Ryan Stoltz, 14, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, an eighth-grader at Central Middle School, has spent more than 1,000 hours over the past four years researching and writing 57 news stories as a reporter for the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, and is also working to supply free hearing aids to people in need around the world. Concerned about frequent attacks on the news media, Ryan is “inspired to deliver facts to people in a fair and unbiased manner,” he said, and considers it his “patriotic duty to uphold and continue the legacy of a free press.” He looks for story ideas that can empower and give voice to young people, pitches them to his editor in New York, conducts research and interviews, and submits his finished pieces for publication on Scholastic’s website, which is available to more than 35 million students.
Ryan became interested in the subject of hearing loss after doing a story on the Starkey Hearing Foundation. So far, he has led seven work sessions in which more than 150 volunteers recruited by Ryan have assembled nearly 24,000 hearing aids for the foundation. He also is planning to participate in a foundation mission to help fit children in Mexico with hearing aids, and then produce video and print news stories to share his experience with classrooms across the country. “I hope my story will inspire other kids to contemplate the ways in which they can make a positive difference in their communities,” he said.