Pulkkinen nominated for Junior Citizen award

Writing News articles, maintaining an online publication, playing the drums and collecting war memorabilia for his own Remembrance Day museum are all part of Carlan Pulkkinen’s routine.

The 13-year-old Grade 8 student at Aberfoyle Public School, but it’s his activities outside of academia that earned him a nomination for the Ontario Junior Citizen award from the Ontario Community Newspapers Association.

“Carlan takes great pride in all he does and is very conscientious in every aspect of his life,” neighbour Vicky Chartrand wrote in her nomination letter. “I am truly proud to have him as my neighbour and as my friend.”

A couple of years ago Pulkkinen began publishing a hand written newspaper that relayed news on his street.

“He was 10 when he started it and I don’t even know … where it even came from,” said Pulkkinen’s mom, Caroline Adams. “He all of a sudden started interviewing; like he would interview neighbours and find out what new and exciting things were happening in their lives and then he’d write a little story.”

In some of his early papers he had stories about one neighbour getting a new dog and another neighbour retiring. But Pulkkinen and his mother weren’t sure if people were reading what he wrote.

“They may have been surprised because some people probably don’t even know us, necessarily, we’re in a rural area so not everybody on the street knows each other, but they’d all of a sudden be getting this paper,” Adams said.

After two hand-written papers to approximately four neighbours, Pulkkinen began typing the stories and delivering the Newspaper to 10 or 12 houses on his street.

“I like writing,” Pulkkinen said. “I guess I didn’t really like writing stories and stuff but I liked writing News articles because it’s, I guess, a different kind of format.”

About a year ago he decided he was using too much paper, so he  moved to an online format. He still writes about local News, but he has also branched out to national and international stories.

“When I write an article … I find an article on CBC or something and then I just write about it and then use that information,” Pulkkinen explained.

However, with school and other commitments he can’t write as often as he would like, so his site is not one he’d recommend for breaking News – but it could offer deeper insight.

“Sometimes I look at more than one News site because there might be details on one where there’s not on the other,” he said.

One of the stories that he’s most proud of is his coverage of the 2015 federal election.

“It’s like a whole list of everything that happened, and promises and everything,” he said. “I worked really hard  … I spent a lot of time on that and I think it turned out well and I got it out just before the election, so that’s good.”

Apart from journalism, another one of Pulkkinen’s passions is history.

He even has a Remembrance Day museum that he puts together each year around Nov. 11 for his friends and family.

Pulkkinen’s great grandfather fought in the Second World War so the family has a helmet, a coat and a piece of shrapnel from the era that is included in the museum.

Pulkkinen also collected pieces on his own and received a memorabilia set for his birthday.

Last year he decided to expand the museum and instead of setting the items up in his bedroom he moved the display to the family’s basement and had to borrow tables from his neighbour.

He even included information cards for all of the items.

“I thought it would be good to show all that to the people who have fought to keep our country free and I’m just interested in it,” he said. “It’s fun setting it up and showing everybody who likes to come and see it.”

Though he plans to run it again this year, Pulkkinen said he doesn’t think he’ll make the display quite as big.

Adams also indicated there was a possibility that the family could take the Remembrance Day museum on the road this year.

“I work in a hospital, with a lot of vets, so we talked about perhaps taking it on the road so that they could share in it as well,” she said.

When Pulkkinen isn’t writing for his paper, collecting for his Remembrance Day museum or doing school work, he’s a drummer in two bands through Jam School in Guelph, where he performs about once a month. He is also a scout in Scouts Canada.

In September Pulkkinen will begin high school and though he doesn’t know what he wants to do in the future, he said being a journalist, a musician and a pilot are definite possibilities.

He also hopes to keep his newspaper running while he’s in high school.