UNION — Though their feelings toward the publication have since changed, the students in Donna Munro’s classroom were not impressed with The Courier-Gazette at first.

Munro reported initial reactions from students were complaints they could not find information, lamentations about coverage they were not interested in and assertions their grandparents read The Courier and newspapers were “for old people.”

Those same students are now excited to engage with the newspaper each week, and complaints arise if they do not receive their weekly paper.

“Every week brings a new discovery!” Munro said.

Munro’s fourth grade class at Union Elementary School is part of the Newspapers In Education program, a partnership between schools and the newspaper industry to provide free online and printed newspaper subscriptions to local classrooms.

The 2022-2023 school year is the first year The Courier-Gazette has participated in this program, and through this inaugural effort there are more than 300 print copies of The Courier going to Midcoast students every week, as well as more than 800 online subscriptions.

“Newspapers in Education has been an awesome program to teach non-fiction text features, current events, and how to find information you are searching for,” Munro said. Her students have found photos of district student athletes, interesting arts events, details about the newspaper and advertisements for all kinds of items.

“Newspapers in Education has broadened their world!” Munro said.

While her students were initially unsure how to navigate a newspaper, now they can readily flip to whatever section they want to read the articles that interest them. Munro said they are even reluctant to place copies of the newspaper under art projects, cautioning each other not to ruin the various sections.

“In the beginning of the year many papers were deposited in the recycle bin,” Munro said. “Now they all want to take them home each week.”

The most recent discovery the students made were coupon flyers. “Snipping scissors sounds were heard from every desk,” Munro said.

Munro teases her students now about being old grandparents reading their newspapers in the mornings. She said they smile and tell her, “Yup, we are!”

For more information about the Newspapers in Education program in Knox and Waldo counties, visit: mainestaymedia.com/newspapers-in-education.

Jaxson Boehike enjoys reading The Courier-Gazette in his classroom at Union Elementary School. Photo by Donna Munro

Gabriel Farley browses the classified ads in class at Union Elementary School. Photo by Donna Munro

Ellsie Snider-Knapp reads the sports section in Donna Muno’s fourth grade classroom at Union Elementary School. Photo by Donna Munro