Reflections of a Healthy NewsWorks alum

Editor’s note: Josie Dillard became a health journalist while she was in elementary school at Hancock Elementary School in Norristown. She went on to be a key contributor for the Healthy Panther at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy. She is now a valued alum of the Healthy NewsWorks student media program.

March 2013…I am a reporter and book author. Wow. I never thought I’d write that sentence with my name in it.

Joining the newspaper opened many doors for me and gave me a confidence boost. I felt important interviewing and talking to teachers. Being on the newspaper also helped improve my writing.

Year after year since third grade, I became an avid journalist. It then led me to become an author. That was unexpected.

Never did I imagine that I would be a published author. Plus, I was published doing something I love. It was a huge step up for me.

It was amazing to get ready for my interviews with Dr. Neil Izenberg, CEO of, this year, and Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, last year, for “Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities”. Two other students and I interviewed Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey via Skype. It was a whole new experience and it was magical.

I felt completely professional and that we were making a big difference. We are just kids getting a wonderful opportunity to interview people so powerful and meaningful to other kids. I know our books are read by kids and adults of all ages. People are interested in what other people are doing to make a positive change.

This was an amazing experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am just glad that Healthy NewsWorks gave me these chances.

One day, I hope to be as inspiring as the people we write about in the book.

—By Josie Dillard, Norristown Area High School

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