Local girl starts paper

The editor in her newsroom. SAMUEL PICCOLO PHOTO

Alexx Hill, 11, has published five editions of “Pelham Corners”


Pelham readers are lucky to have an independent newspaper in town—and became all the more fortunate this summer when 11-year-old Alexx Hill added her own paper into the mix. Five issues of “Pelham Corners” have been printed so far, all of which were written, published, and delivered by Hill herself.

Hill, who lives with her family on Effingham Street near Webber Road, was first struck by the idea at the end of school in June. In her fifth grade class at St. Alexander Elementary, she learned about others who had started their own local newspapers, and she quickly knew that she wanted to do the same.

“A few years ago, when I was thinking about what I wanted to do when I grow up, it just popped in to my head that I wanted to be an author—so I thought that writing a paper would be a great thing to do,” she said. Hill told her parents what she was going to do (there was no asking involved, she clarified), and then conferred with a neighbour, Teresa, who suggested hosting a contest to name the paper, and chipped in a Tim Horton’s gift card as a prize. Hill received a number of submissions, but soon settled on “Pelham Corners.” And from there, all she had to do was solicit news from her neighbours to fill the page.

“I went out and asked some families I know, and they brought me all sorts of news,” she said. New pets featured heavily in Hill’s early issues, but she has since eagerly included upcoming birthdays and a weather report.

Hill wrote out the first two issues in longhand, though she has now graduated to a computer and laser printer, which, she said, makes things go faster. “It’s a great excuse to practice typing.”

The issues are still kept to only one page, though going digital means that Hill now has the potential to put out longer papers. If there’s the news for it, that is.

Her sister Kate, who is nine, has even helped out a little and arranged for a local survey, the results of which were printed in Pelham Corners.

“I asked people their favourite foods, and whether they preferred camping in a tent or in a camper,” Kate said. The camper won out, and Kate speculated that people liked to be safely dry and free from bugs.

The girls’ mother, Jen, was understandably proud of how her daughters have been spending their summer. Jen and her husband, Ian, started reading to Alexx when she was “probably about a week old,” something that they still do, though Alexx is now pleased to be able to read Harry Potter by herself and go at her own pace.

Jenn also said that she and Ian “always made sure our kids know how important neighbours are. So they’ve always known them, but Alexx is now helping us know what’s happening around here even better.”

Both Alexx and Jen have been pleased with how supportive the neighbours have been. Pelham Corners is delivered to about ten homes, and Alexx asks that recipients leave 25¢ in her mailbox, money she is collecting to donate to Pelham Cares. Along with funds from the paper, she sells homemade bracelets for 50¢ and puts that money in Pelham Cares’ pot, too, and has collected $46.50 so far.

“Minus six dollars,” Kate said to her. “You lost six dollars.”

“Shhh,” Alexx replied. “You’re not supposed to say that! And I found it anyway.”

Whether the actual amount is $46.50 or $40.50, Alexx is looking forward to dropping the funds off at Pelham Cares. For as long as she can remember, the birthday parties she’s had with her friends have been donation ones, and so she is a veteran philanthropist in addition to being a fledgling journalist.

While the first day of school was quickly approaching, Alexx hoped to publish one more edition of Pelham Corners before returning to St. Alexander. Once back to school, combined with figure skating, piano, and guitar lessons, she concedes that it may be tough to churn out those stories, but is confident that she can keep the presses running.

“I might have to do one issue every three weeks,” she said. “But I’ll still keep doing it.”

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