The journalism class at Sequoya High School is breaking the news to their peers in a monthly digest that has no borders. The editorial team takes on topics from international affairs, medical research, domestic politics, pop culture, and more. Sequoya High School is an Eastern Suffolk BOCES school that provides services and support to high school students with special needs.
When the class started in the fall, each student was given the opportunity to follow the subjects they’re passionate about. For one student, Sabrina, that means staying current with international news. She has written about students in Hong Kong fighting for equality, and how Brexit is impacting the United States. Most recently, she reported on how low birthrates in South Korea are causing schools to go empty, prompting them to begin enrolling illiterate grandmothers from the community into elementary school programs.
“I think the story about Korean grandmothers was my favorite,” Sabrina said. “I always knew that birth rates were low in South Korea, but looking deeper, and seeing how schools are benefitting the community in creative ways was really interesting to learn about.”
The class works together to create each lineup of stories. They present their writing to each other and collaborate to create the magazine each month. The process teaches them not only how to write the news, but how to cooperate to create a publication that has a regular deadline.
The journalism class is in its second year and is led by Candice Palma, teacher of Social Studies at Sequoya High School.
“What’s amazing about this class is seeing what the students are capable of when they’re given time to explore their interests,” Candice said. “Every month, they’re writing in-depth research papers about topics they’re passionate about, and they’re not just writing and regurgitating information for the sake of writing a paper. They have to take that information and interpret it so they can write it for their peers. They’re able to really learn and retain that information. They also learn how to take feedback from an editor, which helps make their writing better.”
Joe, foreground, Longwood CSD, and Nick, background, Longwood CSD, work on their latest articles for the Sequoya News Magazine. Joe works on the science desk, while Nick focuses on pop culture.
Dominique, left, CenterMorichesUFSD, and Sabrina, right, ComsewogueUFSD, look at a story that is being reviewed on the smartboard during class.
Sabrina, left, ComsewogueUFSD, and Lauren, right, Sachem CSD, work together to build a survey that will be going into the latest issue of the Sequoya News Magazine.