Sunday, May 27, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Cover Story

The following article was posted on August 4th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 21

The Sun trains some cub reporters at the Discovery Museum


Managing Editor Amy Asman and Staff Writer Kristina Sewell took a group shot with all of the kids. (Back row, left to right, are Calista, Miss Amy, Sarah, Andrew, E.J., Ariana, and Isabella. Front row, from left to right, are Dominick, J.D., Carson, Will, and Miss Kristina.)

For five days at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, Staff Writer Kristina Sewell, former Assistant Art Director Heather Walter, and I taught 10 children between the ages of 8 and 13 how to be reporters as part of a special summer camp partnership between the Sun and the museum.

The kids learned how to identify the components of a news story (the five W’s, plus an H—who, what, when, where, why, and how); they interviewed and wrote profiles on each other; they took lots of photos; created their own comic strips; and wrote critiques of their daily snack: apples and string cheese. Halfway through the camp, everyone walked from the museum to the Santa Maria Public Library and City Hall to put their reporting skills to the test.

The following is a compilation of their work.

Also, starting in mid-August, I will be leaving the Sun for a new job as the museum’s program director. I will be creating and overseeing more fun and educational programs just like this one. I give thanks for everyone at the Sun and our loyal readers for being so supportive these past seven years. I will miss you all.



Our trip to the City Hall

Have you ever been to City Hall? When I walked in I saw the picture frame of the government, and then I saw more stuff like art and where the people worked. Did you know that 35 people worked at City Hall. We met someone who was a reporter; his name was Mark. The City Hall is 80 years old. It was built in 1934. At first Santa Maria was not called Santa Maria; it was called Grangeville. Outside the grass was green and the flowers where red, yellow, pink. There were lots of big trees.



I found some seeds in my apple. It is red and there is a stem. The apple tastes like apple juice. I put my string cheese in a cup to melt it so I could see if it turned into milk.


Mark van de Kamp, a spokesman for the city of Santa Maria, gave the kids tours of City Hall and the Santa Maria City Council chambers. From left to right are Carson, Dominick, J.D., Will, and Ariana enjoying time in the council members’ seats.

The librarian

Have you ever gone into the Santa Maria Library looking for a good book? Do you ever wonder who helps organize those books?

That person is Dawn, the librarian. Dawn has been a librarian for 11 years, but has been working at this library for almost one year. Her and eight other people work together to plan the fun things that go on at the library. Some of her favorite books are Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth and Graveyard Book. She loves being a librarian because she gets to help so many different kinds of people and she loves working with kids.

Dawn always loved books. When she was in junior high, her mom took her to the library to volunteer. She loved being a librarian and she wanted to be one ever since. The Santa Maria library is 5 years old and where Dawn works. You will find Dawn in the Enchanted Forest or children’s section of the library. So next time when you go to the Santa Maria library looking for a wonderful book, think about who organized almost every one of the books!


The trip to City Hall

On Friday July 18, 2014, the reporter camp from the Discovery Museum went to Santa Maria City Hall for a field trip. We went to City Hall so we can feel what it's like to interview somebody. When I walked into the building it made me feel very safe because it was an old building and there were a lot of people working there. Also, it was across the street from the police station.

The first thing we did was take pictures of the City Hall. We met a man named Mark. Mark showed us around the City Hall and gave us the information about the building. I saw the mayor's office, a map of the city, and the council room.

At the end of the visit, it made me very happy to learn how to be a kid reporter and see what is inside City Hall. It was a lot of fun.


Mr. Peanut Butter

Mr. Peanut Butter is a mad guy. I’ve wrote a comic about him and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Rowley has dranken too much alcohol and he’s gotten pretty crazy. It’s Greg Heffley’s b-day. Rowley crates up the peanut butter jar. He gives it to Greg; it comes out and has Greg running for his life! Finally PB stops. Later on Rowley awakes from the dart.

PB starts running for Rowley! PB gets Rowley down! Later on, Greg arrives home and Mom is pretty mad at him because Greg just left Rowley hanging, so she sends him to his room. Greg is furious at Rowley. Then Rowley comes over to Greg’s house. Greg answers the door, he apologizes, and both of them have a Popsicle.


Mark took the group outside to learn about the city’s history and its special hybrid geranium. Andrew held still for a special visitor during his interview.

The Discovery Museum

Some of my favorite things in the Discovery Museum are the T-Rex, the rock wall, and the bubble machine. I like the T-Rex because it pops out of the wall. It’s green and it has big yellow teeth. I like the rock wall; it’s easy to climb on it. The bubble machine is also fun because you get to be inside a bubble for a little bit. The discovery museum is fun.


The library

The librarian has worked here for 11 years. She is in charge of the kids’ section. Her favorite kids book is Sophie Peterman Tells The Truth. She also likes The Graveyard Book. She likes The Graveyard Book because it’s scary and funny. She likes Sophie Peterman Tells The Truth because it’s funny.

She likes being a librarian because she helps different people and likes working with kids. In order to be a librarian, you have to do extra college. You also have to master the library science. When she was in junior high, her mom wanted her to be a library volunteer. Their company has four libraries. Right now, they’re building one in Los Alamos. I like the library!

P.S. This is how much I like the library: ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺


All of the kids had the option to create a comic strip or an illustration. Shown here is EJ’s comic on Super Bob.

A trip to City Hall

“Is that a bathroom?” I asked Mark, our guide, pointing to a door that looked like a bathroom. It had a number 21 on it and “Private” written in gold. To my disappointment, Mark said that it was not a bathroom.

Mark led us down the hall, past a very small drinking fountain that was hard to drink from. Then we turned the corner where we saw a glass case filled with pictures of all the mayors Santa Maria has had since 1905. But on the other wall we saw the VENDING MACHINES. Then our attention was turned from the vending machines when Mark opened the door to the mayor’s office.

This is what some of us had wanted to see most. The first thought that crossed my mind was … this is a small office. All it really had was a desk, a chair, a computer, and a printer.

But then when I turned around I saw a display of many things. Some of the most notable things I saw were a soccer ball from Mexico and a small wooden carving of Christopher Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria.

Then yet another door was opened. It led to the City Council room. We all sat in the comfy seats that could turn in circles. Mark showed us some maps of Santa Maria, and some of them, if you turned your head to the side, looked like a rabbit. We learned that the City Council members came here for important meetings and discussions.

The five of us sat in the five seats where the council members sit. In the council room they hold meetings and pass laws. They also have two (going to be three) security cameras to record what happens, and then they post the videos online. We learned about the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech. Mark said that in our country anyone has the right to say what he or she wants to say in front of the council members. People in other countries can’t.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Mark and City Hall. We had a great tour and learned many things about Santa Maria. It was a fun and educational trip to City Hall!



Dawn the librarian

Dawn, the librarian, has been a librarian for 11 years. In this library, she is in charge of the Children’s Section of the library. She likes being a librarian because she likes to help people, and she likes to work with kids.

She wanted to be a librarian when she volunteered to become an assistant for a librarian. The Children’s Section has been in the library for about five years. There are also four libraries in the district of Santa Maria.

Dawn’s favorite book is The Graveyard Book because she likes scary things. Her favorite children’s book is Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth because she thinks it’s funny.

If you want to be a librarian, you have to go to college for four years and get a master’s degree in library science.


We ended the camp with a party so the families could see the kids’ work and enjoy cake, cookies, and brownies from Gina’s Piece of Cake!


When I play Magic and my opponent plays a card than can eat me, I start to feel nervous. I like that there are monsters, it’s fun, and my dad likes to play with me. I have been playing this game for almost a year. I would recommend this game because it helps you learn to read and it is exciting to play.



Contact Managing Editor Amy Asman at  

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