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MHS senior starts The Marshall News Gals club

Submitted photo From left: Marshall High School seniors Lauren Noriega and Abby Johnson hold up copies of the Marshall Independent, a newspaper they are in the habit of reading and utilizing to create discussions about local, state and global issues. The Marshall News Gals club members share the experience with a large number of their classmate during the lunch hour.

MARSHALL — A new club at Marshall High School has students not only learning about the world around them, but also taking the opportunity to engage in conversation with others, ultimately giving them an educated voice among their peers and beyond.

MHS senior Lauren Noriega started out reading the Marshall Independent to her classmates during the one-hour lunch period. Before long, The Marshall News Gals club was formed.

“The Marshall News Gals got started out with us just reading the newspaper every day during lunch and sharing new stuff we learned or found interesting,” Noriega said. “We each would listen to what the other person found interesting and then we would discuss it. On some topics, people in the group would disagree with each other and to settle our thoughts, we would ask people sitting around the locker backs their thoughts.”

After doing that for a couple of days, the group thought they should take the opportunity to get more students involved in reading the newspaper.

“We came up with a club name, made an Instagram account to reach people via the Internet and then came up with ideas on how to reach the kids at school,” Noriega said. “From that Marshall News Gals was officially formed.”

While Noriega serves as president of the group, Abby Johnson is the vice president, Alexis Baynard is the head of communications and editor, Allie Bladholm is also an editor, and Alexa Dulas is the head of ethics.

“We meet during the first 30 minutes of lunch and normally the leaders of the group meet every day and other members can come on any day they want to,” Noriega said. “We have about 35 followers on Instagram that come to visit and discuss the new during lunch when they are able to.”

Baynard credits Noriega for sparking everyone’s interest in reading and discussing the news on a daily basis.

“Lauren spreads interest in the local paper,” Baynard said. “By reading the Marshall Independent to other seniors, she has successfully created a club. Lauren’s club, The Marshall News Gals, write their own true news stories for the teens of Marshall High School. Thanks to Lauren, MHS teens get their news from the local paper.”

Noriega said she likes that the group brings young people together to discuss their thoughts on what is happening in the community and world.

“I think that sometimes people forget that students have a voice, too,” she said “During the meetings, everyone’s voice is heard. Everyone’s opinion is listened to and discussed and no one is shamed for what they think. The meeting is a place to finally be able to voice your beliefs on the topic and not be judged.”

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, only 5 percent of people ages 18-29 often get their news through print newspapers. Seniors age 65 and older represent the largest newspaper consumer group at 48 percent.

A report titled “Young People and News,” which was released recently by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, revealed that most young adults do not have an ingrained news habit. Only 16 percent of young adults surveyed said they read a newspaper daily — only 9 percent of teenagers said they did.

On the flip side, reading the newspaper can have a lot of benefits — it can help to widen a person’s outlook and enrich his or her knowledge. The habit can also make it easier to take part in discussions.

“The benefit is not only to bring people together to have their voices heard, but also to inform students about what is going on in the community and the world,” Noriega said. “It is good to inform the students of what is happening in the world and it is even better that they get to share what they believe in.”