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What the kids are really thinking

News release
April 19, 2005

What the kids are really thinking

Do you think you’re ready to read what Kiwi teenagers are really thinking?

Insights into the thoughts of secondary school students are on the agenda again in 2005 as the New Zealand Herald’s highly successful College Herald goes into production in term two.

Now in its fourth year, the College Herald is a forum for students to make statements about the world they live in.

Every Tuesday from early May until mid-September the Auckland daily newspaper is publishing the special College Herald section. It is so popular, the NZ Herald has grown the programme and extended its duration to 19 weeks from 10 last year.

Each week students submit their work – articles, photographs, cartoons – to themes based broadly on school curriculum strands and topics. The College Herald editor chooses the work of 20 students for publication and two are selected as the Editor’s Choice.

With an $80,000 prize pool for students, there is stiff competition to have your work published says College Herald editor David Lawrence.

“Last year we received more than 2,300 submissions from pupils at 159 schools and the overall standard of writing, artwork and photography was very high,” Mr Lawrence says.

“This year the College Herald has been extended from 10 weekly editions to 19, with the first edition appearing on May 3, and will be in a compact rather than broadsheet format.

"Students gain much satisfaction and encouragement from seeing their work in print, and I'm sure many will continue with their creative pursuits, with some of them going into journalism careers.”

Mr Lawrence says the College Herald is well read by students, but feedback from adult Herald readers suggests it appeals widely beyond the student readership.

“There is evidently a lot of interest in what students have to say about their lives and their views of what is happening in the world. Their observations are often insightful and perceptive, and I believe reading the College Herald has led people to rethink some stereotypes and revise their opinions of teenagers upwards.”

Last year one in every 12 students who submitted work had the thrill of seeing it in print.

Apart from the prestige, the rewards are substantial.

The Editor’s Choice on the weekly theme wins the student a Canon digital camera for his or her school as well as a Woosh modem and a year’s free internet connection.

The editor’s selected piece on a general theme earns the student a $300 bank account while the 18 remaining students with work published that week win $100 each.

Mr Lawrence says there’s a wide choice of themes to inspire work, each relating back to one of the College Herald’s sponsors.

“We try to make the themes current as much as we can on topics such as the drivers’ licence age debate or economic themes such as how political decisions might affect a student’s future.

“Preparing work for publication gives students exposure to newspapers and extends their reading and writing skills. It also is invaluable in promoting tolerance by giving them the opportunity to read about the lives and perceptions of their peers,” Mr Lawrence maintains.

The NZ Herald produces guides for teachers on how to link the themes to NCEA topics.

Sponsors of the College Herald are Woosh, Hewlett Packard, Canon, Unitec, Norske Skog, Whitcoulls, AA Driver Training, Bank of New Zealand and the NZ Herald.

Readers can check out the programme at


Issued for APN New Zealand by Pead PR

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