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Students aid school newspaper

Nora Kenney | Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Notre Dame student volunteers are giving elementary students at St. Adalbert’s Catholic school the chance to collaborate with their classmates on a school newspaper.

The project was the idea of Juliet Joly, a senior Psychology major and Catholic Social Tradition minor. 

Joly said her older sister, Joanna, who went to Brown University, inspired her.

“I thought it was a really good idea,” Joly said. She contacted Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives — a program in Brownson Hall that sponsors the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) — and the Institute responded positively.

From there, Joly said she contacted the principal of St. Adalbert’s, as well as the school’s after-school care facilitator, who were both just as excited about the idea.

Joly said both she and Joanna were passionate about helping under-resourced Catholic schools, specifically. Their younger sister, Janine, a sophomore at Notre Dame, also volunteers with the program.

St. Adalbert’s is one of the ACE program’s Magnificat schools, which has a large Spanish-speaking community.

Volunteering to help the students at St. Adalbert’s produce their school newspaper includes visiting the school once a week.  The group of student volunteers usually piles into vans from the Center for Social Concerns at 3 p.m. on Fridays so they are there just as the St. Adalbert students are finishing their classes, Joly said.

Joly said the kids are “very excited about the school newspaper. It’s very clear that after school time they are looking for something constructive to do because they are full of a lot of energy. It’s a good chance for them to channel that.”

Further, the newspaper allows the students to express themselves in their own unique ways, Joly said. 

“We have kids who like poetry, fiction, polls, sports — there are all sorts of ways for them to carry out the mission of the newspaper,” she said.

Working with the students from St. Adalbert’s is a learning experience as well as a source of humor, especially when the students are able to tap into their full creative potentials, Joly said. 

“One of our third graders, in response to the cold climate of South Bend last year, started a series or short stories about the adventures of ‘Scarfman.’  I’m not sure if Scarfman is meant to be a superhero or a little boy like himself, but either way Scarfman has some very exciting adventures. The same student has turned out numerous mazes, polls, and comics, including a recent comic stop entitled ‘The Dangers of Eating Fruit.’  These kids are hilarious,” Joly said.

Joly said her experiences with this program are conducive to her career plans.  Next year, she hopes to teach in the ACE program.  She said she is inspired by the joy it brings her “to see the faces of the kids when we come in with a new newspaper they finished.”

Joly’s program is looking for volunteers.  To volunteer, contact Joly at julietjoly@gmail.com