A family of Kid Reporters
Three sisters. Six years. A presidential election. Award-winning Newberry and Caldecott authors and illustrators...and the Houston Livestock and Rodeo.
This week, my sisters, Michelle and Brittney, and I were honored by the Mayor and City Council of Bellaire, Texas, with a Proclamation in recognition of our achievements as Kid Reporters for Scholastic News at a City Council meeting.
"Michelle, Brittney and Erin Sheena have become a unique family of young reporters for Scholastic News, with Michelle starting as a reporter in 2006 and Brittney and Erin joining in 2008 and 2009, respectively," proclaimed Bellaire Mayor Cynthia Siegel. "It is appropriate and desirable to recognize the Sheena sisters for their dedication as Kid Reporters, a role which has benefited many children and allowed children globally to learn about many newsworthy events."
Michelle applied as a sixth grader, and her first interview was with author Noah McCullough. She went on to write about Alexandra Pintus, a Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key recipient, as well as the people affected by Hurricane Ike (which hit Texas in 2008) and its devastating aftermath.
"I met inspiring people my age, with captivating stories of their own,” Michelle remembered. “Meeting people with such prestigious qualifications so early in their lives was an honor, and being able to tell their story to the world was an even greater privilege."
She also covered other local and national stories — like the Houston Livestock and Rodeo. “After one of the rodeo shows, I was able to go behind the scenes and have a one on one interview with the Cheetah Girls. It was interesting to go behind the scenes and see what goes on to bring such a large event to life," Michelle explained.
The following year, Michelle covered the 2008 presidential campaigns. She stood next to news reporters such as Candy Crowley and Carl Cameron who gave her tips on how to develop future stories. And Michelle was able to pass this knowledge on to her sister Brittney when became a Kid Reporter during the election.
"Whenever we went to cover the Presidential campaign events, security always told our parents that they were not allowed to bring in their children for the interviews and our parents always had to tell security that we were the actual reporters,” Brittney recalled. "I was able to interview Michelle Obama at one of the rallies. Later, I used the picture for a report for school. My friend thought I had been to the wax museum and could not believe that I actually had been able to interview her. It is really a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
I started reporting last year, when I was in fifth grade. Over the past year, I have interviewed authors, reported on tar balls in Texas, stood on the court at the Final Four, and made a YouTube video on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. One of my favorite interviews was Gary Paulsen, Newberry award winning author and Iditarod competitor.
Reporting for Scholastic News has really been an amazing journey for my family. I would highly recommend anyone who loves to read and write to apply.
Applications for the 2011-2012 Scholastic News Kids Press Corps will be accepted starting in August. But you can start working on your application now! Visit the How to Apply page to download the application.
And if you have questions for the Kid Reporters about what it takes to be a Kid Reporter, post them in the comments below!
Photo: L to R Mayor Siegel, Michelle, Erin , and Brittney Sheena (Photo courtesy Erin Sheena)