Fremont students look for opportunities at JEA/NSPA spring convention

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

A short trip later this month across the bay should expose students from Fremont High School’s Media Academy in Oakland, Calif., to a whole new world.

Lisa Shafer, a journalism teacher at the school, has taken students to JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism conventions in the past. With the spring convention in San Francisco this month, cost will be less of a factor and she can take more than a few students.

There won’t be hotel costs, and 10 of her students received scholarships through Walsworth’s 50 Scholars program, which will pay for their convention registration. Walsworth is working with NSPA and JEA to pay the registration for 50 scholarship winners, who were chosen from essays they submitted with an application.

The Media Academy – one of three academies within Fremont – offers newspaper, broadcast, video/film drama and graphic design. It is a public school with budget issues in a low income area of Oakland, and not all the students are there by choice. The students are surrounded with journalism every day, Shafer said, so they take it for granted and do not understand the enthusiasm of students from other schools.

“The convention is something to reignite excitement in our school and the field that we are exposing them to,” Shafer said.

Shafer said she also wants her students to meet other teens who have different home and school backgrounds, and yet see that they have a lot in common.

Alondra Alvarado, a senior and the multimedia editor, is looking forward to that opportunity and many others that the convention will provide. She wants to learn more about Photoshop and design, and learn other ways to improve communication.

Alvarado said this experience will help her learn to talk to many different people, since the convention will be packed with students and teachers. Alvarado said she has never been around so many people at one time. Currently, Alvarado plans to enter the medical field and become a midwife. She said journalism has helped with college applications and essays, and communicating in general.

“It’s helped me a lot, to know how to ask proper questions to get information,” she said.

Alex Grubbs, a junior and a staff writer for the Green and Gold newspaper, said he wants to learn more about leadership opportunities, further develop his journalism skills and make connections to get into a college with a good journalism school.

Grubbs has been working on stories about budget cuts at Fremont and enjoys writing to keep people informed.

“When I do those (stories), I feel I’m helping people better understand,” Grubbs said. “It is really important that students understand what’s going on in their school.”

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.