By EMMA CHANG
Paw Prints, Paw Prints, Paw Prints, our staff’s up to something…woo!
If you do not recognize those lyrics, they are from the promotional video we released in 2016. Four years later, the staff of Volume 52 is in the works of filming our own promotional video and accepting applications. Though this fact may not resonate with many people, just the idea that I, alongside our amazing staff, are carrying on the legacy of our incredible program is one that I will never get used to.
As a freshman not knowing anything about journalism or what I wanted to do in high school, I would never have imagined being Editor-in-Chief or leading the program that I have come to love so dearly. The past two and a half years have been overflowing with laughs, learning and growth and I only have the staff members of Volume 50, 51 and 52 to thank.
For the longest time, I searched for something on campus that would be my thing. Everyone I knew at the time was involved in something, whether it be a sport, dance or art, and I could not help but feel lackluster in comparison to those around me.
Over the summer before freshman year, I had taken up tennis and attended the camp after summer school. Through this, I was introduced to Victoria, the Editor-in-Chief at the time. The title itself was so intimidating, but other than that, I did not give Paw Prints much thought.
That all changed when Victoria personally reached out to me and asked me if I was interested in applying. I had never actually considered the program, given the timing of the situation, but soon found fervently filling out an application and anxiously awaiting Victoria’s reply to schedule an interview.
From there, I did the interview and a week after starting school, I was officially enrolled in Journalism. Being one of the only two freshmen in the program, it is safe to say I was quite nervous. At first, everything seemed like it happened all at once—deadlines, interviews, articles, editing. Writing and editing a complete article in four days? Every week? That is what went through my head on the very first day, along with “What had I gotten myself into?”
Despite all my prior anxiety, I quickly became immersed in the hustle culture of our program and found my own place in the well-oiled machine of Paw Prints Weekly and the staff of Volume 50. As a staff writer, a typical week consisted of receiving a section, creating a topic and spending the week crafting my article and getting interviews to have something perfect and paper-ready by Friday.
Unsurprisingly, freshman me felt overwhelmed and stressed at times, but at the end of the day, it would always be fifth period Journalism that I looked forward to. Issue after issue, article after article, the year flew by and before I realized it, it was time to prepare for banquet. In what felt like days, an entire year had passed and my time with the staff of Volume 50 had come to an end.
Looking back, I have nothing but endless memories of laughter, learning and fun. I am so blessed and lucky to have had been a part of such a dynamic year, with such a supportive editorial board and staff. Volume 50 was also the year I truly discovered myself and my passion for sports writing. Shocking, I know.
In actuality, I learned almost everything I know today from my Sports editor predecessor, Lourdes. Although I was never especially close to her, I frequently wrote for the Sports section and worked with her over weekends and outside of class.
Towards the latter part of the year came our annual writing competition, the East Los Angeles Journalism Education Association (ELAJEA). Feeling like I had no preference for what I competed in, I chose News, one of the several writing sections offered for journalists at ELAJEA, only to be told by Victoria that I would be writing Sports.
Funnily enough, my section had already been decided and with that, I began to prepare. During the few preparatory weeks before the competition, I was able to really get to work with and communicate with Lourdes, who had always been nothing but kind and patient with my not always perfect writing.
In the weeks after, ELAJEA came and went and I finished with a certificate in Sports writing of all things, and on my way to compete at Southern California Journalism Education Association (SCJEA). That year, I also placed alongside Lourdes at SCJEA.
To say the least, I was ecstatic and overwhelmed with pride. In that moment, I genuinely felt accomplished with how far I had come and even now, owe a large of this accomplishment to Lourdes’ wisdom.
In fact, her kindness and guidance would ultimately give me the courage to apply for Sports editor the following year. Once more, I found myself in front of Victoria and Eva, trying to illustrate myself as someone who had the potential to take Lourdes’ place. By some miracle, I was in fact chosen, despite my ironic lack of sports knowledge. As Lourdes once said, the only sport I do is edit.
Eventually, the spring semester came to an end and before I knew it, banquet had come and I was listening to Victoria, Eva and the other editors give their final goodbye speeches. It was everything you would expect it to be and at the same time, something I will never forget.
In short, 2018 was one for the books.
Sophomore year came around and I found myself in an unfamiliar position once again. Being the only underclassmen editor on our board was an immense amount of pressure and I was constantly anxious and stressed. Would I be good enough? How would it feel like to be in a position of authority over upperclassmen who might have known more than I did?
Fortunately for me, our Editor-in-Chief Melanie doubled as my Co-Sports editor and was there to guide me. After the first two weeks of the year, I got back into the motions of our busy schedule. Despite the new position, I was in the program I loved and realized all my initial anxieties had no place in my role.
Amongst all of the responsibilities that accompanied my academic schedule, extracurriculars and personal life, Journalism has always been one of my anchors. I never would have imagined myself assuming the role of Editor-in-Chief, let alone leading the entire program. As with any organization, we have had our share of ups and downs, but I would not trade the entire experience for anything.
Thus, if you are reading this and considering whether or not to apply for Journalism, take it from me and give it a shot! We would love to have new additions to our Journalism family. More information on how to apply can be found on our website, pawprintsweekly.com!