Alyssa Nguyen (2014)

“We need to keep a pulse on this school.” The words of my journalism advisor stuck with me. The previous year’s newspaper staff had published four times the entire year and was on the verge of becoming irrelevant and nearly forsaken. No one knew when it was going to be published and no one seemed to care. This year, under a new adviser, our tiny team of nine students were called into a summer meeting. There, the situation was assessed.  Our school did not have a method or system of communication. No one heard the oral announcements, and the website was not being updated. It was up to us to unify the school under one source of information and inspiration. As a member of the leadership team, we decided that the only way we could accomplish this was to publish a weekly newspaper. In this day and age of instant news, one month was an eternity, becoming weekly was the only way we could connect with our student body. But such a thing had never been done. I was all for it. We ran through obstacles such as inhouse printing, time constraints, and a meager budget. However, the setbacks faced were all worthwhile as we stayed after school selling drinks and advertisements in our paper, we were fighting to inform students about important college information, publishing personal statements of alumni, SAT deadlines, current news in our school, and so much more.   This paper printed every week became my passion. Being in the classroom during first period and coming back after the school day ended, it was my second home. Coming on weekends wasn’t a problem if it meant getting the news out to my school. I would stay for hours in the journalism room, not knowing that it had gotten dark until leaving as late as 11 PM. I couldn’t leave until work was done, if there was an unclaimed article or unfinished layout, I would take it upon myself to complete. I arose as a leader and took charge when necessary and to keep my fellow teammates on task. With the time and dedication I devoted towards our cause, I was given the title of Assistant Editor-in-Chief. As the weeks passed we were no longer merely printing a newsletter, we were changing our school’s culture. People began to expect receiving a fresh copy of “The Pulse” every week in their homeroom, it had been integrated into our school’s regular functions. I wore a proud face as I saw copies our paper showcased on teacher’s walls or in the front cover of a student’s binder. We had succeeded our mission. Through journalism I have been able to reach thousands of my peers, documenting each week and giving them tips on from college to school functions to health tips. This paper further showed me how I can and will make an impact on other people’s lives and that I am persevering, determined, and ambitious.