Quinn Miller: Journalism And Newspaper Production Teach Teamwork, Productivity And Life Success – May 19, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As my fourth and final year of Arcata High draws to a close, many aspects of my academic career seem to bleed together.

I find myself wondering which skills that I have attained in High School will be essential to succeeding at the next level. The skills that I have learned on the staff of the school newspaper, the Pepperbox, stand out to me the most.

The Pepperbox and journalism class have been not only the highlight of my high school experience, but the foundation for my career path and college plans. Next year I will attend the University of Oregon at Eugene, where I am majoring in journalism and Political Science. It is exceedingly rare that students leaving high school in the present time know what they would like to do with their lives, yet I am one of three majors leaving the AHS journalism class with intent to pursue journalism as a career.

Although Arcata High’s journalism class is not “college-preparatory” in the sense that universities don’t acknowledge it as a course, it has certainly prepared me for college and equipped me with many skills that will be useful in the world.

The class teaches students to work hard as a group to produce something that doesn’t go on a resume and can’t be used to promote oneself. Many students on the Pepperbox staff, including myself, are enrolled in AP classes and plan to attend reputable colleges.

It would seem that a class worth absolutely no credit to a student applying to a four-year university, would not even be an option. So why do these AP students keep coming back?

The truth is that the Pepperbox is a safe-haven in the ferocious world of academia. Unlike other courses, in which students are forced to self-promote if they wish to succeed, Journalism forces students to be accountable for their own workload, due to its essential part in the larger product: the paper.

Students like journalism class because the learning is self-paced and the result is something that can only be attained through teamwork. Hard work is rewarded while procrastination results in failure.

There’s no sweet-talking your way out of a press deadline, and if you screw up, all 800 of your peers will let you know about it.

I am leaving Arcata High this June, and thus will not be on the Pepperbox staff next year regardless of whether or not there is one. This does not mean, however, that my feelings of sorrow will be remotely diminished if our administration is allowed to follow through with the cut.

I will cherish the memories that being on the Pepperbox staff has given me for the rest of my life. It saddens me to think of the future generations of students that will be unable to benefit from the camaraderie and accomplishment that I have felt in journalism class.

Being on the Pepperbox staff has been one of the most enriching experiences of my academic career. It has set me up to become successful in college, but more importantly, in life.

Quinn Miller is a senior who serves as managing editor for the Pepperbox and plans to attend University of Oregon as a double major for Poly-sci and Journalism.

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