Journalism Cherubs aren’t real angels, but they have wingsAug 8th, 2009 | By joegrimm | Category: HS Resources, News
By JOE GRIMM
It never fails.
Every time I magnanimously think I am doing something for someone else, they do something for me.
This summer, I spent five weeks with 82 journalism “Cherubs” at Northwestern University’s National High School Institute. I did not know what I was getting into, other than teaching some really great kids and working with what I figured must be a great staff.
What I was not prepared for was endless, long days, a return to dormitory living and all the drama — imagined and real — that 16-year-olds have to deal with these days.
There was so much to do and it started so fast that it never occurred to me to ask myself what was I trying to do. I was there to teach, but I learned that 16-year-olds can be pretty sophisticated and open-minded — or as silly and resistant as people my age. For the most part, though, they are fearless about trying new things. That is one bifg thing they taught me. Have no fear.
I learned once again that teachers don’t pour anything into young minds, they release what is already there. And I learned that teachers always learn the most.
We told the students that this would be the best summer of their lives. They turned things around there, too, and made it one of the best summers of my life.
The biggest lesson of all: There is generation coming up that is as committed to journalism, truth and service to community as any — and this generation rapidly learns the tools it needs to communicate media. Never built a Web site before? Not a problem. Never used a video camera before? Let me at one. Never did anything in Flash? Give me a couple days.
I was amazed when, with some very good teachers, the Cherubs learned sophisticated production tools in just a couple of (very long) days. If they can do it, why not the rest of us. Turn around. The leaders are coming up fast.
The videos embedded in this page are theirs. Meet the Cherubs and see more of their work here.
Oh, and if you know someone who is going into their senior year of high school who geeks out on journalism, shoot me an e-mail.