Editor column: Promoting literacy among Tahoe’s youth

Kevin MacMillan

Inside last Friday’s newspaper, readers found a special 4-page insert of the inaugural Laker Lately, a new periodic newspaper produced by students at North Tahoe High School.

The young adults up on Dollar Hill worked hard to produce the paper and, led by Editor Bozhie Pokorny, were able to get some topical news on the front page, with student reaction of the tragic shooting recently at Sparks Middle School.

The endeavor is possible through a partnership with the Sierra Sun, in which we meet with students in the newspaper club, plan the look and feel of their paper and create ads as needed. The kids are 100 percent responsible for writing stories, gathering photos, editing and proofreading content, and selling ads.

It’s a worthwhile partnership that expounds on our annual goals here at the Sun of promoting literacy within our communities and expanding our relationships with our schools.

It’s also an endeavor that wouldn’t be possible without a similar partnership we struck four years ago with Truckee High School to create The Wolverine, the school’s periodic student newspaper.

Produced similarly to Laker Lately, The Wolverine published its 16th edition inside the Oct. 18 Sierra Sun. Working with Truckee’s highly intelligent students over the years has been nothing short of a great pleasure, and the same can be said with this year’s editors — Taysa Mohler, Lynde Tucker and Kat Bloomfield.

No. 16 for Truckee and No. 1 for North Tahoe are both milestones worth celebrating. It’s always refreshing to work with young adults interested in covering and reporting the news, and it’s our hope these continued partnerships with our schools help students keep an eye toward journalism as a future career choice.

Our work doesn’t stop there. On Oct. 4, Molly Holiday, first-grade teacher at Kings Beach Elementary, and Eric Harssema, second-grade teacher at Incline Elementary, were honored as winners of the 2012-13 Truckee Hometown SEARS-Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year award.

As we continue working with Charlie Riley and our local SEARS store, we’re pleased to recognize we’ve gained the support in our third year of this program from several community partners that have signed on as sponsors, including Tahoe Dave’s Skis and Boards, The Office Boss, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Tahoe Truckee Brokers, Sierra Nevada College and the Truckee McDonald’s.

I’m also pleased to report we have raised $3,500 over the past several months for the Sierra Sun/North Lake Tahoe Bonanza Scholarship for Schools program, in which we grant portions of advertising revenue to education-focused programs. Our goal is to have the first set of grants available for the 2013-14 school year.

We’ve also created partnerships with the Discovery Museum in Reno and the KidZone Museum in Truckee, and we dedicate space each month for updates and news from Excellence in Education Foundation, Arts For the Schools and Adventure Risk Challenge.

And over at the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, we’re in our third year of inserting the bi-weekly Eagle’s Eye, the 100-percent student-produced newspaper at Sierra Nevada College.

It’s a wonderful thing when organizations, residents and businesses can collaborate to devote extra time and energy to these and other education and literacy-focused endeavors with an eye toward helping our children.

To learn more about the Scholarships for Schools program, or if you have ideas on how we can better promote literacy in Truckee and North Tahoe, email me at or Sun/Bonanza Publisher Michael Gelbman at

Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspapers; his columns appear every other Wednesday in the Sierra Sun. He may be reached for comment at

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