The Cub Courier’s cub reporter
When the St. John’s Lutheran School outside Lanesville started its school paper last year, the force behind it, and the primary writer, was a fourth grader, Sara Hausz, now 11. And she was prolific, writing news, sports, features and even some poetry.
This year, there’s much more student interest in the Cub Courier, and several kids contribute. Katie Ohlrich, 13, a seventh grader, is the editor. Sarah Bohannon, 13, an eighth grader, is assistant editor, but Hausz, now a fifth grader, is still the most prodigious writer on the eight-person staff, turning out polished copy at an amazing pace.
One of her stories was published a couple of weeks ago in this newspaper about the Science Olympiad, at which St. John’s had the only entries from Harrison County schools.
‘If Sara Hausz wasn’t on this paper, nothing would get done,’ said Bohannon, who will be a high school freshman next year. St. John’s student advisor and former teacher Kathy Sadler, the newspaper’s volunteer advisor, is happily expecting Hausz to keep the paper humming for the next few years as editor.
St. John’s has 94 students from kindergarten through the eighth grade, or 137 counting preschoolers.
One hundred Cub Couriers are printed via computer four times a year.
The school picks up the production costs, but last year the staff raised $100 by printing ‘Love Line’ Valentines or personal messages printed for $1 each.
The third edition of the Cub Courier will come out before Easter, so, last month, the staff met in the cafeteria, amid the aroma of fresh bread, to consider what the big stories might be in the last two issues. The school had four new students, so that could be a story, Ohlrich said. An editorial on change would probably be good for the graduation issue, Ohlrich added.
The subject of forgiveness for the Easter issue sparked a lively, in-depth discussion among the three girls who clearly like to discuss ideas and enjoy intellectual stimulation. (Their first editorial, on admiration, was by Bohannon, and the second, by Bohannon and Hausz, was on courage. Ohlrich asked, rhetorically, ‘What is forgiveness?’ ‘How or when should forgiveness be given, or how Christ died on the cross for us,’ tossed out Bohannan. ‘How specific should we be?’ she wondered aloud.
‘Maybe you could write about a personal experience,’ Sadler suggested. ‘What is another word for forgiveness?’ she asked. ‘What does forgiveness mean to you?’ said Hausz, following up on the personal approach to the subject.
The assignment was given to Hausz. It would go on page two. The editors knew Hausz could handle the job and they could count on her to do it well. And on time, too.
The editorial planning meeting turned to other subjects: What were they going to do about sports on the back page, the crossword puzzle (about Easter symbols) on the third page, the Young Authors awards, and the Science Olympiad and Destintation Imagination (seven teams of problem-solvers), both popular academic events that St. John’s students excel in.
The ‘Guess Who’ puzzle that didn’t make it into the last paper could be filler for the next issue. (Winners who guess who is being described at the school in just a few sentences get candy bars.)
The last issue of the year will contain another editorial by Bohannon, this time on the changes brought about by graduation. Hausz will write an editorial on the changes that don’t take place among students still at the school as summer approaches.
The staff wondered how they could get Michael the school mascot into the paper. ‘What about the Student Council?’ asked Hausz’s mother, Vicki Hausz, who, as parent advisor, attends the newspaper staff meetings at Sadler’s request and encourages her daughter’s writing. (Sara Hausz’s father is Michael Hausz, of Lanesville.)
Sara Hausz started getting interested in writing in the third grade. ‘I really love reading, and that just sparked my interest,’ she said, ‘All the great stories.’
She likes to read newspapers and mysteries. Her favorite TV shows are ‘CSI,’ ‘CSI Miami,’ and ‘E.R.’
Last year she went to her teacher, Brian Oberdeick, and asked if she could start a school newspaper. ‘I just wanted to start one,’ she said. ‘I thought that would be cool.’
Several kids were also interested, but, as Sadler noted, ‘There’s a difference between interest and follow-through.’
Hausz followed through.
Hausz wrote and seventh grader Caitlin Sadler, now 14 (guess who her mom is), was the editor.
People began to take notice of Hausz’s reporting talent when she covered two Lanesville school board meetings at which the balanced school calendar issue was debated. She borrowed her dad’s tape recorder and took notes. Hausz thought the meetings were ‘pretty boring’ but she wrote a very good story about the balanced calendar, her advisor said.
Hausz has big career plans. She wants to be a TV reporter, perhaps a war correspondent, and cover all the big stories.
‘If you want to be a foreign correspondent, your mother will have no fingernails left,’ Sadler said.
‘Well, who’s gonna get the news if nobody’s out there?’ Hausz asked.