A class to be thankful for


Being on the newspaper and yearbook staff for three years in a row has taught me more than I thought it would. I joined the Yearbook and Journalism class as a sophomore, and even though I attempted to drop the class after the first day because I thought it was overwhelming, Mr. Battaglini convinced me to stay and I’m glad that’s what happened.

I joined this class because I participated in the Monterey County Youth Media writing workshop the summer going into my sophomore year and that’s where my passion for writing grew even further. I saw the class as an opportunity to improve my writing skills and I always wondered what it was like to create a school yearbook, so I took a chance.

I remember coming into the class and not knowing what a yearbook spread was, not knowing how to use a camera at all, and having little experience with interviewing others. I was also one of two sophomores in the class and the rest of the students were mostly seniors so it was definitely a little intimidating being there, but thankfully everyone was kind enough to guide me and teach me all I needed to know.

As far as the yearbook aspect of the class, the first spread I ever worked on back in 2017 was for the Engineering Academy and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. Although the spread itself was not the most creative, Ms. Westerbeck, the academy advisor, definitely helped me write an informational story by giving me an in-depth understanding of the academy. I also enjoyed taking pictures in their workspace and used that time as a chance to learn how to properly use a camera. I’ll never forget asking my classmate at the time, Cristina Alcantar, for major help on how to work a camera’s settings every time I was off to capture photos the first few days. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the other staff members’ guidance that’s for sure.

Apart from the yearbook, I had a blast writing for the school newspaper, The Trojan Tribune. My first story focused on Ciclovía Salinas, a community program that holds a special place in my heart because of the opportunities it gave me and the impact it continues to have on the community. As I was writing this story, I was aware of the limitless expression that came along with it. I was able to write about a topic I was interested in and voice my opinion without having to follow a certain structure and it was a major reason why I enjoyed writing in this class.

Although I enjoyed working on both publications, I’d have to be biased and say I preferred the newspaper over the yearbook. Being the newspaper editor for two years taught me responsibility and I learned more about certain styles of writing and what is expected from them and I can say I grew as a writer, all while helping my peers become better writers themselves, to the best of my ability.

Without a doubt, I learned so much working on the yearbook as well. In total, I worked on fourteen spreads, including clubs, sports, events, and staff retirement pages. The three spreads I enjoyed working on the most would have to be those for the Cool Speak event in 2018, Dr. Bernasconi’s farewell, and the Real Care Baby Think It Over Program for Health Science. I discovered that interviewing people is something I cherish because I get to see people’s faces light up as they speak about their achievements and passions, or their determination to let their voice be heard when something doesn’t sit right with them. Eventually, I got the hang of taking notes, recording interviews, and listening to the interviewees all at once. I’d also like to think that my creativity grew based on the progress I’ve seen in the book throughout the years.

For the newspaper, I wrote a total of ten stories (eleven including this one) and they have all been based on my interests. I learned most from covering community events and showcasing people’s achievements since that is what I liked to do the most. I enjoyed showing up to events and talking to people who I had not come across until I interviewed them for a story. I have built relationships with teachers, students, and community members, and for that I will forever be grateful.

My time in this class is something I will always appreciate and will not forget. I would like to thank Mr. Battaglini for the huge opportunity of becoming the newspaper editor and trusting in me to look over my peers’ stories. My experiences in this class would also have not been as special if it wasn’t for my friends who taught me how to use a camera, covered an event for me when I wasn’t available to show up, and went to events and interviews with me. A special thank you goes out to Angela Gregorio for always being by my side when it came to attending after school and lunch events, it’s always helpful to have a friend’s support.

My senior year of high school was cut short, but I’m glad that I have something to remember my time here by. These three years taught me a great amount of responsibility, but most importantly they taught me how to socialize more and the importance of being actively involved in both school and my community, while keeping the public informed.