Arjun Suri published 28 issues of The Penguin Weekend Post while at Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School. (photo by John Gregory)
Ambitious student is future journalist
Arjun Suri is no ordinary kid. Sure, he’s smart, but he also possesses an amazing amount of initiative.
When he was a fifth grader at Ellen Browning Scripps (EBS) Elementary School, he started a newspaper that he and other students passed out to parents and students each Friday.
He not only got it started, but he also served as editor and oversaw its production through 28 issues, all the way from October through the end of the school year without missing an edition.
“I decided I wanted to do something fun, something different with writing,” he said.
Arjun and his father, Atul Suri, began brainstorming and came up with an idea based on answering the seemingly age-old question kids ask their parents each Friday after school: What are we going to do this weekend?
“We decided to make that into a newsletter that we could give to parents and kids so that they would know what they could do and what’s going on each weekend in the area,” Arjun said.
He presented his idea to EBS Principal Liz Sloan. It must have been a pretty incredible presentation, considering the project was so ambitious and the idea was coming from a fifth grader, and it was approved.
Arjun then presented the idea to students and asked if any wanted to get involved. It turns out that about 12 students helped in one way or another during the year.
In reference to the school’s mascot, the paper was named The Penguin Weekend Post. It was a two-sided sheet that contained weekend events, a video game section, a do-it-yourself section, a crossword puzzle or word search, a weather report and a section featuring new movies. A recipe section was also added.
Arjun said Thursday night deadlines were always the most intense at his home as he prepared each edition for school the next day. Arjun would take it to the school office for printing, then pick up copies at the end of the day. Four students were allowed to leave class early to distribute copies after school.
“Most parents loved it. They got accustomed to it,” he said.
“A lot of kids wanted to be part of it,” he explained, adding that they wanted to get their names in the paper, noting that giving credit to each contributor was an important aspect.
Today, this 12-year-old attends Marshall Middle School where he is involved in preparing for the Science Fair.
Math and writing are his favorite subjects. Some of his writing was published in Time For Kids magazine when he was in the third grade, and he once interviewed the oldest resident in Scripps Ranch for a story he wrote for the Scripps Ranch Civic Association newsletter.
Arjun obviously has a special interest in journalism and said he hopes to pursue this path in college, although he is not yet certain which specific area of journalism he will explore.