Hot off the press

Fifth-grader Kiana Stanbro starts monthly school paper at Youngsville

You might say that journalism is in Kiana Stanbro’s blood.

The 10-year-old Youngsville Elementary School fifth-grader’s great-grandfather Norman Cassatt was one of the many people over the years who’ve printed the Warren Times Observer. Even more than that, Kiana has been writing for quite some time.

“She just finished her fourth book,” Kiana’s mother Amy said. “She’s working on her fifth now.”

Her fourth book is a “twist,” she said, between the My Little Pony universe and cats. She’s read over 600 books in her 10 years, and she loves the Dork Diaries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Big Nate. Kiana said that when she’s not writing or drawing, her two favorite things to do, she’s got her “nose stuck in a book.”

This past November, Kiana decided she really wanted to start a school newspaper. She approached her gifted advisor and the two of them got to work bringing the idea to fruition. Her teacher got a group of student writers to start a school newspaper, and together they came up with the YEMS News, which is published monthly; the first edition coming off the press last Friday.

The paper is a joint effort, with sections like Top Trends, Kid’s Corner — Kiana’s beat — Upcoming Events, Students and Teachers of the Month, and Middle School Sports. All of the writers are fellow fifth graders, said Kiana, except the managing editor, who’s in seventh grade.

“I knew nothing about it,” Amy said of her daughter’s news publication.

Amy said she was gearing up for an upcoming meeting for Kiana’s gifted program and the teachers let her know that they wanted to talk to her about Kiana starting a paper. That, said Amy, was how she found out.

It’s not surprising that Kiana’s efforts didn’t come up. She’s got a lot on her mind, and she’s about as full of energy as her favorite dog — the husky. The paper, said Amy, is part of the fulfillment of Kiana’s gifted project, which she works on with her English teacher.

The paper is distributed to each middle schooler,and each of the grades from four down get a few copies per classroom. “We all get together to get all our ideas on paper,” said Kiana of the editorial team’s process, “and then it takes a few hours just getting stories on the pages, pages printed, and all of the papers folded and distributed. The YEMS News is a “three to four page” publication, explained Kiana.

Kiana was one of Youngsville’s alternates for this year’s county-wide spelling bee. But, said the ever-optimistic fifth grader, “there’s always next year.”

Looking toward her future, Kiana said she’s got things more or less figured out. She plans to go to college, become either an artist, chef, or kindergarten teacher, and have two children. Maybe three.

She’s gonna see how it goes.

In addition to starting the school newspaper and her continued efforts at spelling bee fame, Kiana enjoys participating in the school’s reading and coloring clubs, plays percussion in the band, and looks forward to joining chorus next year. Her favorite subjects are, you guessed it, reading and art.

As the Top Trends editor, Kiana said some of her future planned topics include the game Roadblox, fidget spinners, dabbing (which she kindly taught her YEMS vice principal to do), and turtles.

All the cool kids like turtles.

Her most defining character trait, she said — and mom Amy agreed — is her curiosity.

“I don’t like not knowing things,” said Kiana, who added that when she finds out about something she didn’t know much about she investigates it fully.

She’s looking forward to making interviewing a part of the research that goes into YEMS News future stories.