Fairfax County fourth-grader wins TIME student journalist award


FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax County fourth-grader Ethan Zhang can now add “published journalist” to his resume at the young age of just nine years old.

Zhang, a student at Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, is a finalist in TIME for Kids student journalist competition.

“I’ve always had a love of writing since I was young and I also like to read about what’s going on in the world. Journalism is combining both,” said Zhang.

It’s that love and desire to make a difference that pushed Zhang to pursue his passion even further, penning a feature piece on the school’s nutrition director Maria Perrone — and how she has played a role in serving 14.5 million free breakfasts to students during the pandemic.

“This program has been delivering free meals to families and children throughout FCPS, and I thought her work trying to reduce the amount of child hunger has been very important,” said Zhang.

The article won Zhang the honor of being published on the TIME for Kids website. The fourth-grader is one of only ten students selected nationwide.

“I felt very happy that I could write for time for kids and I also felt very proud of myself,” said Zhang.

Teachers and staff at Churchill Road Elementary say Zhang is a terrific student, and it’s an honor well deserved.

“To have him be able to use the things that he’s learned at our school, and be able to implement them into his own writing, and then to be recognized by TIME for it…is just a very exciting opportunity for our school,” said Principal Cherith Pierson.

Zhang still has a lot of time before he has to decide on his career path but he says strongly considering journalism.

Who knows — maybe you’ll see more of his articles in the pages of TIME in the future.

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