David Rockwood’s Students Participate in Community Dialogue

Story and Photo by Krystal Baker
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By Krystal Baker

Four Payson High School students are experiencing what it feels like to have their opinions heard. As an assignment for David Rockwood’s philosophy class, each student wrote and submitted an editorial letter to a Utah newspaper.  Ann Marie Marck, Corbin Coombs, Emily Walker and Tanner Newbold each had their editorial published. The students were both surprised and excited to see their opinion in print.

“I honestly did not think my letter would even get considered to be published,” Newbold said. “But when I saw it had, it was pretty cool to see it on the Salt Lake Tribune website.” 

Through this writing assignment, Rockwood hoped his students would feel empowered to raise their voice and participate in community dialogue.

“My end-goal for having the students write opinion pieces for the newspapers is to get them writing, and to see that their thoughts and ideas become part of the wider conversation of the community. The classroom is too isolated and self-contained,” Rockwood said. “Publishing letters to the editor allows them to participate in that wider dialogue.”

Emily Walker’s editorial received a lot of attention in The Deseret News. Walker’s letter addressed the use of iPads in the classroom as a replacement for traditional textbooks.

“I was thrilled to see my letter in the Desert News. It was really cool to see people respond to it, and to know that others actually cared about the same subject,” Walker said.

Corbin Coombs was also excited at the comments generated by his editorial.

“It was a good feeling knowing that my article got published in a newspaper and that people were reading it and commenting on it,” Coombs said.

Rockwood considered his assignment a success. Not only were the students excited about a writing assignment, but those who have had their letters published where able to generate state-wide conversations.

 “It felt good to know my opinion mattered enough to be sent out for others to read and consider for themselves,” said Ann Marie Marck.