Becca Nelson: Journalism Is A Unique, Essential Class That Creates A Real Product – May 19, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My name is Becca Nelson and I am a junior at Arcata High School. The past three years, journalism hasn’t fit in my schedule and I looked forward to finally being able to join the class next year.

Journalism could be by far the most important and influential class offered at Arcata High because it inspires students to pursue a career in journalism and fosters awareness among the student body about the issues reported in the Pepperbox.

The Pepperbox, the newspaper the journalism class produces six times per year, is by far the most widely read and appreciated student publication at our school. The news that there will be no journalism class next year has sent waves of anger through the student body because so many students genuinely look forward to each issue. Unfortunately, the Pepperbox is the only news source many students pay attention to. Consequently, the loss of the Pepperbox and the journalism class will have a huge impact on many of them.

Not only is the Pepperbox important for its readers, but the opportunity of the journalism class itself is an essential part of an Arcata High Student’s academic potential. The electives offered by a school are what distinguishe and define it—every school has to teach the core subjects and fill the A-G requirements, but the electives differ from school to school.

Our district is already distinguished and applauded for keeping the standard number of school days and retaining more teachers than most other districts, our standards of excellence should extend to the curriculum as well. Because it allows students to work in a professional environment and create a real product, journalism is unique and essential among the classes offered at Arcata High. Taking that opportunity away would be a serious mistake.

For three years I have looked forward to joining the Pepperbox staff and becoming a journalist rather than a mere student. I know a number of others who long for the experience as well—both as a springboard for a career in journalism and as a meaningful vocational and educational experience.

We all know how much financial pressure the school is under but we are begging the administration and the school board to recognize the value of this class. We have implored them to look beyond the numbers and realize that Arcata High is a school, not a business; that we are students, not clients; and that our education is our future and that it is in their hands.

The journalism class must be returned next year. We need it, we want it, and through our devotion and enthusiasm we have proven over and over again that we deserve it.

Becca Nelson is a junior who aspires to pursue a career in international relations.

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