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Coal Crackers

Krista Gromalski ’91 Launches Newspaper Written By Students in Pennsylvania’s Coal Region

By Bill Thomas ’13

Gromalski counsels two student journalists.

Gromalski counsels two student journalists. PHOTO BY CHUCK ZOVKO

Several members of the Coal Cracker staff are gathered around a table, discussing story ideas for the independent newspaper’s next issue. On the agenda is a look at the current state of music programs in area schools, the first installment of a humorous advice column and a historical retrospective focusing on the effects of the infamous Centralia mine fire.

It’s a scene you’d find in any newsroom, except this one is on the second floor of the Mahanoy City Public Library in Schuylkill County, Pa. The reporters range in age from 8 to 14.

“I came upon this idea at a time in my life where I was thinking a lot about where I’m from. This area has great history, but it is changing,” Coal Cracker creator Krista Gromalski ’91 says, referring to Mahanoy City, her hometown and the base of operations for the fledgling newspaper. Continue reading


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