to create Pictures of the Week type of items. I let them be creative, but they must also write an article.”
Clay said they try to keep the print issues to one page with content on the front and back, but the online issues can be expanded in length.
She said she has seen improvements in the students’ work and skills.
“We have talked about using correct spelling and grammar,” she said. “We have talked about making sure to include the five Ws and H (who, what, when, where, why and how) in articles if you can. They are gaining confidence in approaching adults to ask for information. Their writing has improved in quality.”
Club member Enrique Morales said he chose to get involved so he could write about what is going on in the school and each of its hallways and in the community.
“What I like about being in this club is I get to know more about each hallway and what they are doing,” he said.
So far, gathering the news has gone well, Enrique said.
“They think it is good for us to interact with people from other hallways and tell the school what’s going on in each hallway,” he said of feedback from students and staff members.
For the remainder of the school year, Enrique said he plans to share new things going on in the Super Stars hallway and hopes to write about sports teams.
Clay said she hopes being a part of the club encourages the students to keep working on their writing and maybe join a newspaper staff later on in their school years.
“I want them to be proud of their achievement,” she said. “I want them to be better writers and feel more confident in their abilities.”

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.