In Amy Stalvey’s agribusiness and leadership class, newspapers sometimes serve as the building blocks of education.

Literally.

Stalvey, an agriculture education instructor at the Golden Isles College and Career Academy, participates in the Newspapers in Education program through which she receives copies of The News twice a week to use in the classroom.

This semester, her students recycled those newspapers for a leadership development activity. The students were separated into groups and challenged to build a sturdy chair using only the newspapers and duct tape.

“It was all about team work and leadership, because someone had to become a leader and organize it,” said Haleigh Williams, a sophomore in the class. “It took a couple tries to figure out what we were going to do, but we finally got it.”

Stalvey said she intended for the activity to teach her students to work together, take initiative and communicate.

And Haleigh said it gave the class several skills that could be applicable in their future careers.

“It helped to show us who’s a leader out of all of us,” she said. “When you’re in the real world and you have your own employees, you’ll need these skills.”

Stalvey also uses the articles inside The News to teach her students about the relevance of agricultural eduction.

The students have been assigned to read and summarize five articles in the newspaper related to local agriculture before the semester ends.

“We read the article and summarize it, and we tell the story in our words,” said freshman Candice Naldrett, who summarized a recent front-page article about the wildfire burning in the Okefenokee Swamp.

Freshman Gavin Grandstaff said he trusts articles in his local newspaper more than he might trust information found on other online sources.

He has also figured out what he feels is the quickest way to glean the needed information from the news articles.

“I usually just go through the newspaper and eliminate anything that’s not ag related, and I just start there,” he said. “I basically don’t usually look in the first paragraph. I usually skim to the second or third paragraph where all the information is … I guess I’m efficient.”

Stalvey’s goal is simply to get her students reading local news and recognizing how the education they’re receiving at GICCA fits into what’s happening around them in the community.

“The Newspapers in Education program is beneficial because it gives the students a snapshot of what’s going on in the community,” Stalvey said. “They see that everyone is impacted by agriculture, because that’s what our focus is. They get to see how it impacts other people, through the articles in the newspaper.”

Teachers at all levels can begin using newspapers in the classroom.

All it takes is a phone call to The News at 265-8320 ext. 356. Summer Whitten would be happy to sign up teachers to get their newspapers twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.