Maricopa’s mayor urged young journalism students at Leading Edge Academy to make a difference by getting involved in their community. 

“Your voice is extremely important,” Nancy Smith told 6th through 8th-graders at the K-11 charter school on North Porter Road.

“You can’t believe how many young people are of age to vote and don’t do it.” 

Smith spoke to students this morning after she was interviewed by 11-year-old six-grader, Harley, a reporter on the Leading Edge Academy student publication What’s Up Wolves. 

The academy has about 700 students and nearly 100 staff members, said Amy Sundeen, the school’s 4th-8th grade principal.

The monthly What’s Up Wolves publication, which was launched this year, goes bi-weekly in January, according to journalism and science teacher Joni Lochtefeld. The first issue was 13 pages full of feature stories and photos.

Lochtefeld said she worked closely with students for the first issue of What’s Up Wolves. 

“Now they are doing their own work,” Lochtefeld said, adding the students are quickly learning their fact-gathering and writing skills. 

Smith called on student journalists to dig deep into their subjects and find the whole story. 

“I think that what you’ll find is there’s more behind the story,” she said. 

Joseph Harvey, academy’s counselor and advisor to the student council, was also on hand. It was his idea to develop the newspaper.

“We just wanted the students to have a voice, Harvey said.