Students’ creativity adds color to paper

15 years ago
Newspapers in Education showcases talent
By Kathy McCarty 
Staff Writer

    Students in grade 5 at several area schools, as well as students from Presque Isle Middle School,  joined forces recently with students in Amy White’s business technology/applications class, putting their artistic abilities with pens and cameras to use to create works of art for the latest layout of Newspapers in Education.

    Taking part at the fifth-grade level were students from Mapleton Elementary School and Zippel Elementary School, in SAD 1; Easton Elementary School; Fort Street Elementary School, Mars Hill; Washburn Elementary School; Ashland Elementary School; and Cornerstone Christian Academy. White’s students attend class at the Presque Isle Regional Career and Technology Center.
    This marks the seventh year the Star-Herald has worked with area fifth-graders to create advertisements for Newspapers in Education, also known as NIE. Participants are ‘hired’ by the newspaper, serving as graphic designers for this special project. Given a blank piece of paper and a brief description of a business, youngsters are left to use their imagination to create ads for a variety of businesses, including florists, car dealerships, grocers, insurance agencies and restaurants. As payment for their efforts, the fifth-graders are then treated to a party, with pizza being the food of choice.
    In addition to the ads and photos, essays and poems appear in this year’s issue.
    As with last year’s supplement, this year’s edition included the photographic works of older students from White’s class.
    “The photography module of the class is served as a fine-art requirement for Presque Isle Isle School students. Students finish the course with an electronic portfolio focusing on all of their best work. Each assignment given is included in this portfolio,” said White.
    As business technology instructor, White said she’s seen a lot of talent come forth from her students, as they explore with their cameras – with visions of future careers already in place. Students can use their own equipment or school-issued.
    “The class runs the whole year. Students do it as both a hobby and as a stepping-off point for someday turning professional photographer. I have one student that is working taking natural light portraits and one student that just started work for Breezy Hill Web Design,” said White.
    Students work with specific guidelines for most of their assignments. Some have even gone on to compete, and win, in contests related to this field of study.
    “We focus a lot on composition – rule of thirds, framing, depth of field, leading lines, etc. Students also concentrate on colors, lighting and placement of their subject in their work,” explained White.
    White said this course has been offered for several years from the business technology curriculum.
    “Previous to this, it was a portion of the graphic arts program,” she said.
    The class is made up of students from various high schools in the region.
    “Students who attend Presque Isle, Caribou, Washburn, Easton, Mars Hill, Fort Fairfield and Ashland are eligible to participate,” said White.
    White’s students were asked to submit what they deemed their best work for publication in this year’s issue of the Star-Herald featuring the NIE supplement. White said taking part in the NIE project was simple, since the students already had the work completed when approached to participate.
    “They didn’t have to do anything extra. Their photos were already taken, so all that had to be done was putting them on disk and submitting them for publication,” said White. “It was easy and gives the kids something to add to their portfolios.”
    Newspaper staff planned pizza parties for the students, after publication, at the participating elementary schools for the fifth-graders who took part in designing ads for this year’s NIE edition.
    Plans are already under way for next year’s issue.