Phengsitthy engages students through hands-on-learning


Owen Marshall

Senior Nyah Phengsitthy leads the first middle school journalism workshop. Those who attend the workshop from Thomas Harrison and Skyline Middle School have the opportunity to learn about the different strands of journalism at the high school level.

This year there is a significantly larger, rowdier group of students participating in the middle school journalism workshop compared to years before. This can be hard on the teachers of the workshop, seeing as how they have to manage the kids while keeping them interested in learning. However, these teachers in particular are a little different from the ones you usually see.

The teachers of the middle school workshop are actually high schoolers themselves. Managing the large amount of students that are in the workshop can be difficult, so the high schoolers have to make the content of the workshop as engaging as possible. They take a hands-on approach to the situation. The coordinator of the sessions is senior Nyah Phengsitthy, helped mainly by seniors Owen Marshall and Madison Varner, sophomores Caleb Goss, Sophie Sallah and Simon Beach and freshman Rachel Phengsitthy.

“The only way I can truly get their attention and engage with them is if I make everything hands on,” Phengsitthy said. “I don’t want them to come to the high school after school and just sit down and do a powerpoint.”

The workshop starts off with a fun icebreaker at the beginning of each meeting so that the high schoolers can get to know the middle schoolers, and the middle schoolers can get to know each other. Then, they go to learn the techniques involved with good journalism. After a quick briefing on how everything works, the middle schoolers will go out through the high school and actively create content. They do social media, take pictures, interview people and learn other skills related to student journalism.

“Some of [the students] see some parts of journalism [as] boring, and some parts are interesting, so [we] just try to make the sessions fun [with] the icebreakers or what we’re going to do that day,” Phengsitthy said.

Phengsitthy was chosen as coordinator of the workshop because of her extroverted personality and ability to communicate with youth. She teaches most workshops with the other seniors in Newsstreak, and interacts with the middle schoolers, giving them tips and help with anything they might need.

“I think [Valerie] Kibler noticed how I did a great job with communicating with other people so she saw potential in me teaching younger students, just the basic skills of journalism,” Phengsitthy said.

The teachers of the middle school workshop work hard to bring fun, engaging and educational activities to the middle schoolers each week. Having high schoolers take time out of their busy schedules to stay and educate the youth shows how dedicated these students are to continuing the legacy of a smooth running, award winning Newsstreak staff.

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