By Ivy N. McQuain, NDG Contributing Writer
For the past two summers I have had the honor of working with the wonderful students of the Bear Creek Community Church Summer Reading Program spearheaded by Maurice and Ruby Walker. I remember when the North Dallas Gazette’s publisher, Thurman Jones, discussed with me the opportunity to head up this special project. I was nervous indeed, but excited that he saw something in me to allow me the opportunity to represent the North Dallas Gazette.
My first summer in 2011, I worked with more than 20 students as the volunteer staff with putting together The Bold Times, affectionately named after Mr. Walker’s affirmation that we must all speak, stand and be BOLD.
When presented with the opportunity to create The Bold Times, the students stepped up and did their absolute best. We even did a tribute to one of our staff members hurt when hit by a drunk driver with her friend while they were walking.
This year I literally bugged Mr. Jones for a chance to participate in the program and when he finally said yes, I was like a kid in the candy store. While I had a game plan for The Bold Times I was impressed the students offered their own story topics, photo concepts and graphic ideas. I had no idea I would be blown away by the students in this year’s program. They are all amazing.
Some of the students returned this year including Jaden Rivers, Asia DeShay and Michael Douglas but there were also new students who surprised me with their excitement and enthusiasm to participate.
Ryan Hatcher, a junior at Ranchview High School, immediately took the lead when the Walkers presented the available position for the paper. His words resonated with me, “I was born a leader, so I know I can do this,” and he did just that … took the lead and led his team of staff writers, graphic designers and photographers. Ryan also worked well with his assistant editor Faith Carter, graphic design lead, Jaden, who aspires to be an actor and Parker Campbell, lead photographer, who worked directly with Verni Delce, a teacher and professional photographer. Parker’s drive is astonishing because he and another student rode the bus every day from South Dallas to Irving just to participate.
I have enjoyed working with everyone. I absolutely loved how Mrs. Ruby fussed over me when I was not feeling well. Congratulations to Valarie Cunningham, a retired teacher who will be pursuing her Ph.D. in the fall semester. What an awesome team who displayed passion for teaching the students for free. And wow to Monica Tidwell who cooked hot meals for the kids. I must give a special thanks to Eric Bettis owner of Harvest Graphic Solutions for obliging to a last minute request to stop by to show the students design examples. Finally, thank you Mr. Jones for having the confidence in me to oversee this program and for being a great mentor.