The Paper Project Transitions Leadership

Dear Paper Project supporters,

Today marks my last day as director of The Paper Project, as I prepare to graduate high school in June. So much has happened since I first came up with idea of starting middle school papers as a 15-year-old high school sophomore. Two and a half years later, The Paper Project is an organization with a 20-member team, 40+ student participants, two schools, two student newspapers publishing a total of 12 issues so far, and four grants under our belt. Directing The Paper Project has been such a meaningful experience for me — I’ve had the chance to lead a talented team of high school journalists, and to share my passion for journalism and develop lasting relationships with my students. Thank you to all who helped me turn my idea into a reality.

We’ve been working hard this spring to expand our program and ensure its sustainability. We successfully expanded to a second middle school, Cardozo Education Campus, where we worked with a small group of students to produce the preview issue of their new student newspaper, Dozo News. And with a team of consultants provided by DC Social Innovation Project, we have been working on developing sustainable fundraising, transition, and expansion models to plan for The Paper Project’s future.

That future is looking bright, particularly because of The Paper Project’s fantastic new leaders. I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Zach Essig as Managing Director, Emma Buzbee as Fall Program Director, and Raina Weinstein as Spring Program Director for next year. Zach is a rising senior at Wilson High School who served as our business manager this year. In his role as Managing Director under our new governance structure, he will oversee the organization as a whole and the work of the Program Directors in leading operations at participating schools. Emma is a rising junior at Wilson who will lead our program at Chavez in the fall, and Raina is a rising senior at Sidwell Friends School who will lead our programs at Chavez and Cardozo in the winter and spring. I am confident that under their leadership, The Paper Project will continue to grow and thrive. We will also be establishing an Advisory Board this summer, and I look forward to serving as a member of that board.

I would like to thank all of the people who have supported me in launching The Paper Project. It is your ongoing support that has made it possible for the program to get to where it is today and survive beyond my time in high school. I hope you will continue to support The Paper Project as the next generation of leaders and mentors works to advance student journalism in DC. I can’t wait to see what they can do.


Claire Parker


Zach Essig – Managing Director

Zach Essig

“I am so excited to take on the role of Managing Director of the Paper Project. Having been a part of the Paper Project this year, I understand how important our work is. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of such an inspiring organization. As Managing Director, I will work diligently to ensure that the Paper Project continues on its already successful path!”

Emma Buzbee – Fall Program Director 


“I’m so excited to be the Fall Program Director for the Paper Project. The Paper Project has grown so much in the past year, and by the the end of next year at Chavez Prep, I hope to make The Eagle a self-sufficient paper. With the students’ enthusiasm for learning and continual development of their journalism and leadership skills, they will definitely be ready to take on this greater role. I’m thrilled to be the one helping them get there and I know this will be an amazing year for The Paper Project.”

Raina Weinstein – Spring Program Director


“I look forward to taking on a larger role in The Paper Project. Claire has worked incredibly hard to create the program and I am deeply grateful to her for introducing us to this amazing opportunity. Working with the middle schoolers has been immensely rewarding. I constantly tell students that The Eagle is a better paper than our high school’s. I’m excited to continue our work with Cesar Chavez PCS and to help the Cardozo students create a community forum to elevate the discourse within their school.”

We’re expanding!


The Paper Project is thrilled to announce that we will be expanding to Cardozo Education Campus’ Middle School in March! We can’t wait to start another DC middle school newspaper and bring student journalism to Cardozo. Thank you to all of our supporters who have made it possible for us to expand our reach and fulfill our mission!