High school students take over Jesuit publication

‘To publish a youth edition with any degree of authenticity we need to embrace the voices and perspectives of youth. You see the world through a very different lens to us’, said Jesuit Communications Director Monika Lancucki.

Six Catholic school students have contributed their insights and stories to the Spring 2019 edition of Australian Catholics magazine, distributed in schools and parishes across Australia last month.

The students took part in an internship program at Jesuit Communications in May, planning and writing articles for a special youth edition with the theme ‘Family life’.

Five of the youth interns attend the launch, from left: Mieke de Viries, Abbey Maffescioni, Chiara Fankhauser, Elise Ho and Beatrice Van Rest.

The student editors, with their families and teachers, gathered for the launch of the edition with Jesuit Communications staff at the Jesuit Province Office on Tuesday 27 August.

Jesuit Communications Director Monika Lancucki welcomed the students and their families at the launch, reflecting on the value of the internship program for the students and for Jesuit Communications.

‘This program offers students an opportunity to experience what it is like to work in publishing, as a journalist and as an editor’, she said.

‘It also offers the participants the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the power of words and language, their ability to influence, build awareness, shape attitudes and ultimately change behaviour. It also offers insight of the need to do that responsibly, with due consideration of the harm and good words and language can do to others.

‘But what I would like to share is the incredible value that the interns bring to us at Australian Catholics. To publish a youth edition with any degree of authenticity we need to embrace the voices and perspectives of youth.

‘You see the world through a very different lens to us. Youth who will inherit the world from the generations that have gone before it. And youth have great hope and dreams to shape a better tomorrow. This is what you bring.’

Australian Provincial Fr Brian McCoy was also at the launch, encouraging the students to keep sharing their voices with the world.

‘I hope that the experience that you writers have had, you’ll never forget: that there was a moment in your life when you wrote something really beautiful, you were helped to write it, and others recognised it, but [more importantly] you recognised it … Take pride in the gift you have, and use it well, because we need writers and poets and people who use words for our nation, for our country going forward, and you are the future who will do that.’

The students also shared something of their experience of the week at the launch.

‘I feel very grateful to have had my work published in an actual magazine, and to have been able to complete the internship with the other girls’, said Beatrice Van Rest from Avila College, Mt Waverley, Vic. ‘While at the time it was a bit challenging to manage year 11, my year 12 subject and article writing, it was worth it and a very satisfying thing to have done.’

Elise Ho, from St Aloysius College, North Melbourne, paid tribute to the various industry experts and speakers who appeared during the week, thanking them for their inspiration and insight. ‘Listening to these people gave me many ideas of what I want to do with my own writing in the future’, she said.

‘I’d like to thank the Jesuit Communications team for their warm welcome and many lessons during the internship. This made me very passionate about expressing my ideas in writing.’

Australian Catholics has been running its internship program since 2011. Each year the magazine turns one edition of the magazine over to high school students to be guest editors. Many of the young people who have been part of the program have gone on to be part of a young writers’ community, writing regularly for Australian Catholics and other Jesuit Communications publications including Eureka Street.

The six students involved in the program this year were Abbey Maffescioni and Chiara Fankhauser from St Ignatius College, Geelong; Elise Ho from St Aloysius College, North Melbourne; Mieke de Vries and Beatrice Van Rest from Avila College, Mt Waverley; and Kyla Dwyer from Kilbreda College, Mentone.

Working with the students during the internship program were Jesuit Communications Editorial Consultant Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ, Australian Catholics Editor Michael McVeigh, and Eureka Street Assistant Editor Neve Mahoney, who was a part of the internship program herself back in 2014.

You can find their stories in the latest print edition of the magazine, or at www.australiancatholics.com.au.

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