Laya Kotihal: Scholastic Kid Reporter
The award-winning Scholastic Kids Press program allows kid reporters to cover politics, entertainment, the environment, sports and their hometowns. The Scholastic Kids Press is “news for kids, by kids!” Tulsa’s own Laya Kotihal, a fifth-grade student at University School, has been given the honor to be one of Scholastic’s Kid Reporters. Laya’s articles can be found online at the Scholastic Kids Press website or Scholastic Magazines+ ; these stories will reach more than 25 million readers in classrooms across the nation!
TK: What is the Scholastic Kids Press program? How were you selected?
Laya: The Scholastic Kids Press program gives kids ages 10–14 from across the country and around the world a chance to write about current events and learn more about the art of journalism.
To apply for the program, I went online, where I entered some basic information about myself, provided a sample article I wrote about a topic in my community, and an essay explaining why I would like to join Scholastic Kids Press. After my application was submitted, it was reviewed and selected as one of the 36 kids chosen to be part of this program.
TK: Who are some of the memorable people you have interviewed?
Laya: Some of the memorable people I have interviewed include Rabbi Kaiman from Congregation B’nai Emunah, Deacon Hamel from Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma, and Tung Nguyen, a former Vietnamese refugee.
TK: What is your favorite interview?
Laya: I think my favorite interview was with Rabbi Kaiman. This was because I got more in-depth and bigger answers, and it was in-person. It was fun, too.
TK: What made you start writing? How long have you been writing?
Laya: In fourth grade, my creative writing teacher, Mrs. Lindsey, told us we would be writing a bunch of creative stories, and that we would make them into a book. I think that assignment was a little spark in getting me to apply to the Scholastic Kids Press program. I have been writing short stories for fun for a while, but I only started journalism through Scholastic Kids Press about a month or two ago.
TK: Where have you been published?
Laya: I wrote creative writing stories at school, but technically it wasn’t officially “published.” All Kids Press stories will appear online at www.scholastic.com/kidspress , and some articles might be featured in issues of Scholastic Magazines+, which reach more than 25 million students in classrooms nationwide!
TK: What advice do you have for other children who want to follow your path?
Laya: My advice is: Write your heart out, for that’s where the writing starts. Also don’t procrastinate — I know this from personal experience!
TK: Who inspires you?
Laya: I think all my teachers, friends and family inspire me because they help me every step of the way and help me grow into a better person.
TK: What do you want to do when you get older?
Laya: To be truthful, I don’t know. I don’t like to dwell on it because I just get distracted, but I think I would love it to have something to do with science, robotics, or the arts.
TK: What other hobbies do you have?
Laya: I do a lot of arts, and I play the piano, volleyball, soccer and basketball for fun. I’m also in a robotics club at school.
TK: What is a fun fact about you?
Laya: I’m a big Harry Potter and Percy Jackson nerd. I love Japanese culture, and I love robotics.
To learn more or to read Laya’s articles, go to www.scholastic.com/kidspress; Twitter: https://twitter.com/KidsPress; Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kidspress