A Lafayette 10-year-old is making headlines across the nation, and writing her own, after becoming Louisiana’s only Scholastic reporter for the 2019-2020 Scholastic Kids Press.

Zhorie’l Tapo, a fifth-grader at L.J. Alleman, has been making headlines since the first grade.

She’s now serving on the team of reporters with 49 other students, ages 10-14, representing the United States, Puerto Rico and several countries around the world.

Her first viral video is when she gave a speech about leadership at just 6-years-old. She also wrote and recited a ‘Leader in Me’ speech for a contest she won in 2016.

 “A leader can be anybody. So, a janitor, a school bus driver…” Tapo said.

In Zhoriel’s reporter application for Scholastic Kids Press she wrote an article entitled “No Matter Your Age, You Can Make a Difference.”

 “To write and learn new things about your community and see what people have a big impact on it,” she described what she loved most about writing.

Previously known as Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, the award-winning program is in its 20th year and encourages student involvement in current events, by telling the stories from their perspective.

“It just feels very special you know because I’m the only one in Louisiana and I have to cover all the events in Louisiana,” Tapo said.

The young journalist submits story ideas to an editor, grabs her notebook and recorder,  then heads out with mom and dad. Her first stop was in New Orleans, covering a STEM event.

“I talked to a lot of people from NASA, Ochsner, and a lot of people from Chevron. It was a really big deal because it was my first event,” she added.

The rising star’s latest recognition was a national interview on Access Online.

“I wanted to cry, but I said no don’t cry. My mom started to cry after it was done. My dad, he’s a man so you know he didn’t cry,” said Tapo.

Zhorie’l will be covering events throughout Louisiana, the region and nation on topics including entertainment, sports, and breaking news.

In addition to taking talented theater classes at Alleman, Zhorie’l enjoys playing volleyball, singing in church, playing the violin and acting. She has appeared in several commercials, episodic television series, and movies filmed throughout Louisiana.

Kid Reporter stories are published on the program’s website and featured in select issues of Scholastic Classroom Magazines, which reach more than 25 million students in classrooms nationwide.

Click here, to learn more about Scholastic Kids Press.