Kid reporter

Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:04pm
By: Ben Nelms

Local 6th-grader makes her mark

Kid reporter

She began writing in kindergarten, entering essay contests along the way. Now at age 10, Fayette Middle School sixth grade student Virginia Lambert has been selected one of 10 young writers nationwide to spend a year reporting for Time online and magazine publication, Time For Kids (TFK). As a member of the TFK news team, Lambert will cover local and regional assignments from now until August 2008.

Lambert’s venture into the world of journalism began after Spring Hill Elementary School enrichment teacher Martie Johnson encouraged her to participate in a Time for Kids writing contest. Her chosen topic was a local Battle of the Bands fund raiser, earning her a place as one of 20 finalists in the TFK Kid Reporter Talent Search competition. The next phase of TFK’s talent search, one that would land her a one-year stint with the magazine, was to research and report on a local environmental issue.

Lambert submitted an article entitled, “Summer ’06 Stinks,” about the chemical odors originating from the Phillip Services Corp. waste treatment plant near Fairburn, Ga. The chemical emissions were those of MOCAP “wash water,” a combination of ingredients that included the chemical odorant Propyl mercaptan and the organophosphate pesticide ethoprop. The wash water generated a smell that strongly resembled that of onions. Hundreds of residents in north and central Fayette and south Fulton counties reported a variety of illnesses after breathing emissions from the plant during spring and summer last year.

“I could smell it in my house. And I wanted to learn more about it,” Lambert said, explaining her reasoning behind her story selection.

A second portion of the talent search competition included Lambert producing a video presentation centering on five amazing things about herself. The video was another way for judges learn more about her, one by which her level of creativity as a national finalist would be displayed. The judges made their decision and named Lambert as one of their 10 new reporters.

Back in Fayetteville, Al and Bridget Lambert are not alone in their appreciation of their daughter’s talent.

“I’m so happy for her,” Lambert’s former teacher, Johnson, said. “She has always said she wanted to be a news reporter so this is a great first step to building an incredible resume.”

It is assured that Lambert’s writing will have a wide audience, since Time For Kids has more than four million readers nationwide. All things considered, it is quite an accomplishment at the ripe old age of 10. But perhaps it is just the beginning.

Lambert said she wants to attend the University of Virginia and, once her studies are completed, go on to report for National Public Radio. Given her determination, her talent for writing and willingness to research, Fayette County residents are likely to continue to benefit from Virginia Lambert’s work in years to come.

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