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After being passed over for several elective opportunities, Morgan Leveritt, eighth grade student, could have given up on her desire to get involved in her school. She jokingly commented to her mother that she should start her own club, perhaps a school newspaper. Leveritt’s mother, Theresa Leveritt-Senior, however, thought that the idea had merit. She suggested that Leveritt put something together, and they would explore the idea together.
Leveritt is no stranger to the world of publication. Leveritt-Senior is the publisher of The Christian Guide of the Smokies, a magazine out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Leveritt has had input into a column in the magazine, “Out of the Mouths of Babes” literally since she was an infant. She has had the responsibility of writing the column herself for about five years. She is also the editorial assistant for The Christian Guide of the Smokies magazine.
Once they had developed the idea fully, they took it to the Spencer County Board of Education and to Principal Ed Downs for approval.
“Morgan has uncommon initiative,” said Mr. McClain, Leveritt’s teacher, “She presented such a well reasoned proposal to start the newsletter.”
In just a few days, the SCMS Newsletter was born.
“I am impressed with her persistence and desire to do something meaningful,” said Downs.
Leveritt’s newsletter is both fun and informative.
“My main goal is to have as much school-related information as possible,” says Leveritt, “and I want kids to enjoy it.”
Covering everything from upcoming lunch menus to accurate reporting of school breaks to the basketball schedule, she makes her publication appealing to everyone. A Teacher of the Month feature and multiple announcements make the page. And every issue highlights three students in the categories of Academics, Athlete and The Arts. Leveritt rotates her featured students so that 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are all represented in each category on a regular basis.
Students enjoy being featured.
“It makes you feel that you have something to be proud of,” said Rachel Siebert, 7th grader.
“She enjoys encouraging students and staff in our school,” said McClain, who also helps proofread each edition.
“Morgan is determined to help others anyway she can,” said Leveritt-Senior.
To produce the newsletter, Leveritt typically spends about 6-8 hours each week. She said that she tries to do something every day, whether doing interviews or working on layout or generating advertising income.
“She establishes goals for the newsletter, sets deadlines, and solicits advertising. She approaches the task with a clear sense of purpose and works for continuous improvement,” says McClain.
The advertising slots sold at the bottom of the page are one of the hallmarks of the professionalism of SCMS Newsletter. Unlike some student projects that just rely on funding, this is a self-sustained effort.
According to Leveritt, “We could not do this without the advertisers.” She already has plans for the extra income that is being generated above the costs of printing; she is planning on giving awards to students who have been featured in the newsletter. “It takes a lot of work and time to get the sponsors that will provide the awards for the students as well as talent to compose and design such a project,” said Leveritt-Senior.
In today’s age, where we often hear of youth who thoughtlessly bring negativity into the world, it is encouraging to see a teenager with a well thought out plan to impact her community in a positive manner. In the words of her co-editor, Mr. McClain, “Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her determination to produce excellent work is inspiring to all the students and adults who work with her.”
Leveritt-Senior adds, “As an encouragement to others, Morgan is reminded that when one door shuts, another will open. Don’t be discouraged when opportunities seem to pass you by, it just means there is more in store for you. Don’t give up.”