Rosemont students learn through literature

by: CINDY GARRISON, Literary buffs at Rosemont Ridge Middle School are proud of their publication “The Ridge.” Daniella Ohnemus, editor-in-chief, displays a couple of her favorite covers. The publication is printed in color, and each classroom receives four copies. Covers are usually original student art.

Two years ago when she entered sixth grade, Daniella Ohnemus wanted more literary challenges.

She approached Willie Snook, a language arts teacher at Rosemont Ridge Middle School, who gave her an idea - to start a literary magazine featuring student work.

Daniella liked the idea, and began looking for other students she thought would be interested.

'I pulled together a list of students I knew were writers or good students, and I contacted them,' she said. 'The Ridge was started to give students the opportunity to have their writing shared with the community, and it gives them the opportunity to develop their writing.'

Because she started the publication, she became editor-in-chief.

The first issue of 'The Ridge' was published in January 2006. It is printed four or five times a year.

Each issue contains certain elements prepared by chosen writers.

The gamut of items includes short stories, book reviews, author reviews, vocabulary words, bonus articles, word puzzles, FAQS on current language art subjects being studied in school and bonus articles - along with art and prose.

Students who don't serve on the magazine's committee can submit items, too.

'My favorite part is the fact that it gets better each time,' Daniella said. 'The writing is getting better, creating it is getting better and I'm getting better on the computer.'

Daniella has used many of her new computer skills to help with homework.

Other students have benefited from the leadership skills they're developing as the magazine progresses.

'I do book reviews, so it helps me dissect books and see what makes a good book,' said Miranda James, one of the original members. '(I find) what I like about something - or what doesn't work.'

Miranda also likes the fact that 'The Ridge' is student driven.

'There are really no teachers involved,' she said. 'It's basically all the kids. I think it's a great example of what we (kids) can do.'

Her favorite part is seeing the final product.

She said it was gratifying. Students spend about one month and about 30 hours working on each publication.

The committee that oversees each publication meets once a week to brainstorm ideas for the theme and story ideas for each issue. Then, they're off to put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard).

'I think 'The Ridge' is important because (for writers) it helps develop skills and responsibility,' Daniella said. 'Students are able to see what their peers are writing.'

The group is trying to recruit more sixth-graders on the team, because eight members will be headed to high school after this year.

Current members include eighth-graders: Spencer Chang, short stories; Miranda James, book reviews; Tatiana Jungeman, author reviews; Daniella Ohnemus, editor-in-chief; Suraj Saifullah, bonus articles and word puzzles; Rachel Slinger, vocabulary; Julia Tatiyatrairong, FAQs; Jenna Tatiyatrairong, short stories. Seventh-graders: Emma Kennard, short stories; Emily Reed, bonus articles and Tara Galloway, bonus articles.

When the name, 'The Ridge,' was first selected, the group thought it was to represent Rosemont Ridge.

However, in her editorial of November 2007, Daniella explained that it was to help people remember to stay above the norm.

She wrote: 'I hope that you shall always wish to learn and choose to live at the ridge of possibility.'

Cindy Garrison is employed by the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, and often writes articles for the Tidings.