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He isn’t even a teenager yet, but Nolan Pastore writes for an audience of 25 million students around the world.
The 12-year-old from Hartville, Ohio, is the only Scholastic News Kids Press Corps accredited journalist from Ohio and one of 45 such writers worldwide. The job comes with an international press badge.
Student reporters, age 10 to 14, who are involved in the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps cover “news for kids, by kids.” They write about current events, breaking news, entertainment stories and sports events from their hometowns and on the national stage.
The son of Jeff and Mary Pastore, with Hartville RV Center, Nolan knew he wanted to be a writer years ago. All it took was a little nudge by a former teacher.
“I always loved writing,” he explained. “Even as a young student, I had a passion for writing.”
But, unlike sports, there were no organized clubs or activities for burgeoning writers at Hartville Elementary School. It’s not like he didn’t try. Year after year, to no avail, he asked everyone, even teachers at his old school for opportunities to develop his interest in writing.
One day, his former fourth-grade teacher, Theresa Warnick, pulled Nolan aside after spotting a blurb in a Scholastic magazine that announced the world-renowned publication was seeking student reporters.
“It was a long application and it took a while to complete,” Nolan explained. “My family was on vacation in August 2017 when I got a call letting me know I got the gig.”
Since then, Nolan has been one of the more active student journalists within the Scholastic organization. He has already published 28 stories and has a half-dozen others percolating in his mind.
“I really like the Scholastic model because it features stories written by kids, for students our own age. Our readers really connect to the articles,” he explained.
Nolan has enjoyed some pretty incredible opportunities, including:
- A behind-the-scenes tour of the Goodyear blimp factory and speaking with a pilot.
- Touring the house at the center of the Christmas Story movie and interviewing the curator of the museum.
- Going backstage to meet America’s Got Talent teen ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, the Season 12 champion.
- Being one of the first to ride the Steel Vengence, a rollercoaster at Cedar Point Amusement Park that he called a “hyper hybrid” that broke 10 world records.
“Every one of the interviews has been amazing, and each one had its own perks,” Nolan explained. “They’ve been either very informative or just plain fun.”
His favorite story to date was his feature on Logan Broadbent, a world-champion boomerang thrower.
He also got to interview Snowball, a pooch who went from being an abandoned dog to a model and actor featured in local and national advertisements. “He is a dog of many words,” Nolan noted.
His hardest story was likely a feature about President Rutherford Hayes because it required him to delve into some sensitive topics pertaining to the Civil War era.
“I generally come up with my own ideas and pitch them to my editor in New York City,” Nolan explained. “Once in a while, she’ll call me with an idea of her own.”
Like any good journalist, he has a nose for news. So, when his family was cruising in the Caribbean, Nolan sought permission from the cruise line to interview the cast of Mamma Mia for a story titled “Broadway on the High Seas.”
Although he has no quota, his personal goal is to complete two stories a month. Sometimes that is hampered because it is more difficult to score interviews with some people.
Someday, he hopes to do a story on the RV lifestyle from a kid’s point of view, or a feature on the industry in general – an article he hopes to write after attending a major trade show like the RV Dealers Association convention and expo.
Telling stories with videos
Nolan and his brother, Connor, have already caused a ripple their local community with a series of self-produced videos titled “Kids Love Camping, Too.” Some of their YouTube videos have exceeded 10,000 views.
“When I see people producing walk-through videos, most of the time I see videos of guys with bellies hanging over their belts,” Nolan explained. “My brother and I thought we could do better, and our dad gave us permission to give it a try.”
They have produced 15 videos. Nolan writes the script and serves as the camera operator and editor. Connor is the wise-cracking spokesman with a penchant for mom and dad jokes.
Jeff Pastore, Nolan’s father, said the whole Scholastic experience has been fun for the entire family, but more importantly, it has been a genuine growing opportunity for Nolan.
“We have watched him grow to the point that Nolan is coming up with story ideas without any input from adults,” he explained. “He is also becoming so confident in his writing that he’s asserting himself with his editor by arguing to keep the original wording after she has proposed changes — and she accepts his version.”
The Scholastic organization requires that a parent accompany a young journalist on any interviews. During the first few interviews, Jeff or Mary interjected to ask a question or two of their own. Today, they have taken on more of an observer role as Nolan takes charge in putting the subject at ease and asking the questions.
“Nolan introduces us as his personal secretary and chauffeur,” Jeff explained. “The people he is interviewing generally chuckle at that and it sets a tone for the rest of the meeting.”
Although a career seems a long way off for the seventh grader, Nolan sees himself doing something that involves telling stories, either in written or video form.
“I just love telling stories in unique ways,” he explained. “I would enjoy being an author because authors can let their imaginations run wild!”
Until college, he’s already making an impact at his local school by participating in Power of the Pen, a creative writing competition team. He and two other seventh graders at his school will compete at a state-level competition in May.
His classmates have been exceptionally supportive of his work, Nolan said
“They are anxious to read my new stories, and always asking me what I’m working on next,” he explained.
So, what’s next?
Like a real journalist, Nolan’s not talking. He wants the scoop!
To read Nolan’s work, visit kpcnotebook.scholastic.com/user/292