Read and Write Kalamazoo: Our Voices Project

Public Media Network partnered with Read and Write Kalamazoo to bring a journalism workshop to middle and high school-aged students. 

Public Media Network partnered with Read and Write Kalamazoo to bring a journalism workshop to middle and high school-aged students. The goal of this workshop was to give students an introduction to journalism, provide hands-on experience, and invite them to create their own journalism interviews and stories.


The result was the "Our Voices Project," an opportunity for students to write stories about other students; what they are passionate about, and what it looks like to walk in their shoes.


We at PMN believe that youth voices are a valuable, and know that youth continue to be at the forefront of creating positive change.  We believe in media that uplifts youth voices in our community.


Take a look below at each story written by a student. Each student interviewed and wrote an article about another student who attended the workshop. Take a look! 


Alex Roberts (he/him)

Maple Street Middle School

Alex Roberts

Alex presents his story on Kate Risley


In my interview with Kate, I got to meet a rare person.


Kate is short for Katherine. When I asked Kate, “What is something special about you?” Kate couldn’t think of anything but something that I found interesting about Kate is that Kate likes math. Kate likes math so much that she wants to go to college and get a degree in math. Kate also told me that her favorite thing in math is geometry.


Kate attended a Montessori school in Kalamazoo and during elementary she and her friends took a trigonometry class for fun. Although I do not share the same love for math, I found it interesting meeting someone who had a strong passion for it.


Kate also told me about how she studied piano for six years and she says she’s still really good at it. When asked what she was looking forward to, Kate said she wants a dog (who doesn’t?). Kate also expressed that she would like to write a book one day. I’m guessing it will have some math in it. 


Mason Lloyd (he/him)

Portage Central Middle School

Mason Lloyd presents a story about Hollis Masterson


I got to interview Hollis.


Hollis goes to Loy Norrix High School and is in the 11th grade. Back when he was in person, Hollis enjoyed the socialization that came with being in person. He enjoyed socializing in between classes and during lunch and found it difficult to do so when school switched to virtual. He shared that some of his friends grew apart during quarantine and he wishes to get back together with them when this all dies down.


Hollis is really passionate about politics. He is one of the members of the “young democrats of Loy Norrix” and hopes to become a foreign service officer when he grows up.


Being a foreign service officer essentially means that you’re a lower form of an ambassador, and help people trying to get in and out of the country. He first heard about foreign service offices during a career course held at his high school.


He wanted to pursue a career that involved history and different languages, another
passion of his. He enjoys the thought of traveling abroad and not needing to pay for the
expenses that come with it.


Some of Hollis’s hobbies consist of Legos, acting, and guitar playing. He first got his guitar for Christmas and began taking lessons not long after. With the quarantine, Hollis has become quite the fan of playing the guitar even after not really liking it at first.


One of Hollis’s goals and something he wishes to accomplish later in life, is moving North,
most likely just to the Upper Peninsula, into a relatively large house in a rural but not farm setting with a German shepherd as a pet.


Hollis Masterson (he/him)

Loy Norrix High School 


Hollis Masterson presents a story about Mason Lloyd.


Mason Lloyd: Actor, Middle Schooler, And Covid-19


Mason Lloyd, a 14 year old long time native of Portage, Michigan attends Portage Middle School regularly with great friends, shared his thoughts with me about his passions, school, and his thoughts on his life during Covid-19.


Hollis Masterson: "So first I haven't asked yet but, how are you?"


Mason Lloyd: "I'm good, actually."


HM: "Nice! So what is something you're passionate about?"


ML: "Um.. I've always been passionate about acting, I love being on stage and I've done several acting camps as a kid."


HM: "Interesting, so redirecting it back to school, what do you enjoy about school?"


ML: "I enjoy how the teachers at my school are very like, nice and they are willing to change, like how they're teaching in order to help a certain student learn if they're having a hard time."


HM: "Now, um, to a little bit more serious topic, but what is something you have lost due to Covid-19?"


ML: "Um, I have lost a lot of friends actually. Because of Covid-19  we like haven't really been getting together, because we usually hang out at school but we can't do that because everything went virtual. And so I have lost a lot of friends but I hope that we can get together when this is all over."


HM: "Alright, this one might be a hard one to answer, but what is something, if anything, that you have gained from Covid-19 er- the quarantine not the virus, heh heh."


ML: "Ehm-hm, I feel like I've learned a lot more about myself, I feel like I've gained so much knowledge because when I went to school I was always influenced by my friends and stuff but getting to like spend more time with myself has really made realize how unique I am and how different I am from a lot other people."


HM: "Yeah it has definitely allowed for some self centering but: is there anything else you would like to share?"


ML: "Not really, no."


Mason has learned a lot over this pandemic about himself and his friends as well as school and his message of finding himself should resonate with many individuals, teenager or adult alike.