WILDWOOD CREST — The question was one posed often in newsrooms around the country. “What are the kids talking about … in the lunchroom,” asked Jeannine Yecco as she turned to her staff for ideas. “I think some kids are talking about the new boy cheerleader,” replied 10-year-old Aidan Bradley, who also happens to be the new boy cheerleader. “You’re not supposed to become the news, but with a small staff, you do what you can,” said Yecco, a computer and writing teacher at Crest Memorial School. Yecco, a former reporter, oversees the school newspaper, The Cougar Pride.

The newspaper club met recently to plan for the next issue, likely to hit newsstands and/or classrooms in March.

Staffing levels at the school paper fluctuate as they do at many newspapers, with just two writers, Aidan and editor Jerry D’Antonio, 12, appearing at last Wednesday’s meeting. But other students will write too, using the opportunity to practice and share their writing, as well as work with computers during the production process.

Yecco said the newspaper comes out three times per school year, four if possible, and has a circulation of 500 copies.

The articles are printed and copied on the school copiers, folded, inserted and distributed by Yecco and the staff.

“We’re circulation and everything,” she joked.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the staff made use of a Smartboard to track this edition’s content. Highlights included plans to cover the spelling bee, the new iPads available to all the classrooms, the junior/senior social, and of course, Aidan’s first-person account of his time on the cheerleading squad.

Once the stories were lined up, Yecco and her staff put together a page layout for the eight-page edition.

“All right guys, we’re good to go,” she said.

Jerry, a sixth-grader, said he “sort of likes to write” and especially enjoys the technology aspect of the job. His career plans, however, include becoming a doctor — not a journalist.

Aidan, a budding actor, joined the staff to try something different, and he’s found he loves interviewing people for his stories. But he admitted he doesn’t read other newspapers, although he does see them at home.

“My dad only does the crosswords,” he said.

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