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By Andi Bourne

Introducing the Junior Journal


When The Lodges on Seeley Lake owners Kerry and Brian Bertsch first approached Nathan and me about the possibility of students writing for the paper we were reluctant. However, after establishing a system for students to submit their writing and finding volunteers willing to work with students to help polish their work, we were able to come up with a pilot program. The new program is called the Junior Journal and we are excited to launch it this November.

The purpose of the Junior Journal is to offer students of the Blackfoot, Clearwater and Swan Valleys the opportunity to write about meaningful and relevant issues, events and/or conditions that affect them and have a local focus. Students age 9-18 years old (fourth grade through senior in high school), who attend school or are home schooled in the area, are invited to submit writings for print to the Junior Journal email

Writings can range from creative writing to poetry to articles about events in the various communities or editorials. The requirements for the writing are posted on our website under Junior Journal.

Once a student submits his/her writing, a writing coach will be assigned. The writing coach will contact the student after reviewing his/her work and help the student polish the writing for print.

We have a wonderful group of community members who are former teachers, professors and writers that will work with the students. They are not associated directly with the schools but are volunteers who care deeply about our students' success and the opportunity to grow as writers. Communication with the coach will be via email. If coaches wish, they can meet with the student at the schools.

Once a coach and student are happy with the revisions they will submit the article for print. Students can look for their work in print in the following weeks.

While the Junior Journal is written by and for students, Kerry and I are excited to open this avenue of public expression to young minds. We encourage our readers to interact with the students, encouraging them in their writing and/or challenging their ideas in a letter to the editor.

These students are our future. This is a great opportunity for them to grow as writers. It gives them a voice in our community and allows them to share what the world looks like from their perspective. Look for the Junior Journal next week.


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