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The Monty Times Proves Age Is Just a Number

By Annabelle Wang l May 11, 2021

For sixth graders Pranav Karthikeyan and Pranav Marrey, information is integral to establishing a relationship between individuals and the world. So, when they realized in April of 2020 that a lot of people either did not have access to accurate news or could not process it easily, they mobilized. Using the resources virtually available to them, they founded The Monty Times as fifth graders and have not looked back since.

Pranav Karthikeyan (left) and Pranav Marrey (right), both members of the Class of 2027, hold up a printed copy of The Monty Times, a school newspaper they co-founded.

The Monty Times, as co-founder Marrey states, is “a newspaper where we teach others about interesting topics about the ever-changing world around them.” The newspaper is split into four sections: Science, Sports, Entertainment, and Global News. Currently, 12 articles are published per week in three sets that are spread across Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The idea first struck the two Pranavs when they began documenting what was happening with the pandemic to better understand it. To help others gain that same understanding, they developed a plan for a newspaper to distribute the information. After presenting the proposal to their then-homeroom teacher Mrs. Botero, they set up a Google Doc to formally start The Monty Times.

Mrs. Botero is only one of their faculty supporters at Lower Middle School (LMS). LMS Librarian Ms. Linck, Principal Mr. Richards, and Vice Principal Mrs. Romano also actively promote The Monty Times by publishing the link on their Google Classrooms. Ms. Linck also manages the new form of their newspaper, a Google Site, which they switched to in January of 2021.

This working relationship has helped the students reach others in LMS, UMS and VES. However, as the two work on expanding their audience within the Montgomery school district, their ultimate goal is to make their Google Site, currently only viewable by those with MTSD Google accounts, accessible to everyone across the globe.

While The Monty Times is currently not accepting more writers, the co-founders hope to hire more when they move to UMS next year. The co-founders expressed the most uncertainty regarding this transition, acknowledging that as students grow older, they develop new interests and can take advantage of a greater variety of classes, all of which could lead writers away from The Monty Times.

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One of the greatest lessons the two have learned so far is to keep both their team and their focus simple. At one-point last year, they had to manage 25 writers on a single Google Doc. The chaos, combined with skepticism that the newspaper would really take off, caused multiple writers to drop out of the team after that issue.

The conflict highlighted a challenge Karthikeyan and Marrey had to face when they started their newspaper as fifth graders. 40 percent of their team were sixth graders, meaning almost half of the newspaper needed to take directions from younger students. When their team of 25 collapsed, with some claiming it a waste of time, Marrey recalled that it “motivated us to show that even though we’re not the older kids in the school, we can still do big things and do what sixth graders can do. It doesn’t matter if we’re younger.”

Now, The Monty Times features a team of 12, including Karthikeyan and Marrey. With big aspirations for a global newspaper, Karthikeyan and Marrey stay focused by concentrating on their larger purpose: to inspire others to “engage with their own interests and develop their own passions. Our goal is for them to Google more about the topics in our articles and research it themselves.”

*Their newspaper is available at this link. However, it can only be viewed by MTSD accounts.


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