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St. John the Baptist newspaper wins Catholic schools awards

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Joey Edmundson was touched by the story of a Plum boy who used his birthday money to buy video games for pediatric patients at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

When Joey, 13, also of Plum, began thinking about possible stories he could write for The Charger, St. John the Baptist Catholic School's newspaper, the then-seventh-grader remembered Eddie Miller's story and wanted to interview the youngster.

Joey's story, “Start the Game of Kindness” was one of seven stories that won awards in the 10th annual Pittsburgh Catholic Elementary School Journalism Awards program.

The monthly newspaper also won an award for “Best Overall Quality.”

Members of the Department for Catholic Schools and the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper judged 82 entries, according to an article published last week in the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper.

The categories were: overall quality; layout and design, photography, news reporting, sports, feature writing, opinion and new newspaper.

The awards are classified as an Award of Excellence, Award of Merit and Honorable Mention.

Seventh-grade students in Lina Zwastetzky's language-arts class produce a newspaper each month throughout the school year.

Zwastetzky said the students conduct brainstorming sessions to find topics, do interviews, write the stories and make corrections.

The children write about activities going on at St. John, as well as outside the school environment.

“I strongly encourage them to interview people,” Zwastetzky said.

“They could say, ‘I want to call President Obama,' and I would say, ‘Do it.' I never say, ‘No.' ”

Work on the monthly newspaper encompasses a portion of a student's grade in the class.

Zwastetzky said students gain valuable skills through their participation on the monthly newspaper.

“It builds confidence for them to do interviews,” Zwastetzky said.

“They also learn organization and time management.”

Zwastetzky said working on the paper also polishes students' writing skills.

Joey, who will be an eighth-grader this fall at St. John, said he enjoys doing interviews and writing.

“It would be cool to work for a newspaper,” Joey said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or

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