By Kris Leonhardt
PULASKI – The second edition of the Pulaski News announced the success of the new student-run publication, stating that “there was no discouragement in proceeding with the idea of sharing a school and community newspaper to share news and views and provide a resource advertising and to give students the opportunity for practical journalism.”
And that’s exactly what the Pulaski Community School District has been doing for 80 years.
“Pulaski News is one of the many programs that make Pulaski special,” said Amy Tubbs, Pulaski Journalism Instructor. “Real writing gives students the opportunity to share their work with a wider audience. By surveying people in the community, they become more aware of what is happening around them. In addition to the obvious writing skills, students learn how to make phone calls and converse with someone they don’t know. For some students, it is a real challenge at first to not just talk to each other via text or email.”
The publication not only provides students with real-world experiences, but also fills a void for the community they serve.
“Pulaski News has been well supported by the Pulaski Community School District. Pulaski is close to major towns with newspapers, but we report on local stories and people that may not be covered in those newspapers,” Tubbs added.
This may be the reason for the newspaper’s longevity and its notoriety as the longstanding student newspaper in the state while other high school publications have fallen away.
However, another key to its success may be the fact that its production will be integrated into the school’s curriculum.
“We have courses in Pulaski News. We have Pulaski News 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, and then a lot of kids take it as a standalone study so they can keep writing even if it doesn’t fit their schedule,” said Pulaski Communications Coordinator/Pulaski News Editor. Boss Bob Van Enkenvoort, who also designs the biweekly newspaper.
The publication also had a ripple effect through generations of community students.
“I originally started because my dad was with Pulaski News and he recommended it to me because he really, really enjoyed the class. He thought I was going to have a good time,” said junior Emily Ostrowski, whose father Seth Ostrowski took the course in 1997-98.
First-year student Ahnika Adamski, who wants to be a writer, is also following in her father’s footsteps.
“My dad took the class and he really liked it,” Adamski said of her dad, Paul, who graduated in 1999. I didn’t figure out how to write about wrestling, and my dad was in wrestling. She said, ‘Can you write that for me?’ He said yes.’ He wrote it and the teacher first said, ‘Oh, you can write’, and then he came into the class as a second grader. He was the first to do that.”
But life lessons are also gathered in this long-time staple of the community.
“They also learn to meet deadlines,” Tubbs said. “It’s not possible to print the newspaper with a blank page because they didn’t finish a story. I love watching them grow as they gain more confidence in social skills and writing skills. They take pride in their work and know they are part of an important tradition.”