West Central Express: A Newspaper by Holmes Elementary Kids for the West Central Community

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Do you know what the real rules of four square are? Did you know there's a whole list of variations of the official game — and an entirely different set of variations (on the playground, called "variants") played at Holmes Elementary? This December, you can read all about it in the second issue of West Central Express. 

Each Thursday afternoon, a creative and enthusiastic group of Holmes student journalists explore questions that matter to them, their school and the West Central community in our six-week after-school newspaper club. Thanks to print sponsorship from the Inlander, grants from Spokane Arts, Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, and KREM 2/TEGNA, as well as support from a special group of individual donorsyou'll be able to pick up a print copy of their paper, West Central Express, at locations throughout West Central starting in mid-December. 

Our editor-in-chief, Shawn Vestal of the Spokesman-Review, kicked off the program by leading the students in a brainstorm of what issues they're curious about researching for their stories. Here are just a few: Should kids be allowed to vote? What's going on with all the stray cats in the neighborhood? Does anyone know what the principal likes to do when she's not at school? What are some strategies for kids to improve their grades? What should the next school spirit day theme be? 

To guide them in their process, the kids get a visit from a different Inlander journalist each week — and tips on how to approach different kinds of stories. Last week, journalist Chey Scott visited and helped the students formulate questions for writing about games. They got to put those questions to work just a few minutes later when each group received a robotics or building toy to review.

Each student journalist will leave the West Central Express Newspaper Club with a host of new skills — conducting an interview, writing a story, photojournalism and editing their own work. Even more importantly, they'll leave with greater confidence that their voice matters and they can make a difference in their community using their creative power. 

We exist to remove barriers creative opportunities like West Central Express for people of all ages. To support us, please donate to our Giving Tuesday campaign! 

Possibilities available at our Maker Station

Do you like making stuff? Of course you do! That's one thing all Spark patrons have in common. Whether it's a story, a robot, a light-up card, or a screen-printed t-shirt, we're all about creating. And we have the place for you to do just that: the Maker Station, generously sponsored by Spokane Teacher's Credit Union.  STCU is a huge supporter of education in our community and we are so fortunate to have them as a partner. We work rely on funding from donors, grants, and sponsors like STCU to bring our programming and creative space to you at no to little cost. Thank you, STCU!

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Although we are in the making business partially for the fun of it, we also love imagining a future of creators. This article from The Guardian has it right when they say, "If we want a world full of innovative, entrepreneurial thinkers, we need to enable and sustain making from a very young age." 

So adults and kids alike, come in this week and make something to take home. Looking for ideas? Check out the quick video tour of our Maker Station below. And if you'd like to show the world that you're a Maker, we have awesome "I Make Stuff" stickers for sale in our store and in the center!

"West of You" Review

"West of You" Review

West of You was published in 2015 in the midst of Murphy's many moves between cities in the Northwest and stints in Nevada. After years of submitting stories to contests and literary magazines only to be disillusioned, Murphy began to self-publish in print and online. She has been impressed by the quality of voice talent and production her work has received on Audible, where short stories are something of a rarity. She reflects that even if she is giving away stories by making them freely available online, something which initially made her skittish at the thought of her ideas being stolen, she now looks at it differently: “At least somebody would be reading them.”