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Rocket News

by Sixth Grade Teacher Zack Mouw

Rocket News – Rossman’s student-led newspaper – was founded by several sixth graders from the Class of 2021, but the tradition of serving our school community with articles, comics, and word searches lives on today through the Class of 2023. Each year, joining Rocket News is an honor for our sixth graders, and while there are many roles when it comes to assisting the team – cartoonist, chief editor, copy editor, and writer – the main responsibility falls on the chief editor, who oversees the other members of the team and ensures that each monthly issue is published on time.

Back in September, I met with the Class of 2023 to discuss Rocket News and gauge who might be interested in contributing to the school community in this capacity. I explained the benefits of joining the newspaper team, but I also noted the year-long commitment it would require. Surprisingly, roughly half of sixth grade expressed a desire to join. With such high interest, the sixth-grade teachers thought it would be best to have three chief editors, each supporting a different group of classmates during the assigned month for which they would be responsible. Our chief editors this year are Toni Bamimore, Claire Booth, and Immy Rye, and each was kind enough to answer a few questions about their experience as leaders of our school newspaper. 

If one thing is evident by examining these students’ answers, it’s that serving as Chief Editor of Rocket News is both rewarding and challenging. Per Claire, “the biggest challenge is making sure that we’re on time. Between school work, after school activities, and other day-to-day things, we have to find time to write, and chief editors have to make sure everyone is on track to be finished by the deadline. However, our team is dedicated and always finds time.” 

Toni agrees that some aspects of the position can be tricky. “I have to say, the hardest part of this role by far is managing so many people. My classmates have so many ideas which are awesome. However, we have a tendency to want to express all our thoughts at the same time,” she reveals. 

Although there are challenges with taking on this role, our chief editors recognize how rewarding it is to fulfill their responsibilities for the benefit of the school community. “The best part is the finished product. I love to see everyone’s hard work come together to make an amazing issue that the whole school enjoys,” Claire states. 

Toni echoes Claire’s thoughts on how gratifying the leadership experience can be by acknowledging the impact Rocket News had on her before she became a “senior” at Rossman. “I know when I was younger at Rossman, I absolutely loved reading Rocket News. I would complete all the word searches and read all the articles twice. Knowing that now I’m making someone’s day with my contributions is insane and incredible.”

What the school newspaper means to the lower grades is not lost on Immy. “The younger kids are always so excited whenever the Rocket News team is standing by the doors handing out the papers. It’s a great way for the sixth grade students to have some responsibility, and the younger kids just love getting to see the comics, read the articles, and maybe even see their Rossman big brother or sister handing the newspaper out,” she shares.

Although she is focused on the present and dedicated to providing compelling journalism for the remainder of the year, Immy is also aware that some of the younger students may be inspired to join the tradition of Rocket News when their time comes. For those students, Immy has a message: “Helping on the Rocket News team is definitely one of the best parts of being a sixth grader, and it has many rewarding aspects. If you can’t join the team, or just don't want to, that’s fine, but I definitely recommend giving it a try.”