Newsela in Your Community: Contest Winners

Thank you to all teachers and students who participated in the Newsela in Your Community Contest. We were impressed by the great connections students made between Newsela articles and their communities, and we’re pleased to share these excerpts from the first round of winning class entries:

Liz Kobel (Librarian and Newsela Teacher Captain) and James Geraci, New York, 9th Grade English Teacher

"Music City meets the Big Apple; city kids learn to write country songs"

Gloria: New York is known to be a place to visit to accomplish dreams and along with this comes a variety of different people . . . New York is not known for a love of country music but despite this, when country music makes an appearance we embrace it and I find this to be a very important unique aspect of my state.

"En pointe and on top of the world: Ballerina, film star breaks color barrier"

Hapreet: Misty Copeland represents our community in the way we don't let the status quo define us and the way we are willing to face obstacles on our path to success, if it means a better future for us or the generations to come. Brentwood is multicultural community where we aren't afraid to step up to anything and make our voices be heard.

Susan Peers, California, 6th Grade English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology Teacher

"Calif. town overrun by bears descending dry mountain seeking food"

Yomn: Both humans and bears are running out of water therefore running out of food, so that’s why we should share California’s amount of water supply...These creatures deserve just as much of a fighting chance against this drought as we do. We are from California for goodness sake the bears represent us, we need to help them as much as we can, not resort to shooting them. If this continues to happen our California state symbol will have no meaning to us.

"For students in trouble, L.A. schools try counseling before punishment"

Ella: Punishing students doesn't really change the kids...they would just go back to what they were doing before. Using restorative justice allows them to have a chance to redirect their way of thought. This article relates to my school community because it shows that we can change the consequences of violence.

“Ending ‘Shamu’ stunts isn’t enough to protect whales, activists say”

Josh: In the article, it explains that there have been efforts to make the tanks for the whales more like the natural habitat of the whales...At school, they may give us math problems that represent a real-word scenario in order to prepare for what we need to know after we become adults and are out in the real world.

Saira Hirji, California, 12th Grade CA High School Exit Exam Prep Teacher

"Shootings of Latinos by police get less attention"

Student: Watsonville is not a very safe place, we hear too much killing for too many people races. But, when we talk about latinos nothing is different. They treated them like bad people they judge them without information...Most of the time the cops take advantage because, they know that most of the latinos are here by a illegal way.

Student: Not in my city but cities around have this type of problems with the officers.  Example, in Salinas CA, a lot of murders are done that most are latinos getting shot by cops...There's definitely no justice at all anymore.

Student: In each news about the shootings of Latinos are reasons crime. The problem is that the racism that it affects the thinking of each police is the Latinos are criminals and dangerous to be armed. In my state, in some citys, and special the neighboring city of the me there have been deaths of Latinos because of the police.

Tammy Hudgens, Louisiana, 8th Grade Earth Science

"Study theorizes hurricanes unlike anything Earth has ever seen"

Student: Knowing when and where hurricanes are headed has always been a part of our lives. For example, in 2005 we evacuated Houston because Hurricane Rita was headed our way and we were still scared from the devastation Katrina brought to Louisiana. The last asteroid that struck the Earth was in 1908 in the Siberian forest; therefore, I don't believe my family or community should be worried about a Hypercane anytime soon.

Student: I had an experience as a two year old boy with an off-the-charts hurricane known as Hurricane Katrina...This caused me, my mom, and my one year old little brothers to move onto the Air Force base in Trenton, New Jersey with nothing but the clothes on our back and hope that everything would be okay...Reading this article has made me very thankful that there wasn't any worse hurricanes like when this article states in paragraph one, "However, it wasn't the worst storm that could have possibly hit New Orleans, Louisiana."

Kim Barnes, Kentucky, 7th and 8th Grade English Teacher

"Child workers are getting sick while harvesting tobacco on U.S. farms"

Brianna: My own father was a child laborer, and dislikes even mentioning his experience  . . . Even though I realize that [Senator Hornback] is a businessman, I think it is totally unacceptable for him to think that there is nothing wrong with hard manual work for children.

Emiley: My parents and grandparents grew up on tobacco farms . . . it caught my attention when I saw that Sen. Paul Hornback said, "People get pretty extreme about trying to protect everybody from everything. It's hard manual labor, but there's nothing wrong with hard manual labor." In my eyes if you are representing Kentucky, you should look out for all people and children.

" 'Polar Vortex' brings below-zero temperatures to much of the U.S."

Rachel: Throughout the article, " 'Polar Vortex' brings below-zero temperatures to much of the U.S.", it dawned on me that many of these situations have occurred with my community as well . . . all of us are connected some way or another, even if it's through snow storms and freezing temperatures. 

Tyra Ellis, North Carolina, 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

“One city takes a closer look at how police treat young African-Americans”

Sade: A lot of people that I know don't like the police because of so many things that happened to people and who they were associated with. I have also heard many stories about how people have felt threatened while being around the police or have been bothered by them.

Sarah: In my community the majority of the people that go to jail are African American males. Some of them did what they were accused of, but some of them were falsely accused because of their race.

K’Shawn: This article affects me because most of my family are black/African-American. Students in my school have expressed how they felt about racism. They feel as if it is very wrong.

Michael Avery, Warsaw, 5th Grade Teacher

"Paris is target of deadly attacks that were planned across the city"

Marc: When I was younger I walked in those streets and have family in the area, my sister was studying there and thought about staying in the exact place of the attacks, thankfully she didn't . . . Nobody should live in fear.

Leonie: I was born from outside of Paris and lived close. I’m going to be talking about the paris attack. This is a very important matter to me because I have family and friends there . . . Something needs to be done so everything can go back to normal and we can be living our normal lives.

"Italian farmers watch hopelessly as olive trees die from disease"

Emanuele: I am from Italy and every day my mom makes me pasta like La Bolognese and we use oil for seasoning . . . So I hope that Donato Boscia can discover the cure for the disease that’s killing the olive trees. I walked through those trees and I really liked the smell of olives and it was special how big they are. 

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