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Community wins again because of you

As astute readers of the Sylvania Telephone, you probably noticed this week’s front-page article about the state advertising award won Friday by this publication.
If you did have an opportunity to review the article, I am sure you were quick to note that this latest honor for the Telephone did have the Sylvania newspaper’s name on the plaque, but it instead should have read “Screven County Community.”
At a Friday luncheon in Athens, I had the pleasure of accepting your award, which is on display in the Sylvania Telephone office next to six national recognitions for the newspaper’s Newspapers In Education program. The advertising award was for our county’s NIE program.
This is a community honor. Businesses, organizations, and private citizens jet propel the Telephone’s NIE program through paid sponsorships. I commend former, current and future sponsors to this program who have faith in our publication that we will report the happenings in our community accurately.
We are a newspaper staff few in number, but strong in commitment to the coverage of our county’s cities, towns and neighbors.
These days the lingo of children changes as rapid as the direction of a spring breeze shifts as the winds sweep across a flowery field.
With that said, I hope just some of the hundreds of children who receive the Telephone inside their classrooms each week can say “that part of the paper was off the chain.”
Maybe even a “now throw your hands up in the air. And wave’em around like you just don’t care” tossed in for good measure.
We’ll excuse the “just don’t care” segment because we know it is a much-used phrase, but I can fully assure you we care.
And by 70-plus sponsors listed as part of the Telephone’s NIE program, you too care. You care about the well being of your youth. You care about education. You care about the youth’s understanding of their community. You care about bolstering their ability to both read and comprehend.
You care because when your children smile you want the pleasure of learning to be seen in their eyes.
Your children are important and your love shown through NIE sponsorships show it.
We too grasp that our youth are vital.
We believe that showed through to the judges in the advertisement that received first place in the Georgia Press Association Advertising Contest April 16. As you read in the article on the front, the award came in the category of “Newspaper Promotion” for National Newspapers In Education Week, March 2-6, 2009.
It very easily could have been renamed “Community Promotion.”
The advertisement extended over two facing pages into what we in the “business” call a double-truck. The advertisement listed where the Telephone’s NIE papers are sent within the school system; which sponsors made the newspaper disbursement possible; a 214-year-old June 8, 1795, editorial from the Portland (Maine) Eastern Herald explaining the vitality of newspapers; and a sizable photograph of Screven County Elementary School fourth graders clutching a sign made in art class that had the words “Thank You Sponsors!”
During the 2008-2009 school year, the Telephone had 755 newspapers that were presented to students each week. Those papers were delivered in the morning to the Screven County Elementary School, Screven County Middle School, Screven County High School, Community Christian School, Ogeechee Technical College and AMIKids, formerly Savannah River Challenge.
The Telephone’s NIE program has earned six honors against the best of the best in the United States through the National Newspaper Association and Newspaper Association of America.
All of that is because of you.
One of the knocks on today’s youth is they don’t have enough knowledge about what is occurring around them unless it is tweeted or texted. And as a realist there is a better chance a teenager will tweet a message about the color of Lady Gaga’s hair than possible funding for new city underground piping.
But at least now the piping talk is an option.
Before, teens would not know when city and county boards met and certainly would not have a clue what they discussed at their last meeting.
Newspapers provide such an opportunity. Schools are learning institutions. Receiving newspapers in that educational climate provides students the chance to talk about local issues, view newspaper photographs of classmates and have fun reading.
NIE is a program that works.
Again, thanks to all of you.

Enoch Autry is the publisher-editor of the Sylvania Telephone.