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Student Journalists Graduate, Lillian Bittman Recognized



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Student Journalists Graduate, Lillian Bittman Recognized

By Eliza Hallabeck

Between two events, the student journalists who have worked on Sandy Hook School’s Footprint Post and Reed Intermediate School’s Patriot Press graduated recently.

During both of those events, advisor Lillian Bittman was thanked for her time with each paper. Ms Bittman has stepped down from both papers for the coming school year to pursue her own writing, she said.

Ms Bittman began the Patriot Press when Reed Intermediate School opened for students, and she has been the parent advisor for the Footprint Post for nearly half of the newspaper’s span. The Footprint Post, Ms Bittman said, was started 28 years ago by a fifth grade teacher at the school and a school parent.

Ms Bittman, a former Board of Education member and chair, received a journalism degree from the University of Kansas and her publication résumé includes work for the Kansas City Star, as well as owning her own city magazine.

Now, after 13 years of working with students at Sandy Hook School and more than nine years at Reed, Ms Bittman said her decision to step down is bittersweet. During her time between both papers, Ms Bittman estimates she has advised about 1,200 students, published exactly 97 regular and special issues of the papers, edited roughly 5,800 articles, and led 780 meetings. Ms Bittman said she truly loved being around the students, but she is also excited to start the next chapter of her life.

“I think she has done an incredible job of teaching kids a different type of writing than what we do in the classroom,” said Sandy Hook School first grade teacher and Footprint Post fellow advisor Lynn Monahan.

Ms Monahan said Ms Bittman has been a fixture at the elementary school for many years. Ms Monahan said Ms Bittman’s giving nature has been appreciated by the staff at the school.

“We’re going to miss her,” said Ms Monahan.

This year’s Footprint Post graduates were recognized during an event held on Monday, May 21, and this year’s Patriot Press graduates were recognized during an event on Friday, June 1.

During the Patriot Press event, Ms Bittman recognized each Patriot Press “staffer,” according to Reed Intermediate School Principal Sharon Epple, and gave special recognition to students who excelled.

“It was such a great event,” said Dr Epple.

Ms Bittman’s hopes for both publications is that they will eventually become available online, but, she acknowledged, that could take a few years.

She also said she hopes both the Footprint Post and the Patriot Press continue. Adding one last hope to her wish list, Ms Bittman said she would like to see a student newspaper started at Newtown Middle School.

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