|The rhythmic cadence of revision filled the office of theScottie Gazette. Came from Aaron, the 5th grade Editor-in-Chief. He typed three words and backspaced two. Squinted at the screen. Read what he wrote. Typed four more words, whispered them to himself, and backed up two. He was always particular about what he wrote. It was his job. But this piece required even more precision than usual. Reaching into the pocket of his khakis, he rubbed his lucky rabbit foot. Wasn’t real fur. No way. He bought it in the Marketplace of his Texas MicroSociety 2 years ago. It wasn’t nearly as soft as it used to be. Because it had given him lots of luck.
After a quick turn in his seat to crack his back, Aaron stood up. “Hey team, let’s get together for a quick meeting.” Cecilia groaned, “Aaron, it’s deadline time, do we have to?” Carolina seconded her complaint. “I’m only 100 words into my article on the upcoming elections.” Aaron refused to back down. Even to dedication. “It will only take a few minutes. I promise.”
With all gathered round the table, he began. “So, as you all know, we have two deadlines going on around here. Our next issue hits the press tomorrow. And I have to submit our annual report for the contest. I know that we will produce another great edition of the Gazette. But I need your input on the report. We can win. I’m sure of it. I just can’t do it alone.”
Mr. Moreno had announced the contest at the “Partnership in Education Celebration.” He was a community partner from a local consulting firm and wanted to see what Micro kids could do with this task. “Your annual report should reflect everything from your operating budget to your products and services to your employee relations.” A “soup to nuts approach” he had called it. Aaron had no idea what soup and nuts had to do with one another. But that didn’t really matter. He knew he had to bring the newspaper venture the recognition it deserved.
“I’m trying to focus on what makes us unique, meaning, why are we different from the average school newspaper?” Aaron questioned his crew of employees.
“We never miss a deadline,” Eddie, a 2nd grade graphic artist, jumped out of his seat to declare.
Aaron typed quickly, adding this addition to his report. It was true. Their readership extended beyond the school population. Parents, businesspeople, local government officials. They couldn’t possibly let them down. Not with their reputation on the line.
“We are eco-friendly.” Sara nodded with pride. “We’re not even a newspaper really.”
It was true. Just a few months ago they had made the decision to switch to electronic editions. After Cecilia’s piece on deforestation. Scary.
“We make all the big decisions. Without adults.” Olivia contributed. “And there’s so many different kinds of people on our team. Look at Eddie. He’s only 7 and he is responsible for all of our layouts and photo shoots.”
“Plus, we give back to our community,” remarkedCarolina. “I don’t think every newspaper offers free writing workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions.”
Aaron nodded, adding “Not to mention our emergency coverage of the drought, and our water conservation ideas.”
Aaron clicked away. “Alright, back to your posts. We’ve got business to take care of. Thanks everyone.”
After a few more revisions, Aaron submitted the report. He knew the competition was stiff. But he was sure the facts would put him in the lead. The Gazette had met all the goals they had set in the beginning of the year business plan. Evening exceeding the 5 percent growth in readership they had aimed for by a whole 4 points. He was up against Mia, who had started an organic garden that year. Produced enough vegetables to play a starring role on cafeteria lunch trays. And Tony. He had led the Design Dudes in making over classrooms to be more “next gen.” But Aaron had faith. And a lucky rabbit foot.
When Mayor Ramirez came to present the award, he heralded all who submitted a report. “I have to admit,” he started, scratching the little dark hair left on his head, “I have never been so impressed by a group of kids.” To which the audience of K-5 graders all cheered. And quickly stopped. To hear the really important words. “The El Paso Times better watch out because this year’s winner is a paper with purpose. The Scottie Gazette.”
Aaron refused to accept the award on his own. He brought the whole team up on stage. Carolina and Cecilia and Eddie and Sara and Olivia too. They didn’t choose a pizza party for their prize. Or a paid vacation day from work. Instead they requested the sum of Micros needed to get current on their loan repayment. And a bit ahead.