A Reynoldsburg seventh-grader is one of 37 students nationwide chosen to participate in the Scholastic Kids Press Corps program.

A Reynoldsburg seventh-grader is one of 37 students nationwide chosen to participate in the Scholastic Kids Press Corps program.

Christian Snyder, a student at Baldwin Road Junior High School, was among 250 applicants. The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a branch of Scholastic Inc., a children's publishing, education and media company based in New York City. The selected students, ages 9-14, report on current events, breaking news, entertainment and sports events from their hometowns.

Most of their stories appear online at www.scholastic.com/kidspress. Scholastic spokesperson Jennifer Boggs said the students' work may occasionally be printed in the Scholastic classroom magazine, published bi-weekly, as well as on various blogs located on Scholastic's Web site.

To become a participant, interested students had to submit an application that involved a biography of themselves and a 400-word article on what makes their community special.

Snyder, son of Jeff and Lisa Snyder, wrote about the history of Reynoldsburg, including the David Graham house and its involvement in the Underground Railroad, and how the city is the birthplace of the commercial tomato. He also focused on historic landmarks such as the Livingston House and the Hannah Ashton Middle School building.

His entry was reviewed by Scholastic editor Suzanne Freeman, who said Snyder's piece stood out because of its flavor and detail.

"One of the things I look for is if they can capture the real sense of their community, and in a lot of the entries, kids will write about how everybody is really nice here and our schools are good, and it's kind of like a chamber of commerce piece," Freeman said. "What I liked about what Christian did is he came up with it being historic and then saying specifically what was historic about it, like about the Underground Railroad, but then he told me details about the different houses there and why.

"When he threw in the thing about it being the birthplace of the commercial tomato he had me. It taught me something. I learned something about Reynoldsburg, and it wasn't just another little town in middle America that looked like all the other towns."

Snyder said he's looking forward to the opportunities that will come with being a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

"I really like to write and I love knowing what's going on around me like current events and stuff, and I've always wanted to be a reporter," he said.

Freeman said the program provides students not only with an opportunity to meet people, but is an educational experience, as well.

"They learn how to do research, they learn writing, and gain a tremendous amount of self-confidence," she said. "Writing is a solitary activity, but they realize 'I may have to go ask a senator a question, or Tom Cruise a question.' They never know what they're going to end up doing.

"They have to learn to be resilient, think on their feet, do good research and to have the self-confidence to pull it off."

Freeman said the young reporters participate in the program for one school year, but after that, if a news story in their community arises, she may occasionally contact former participants to ask if they would like to do a story.

Boggs said the Scholastic Kids Press Corps was established in 2000. Several program alumni have gone on to study journalism in college.

Snyder's first assignment for Scholastic is to cover how the economy has affected the Reynoldsburg Helping Hands food pantry.

Freeman said each story the students write should be about 500 words long and should including several quotes from interviewing people, and photos or video pieces, if needed.

"They're like stringers, I guess, and Christian is our Reynoldsburg bureau," she said.

The Kids Press Corps reporters are not paid, but Boggs said once they are accepted, Scholastic provides them with an official shirt, a press badge, a notebook and information to help them research, prepare for and write their articles.

Snyder said he isn't sure if he wants to major in journalism in college.

"I have a lot of interests," he said. "I really like architecture. I have a lot of architecture books and I flip through them often, but whatever it is, I want it to involve writing."

dowen@thisweeknews.com