Senior reflects on journalism experience
Senior Danielle St. Marie considers her past journalism experience after winning a second Pacemaker while on The Feather staff, realizing her years of hard work have payed off.
You would think that sitting in a room with over 3000 people waiting to hear if The Feather won a Pacemaker, April14, would cause some nerves, but for some reason I was completely calm and relaxed.
After taking Stobbe's freshman English class and hearing him nag me every day to join journalism, I finally decided to give it a go my sophomore year. At first I was skeptical because I never considered myself to be a good writer and that is exactly what journalism entails.
Although it's been two years, I still remember journalism that year; it was the last period of the day and the editor in the period was alumnus Austin Ward, '11, who was the News Editor as a junior. Even though I knew he was a nice guy, I was completely afraid to talk to him about anything revolving around journalism, feeling like he was superior to me.
The first time I wrote an article, Austin returned it to me completely covered in red markings and said, "Don't be discouraged; it's just your first attempt." As any newbie underclassman, I was crushed, thinking I had actually done a good job, and even questioned if I should stay in journalism.
Through the advice of my mom, I decided to give the class an entire year and learn what I could even if I never did it again; I stayed and learned a lot. After the school year was over I had already made the conscience decision that I would continue journalism throughout my high school career, but becoming an editor never crossed my mind.
I received a text message from Austin over the summer while I was on vacation with my family, which congratulated me of becoming the News Editor for the upcoming year. I was ecstatic and honored that I had earned a position on the editing staff. Once I received this message, I realized that both Austin and Adviser Greg Stobbe recognized that I must have strong abilities in journalism and could appropriately complete the job.
Throughout my junior year, I continued to learn more about the process of editing articles and photos, which would then help me in my senior year. This year has by far been the most hands-on year of journalism, which is expected as Senior Editor. On average, I can spend about 10 hours outside of the classroom doing journalism, whether it be off-campus interviewing, editing articles, photos, creating slideshows, videos and the other tedious tasks in any given week.
"Even though it did not feel like I won my sophomore year, in the long run I actually did. By learning the basics and the dedication to stick with journalism through thick and thin, I ultimately won the satisfaction my last year in high school, and that will last a lifetime." -- Danielle St. Marie, Senior Editor
With all of this being said, one can see why winning awards my senior year would mean more than my sophomore year. Yes, we did win a Pacemaker my first year, but since all I did was write articles I felt like I didn't earn the award. However, this year meant something . . . and last year would have too, if we were a finalist.
Since the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) gave The Feather a Silver Crown in March, most of us were not expecting a win for the Pacemaker. Despite what others said, part of me felt like just because we won a Silver didn't mean we couldn't win a Pacemaker, and guess what? Yeah, we won one.
I think since we felt like we weren't going to win, none of us had our hopes up, no nerves, no anxiety. Of course once I heard we won, all of us editors jumped up to accept the award and were flying high the rest of the day.
Even though it did not feel like I won my sophomore year, in the long run I actually did. By learning the basics and the dedication to stick with journalism through thick and thin, I ultimately won the satisfaction my last year in high school, and that will last a lifetime.
Senior Danielle St. Marie will attend California State University, Fresno in the fall and has been accepted into the Lyles College of Engineering and will study Mechanical Engineering.
For more information about winning the Pacemaker, read the April 16 article, Feather accepts fourth Pacemaker.