BELLE HARBOR — The Tablet newspaper has been a part of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s lifeline since 1908.
More than 110 years later, the diocesan newspaper will launch its first-ever monthly four-page pullout for young students in kindergarten through eighth grade called “The Tablet Jr.”
The idea stemmed from a proposal by Laura Hickey, a staff member from DeSales Media Group’s educational service department, CTN
She grew up in the diocese and her educational formative years were spent in the Catholics, a tradition she passed on to her four children. After spending 22 years as a schoolteacher, Hickey saw the need for more religious resources both in classrooms and in parish faith formation classes.
Her ultimate goal with The Tablet Jr. is that students in churches and schools across the diocese will gain a connection with the church so that when they are older, they will become active members of their parish and diocese.
“The Tablet was a big part of my youth, as my children’s youth,” Hickey said. “What makes this Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens unique is that it’s rich in tradition and The Tablet is part of that tradition. So bringing new readers will keep that tradition alive.”
Every month during the academic year, The Tablet Jr. will have a specific Catholic theme or perspective. It will include two feature stories written by diocesan middle school students, as well as artwork submissions. CTN will provide writing resources as guides for teachers and students.
Incorporating curriculum that includes faith-based topics and writing comes naturally for Nancy Re, a fifth and sixth grade English language arts and religion teacher at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy in Belle Harbor. Two students from her school were chosen as the inaugural The Tablet Jr. writers.
Re said that her students were familiar with writing about Catholic topics — such as submissions to the pope asking for the late Father Mychal Judge, O.F.M., to be canonized. The Franciscan friar and FDNY chaplain died on 9/11 as he tended to the injured at the World Trade Center.
Another group of her students wrote opinion pieces about newly canonized saints for All Saints Day. Her background in Catholic newswriting was formed at the same exact location as her current students, but years before when it was called St. Francis de Sales School.
“My hope long term would be that perhaps they would learn enough that we could start a school newspaper here because I really think they can have one,” Re said. “I know when I was a student here we had a school newspaper called the Desales Surfer, and I have wonderful memories of being on the paper. I would love for them to have the same experience.”
Click the links below to read more about The Tablet Jr.