If you reside in Riverbank or know of a student currently attending Riverbank High School, you’d probably be well aware of the notorious senior project. The senior project upholds and promotes the ideals of a good work ethic, by demonstrating to students the adult world and the possible career paths they may choose to explore.
As part of my senior project, I chose to delve into the hectic world of journalism. As a student with an affinity in literature and writing; I found journalism to be an ideal and plausible career path. I met Virginia Still while she was photographing the Riverbank High School Class of 2017, and asked her if I could observe her at work and she graciously complied. The day had come and I arrived with not too much in mind. I expected a rather fast paced and tedious ambiance. I was mistaken, almost immediately I took note of the abnormalities, a giant metal machine greeted me upon entering the back of the office. It had a dated and archaic feel to it, and I was informed that it was formerly used to print (hundreds of) years ago. The atmosphere was pleasant, almost communal or family-like. Everyone treated each other with genuine respect and high regard. Editor Marg Jackson delightfully informed me on every inquiry I posed and shared some interesting and instructive anecdotes pertaining to the changes of technology in journalism and mass communication. While I spoke to a few other employees, I was taken aback by two large Burmese Mountain dogs that were roaming around the office. Fixated on the dogs, I failed to notice that a man walked in alongside of them. He introduced himself as Richard Paloma, a staff reporter that like Marg had his share of fascinating stories. I was notified by other employees that Richard was resigning from his position at the Oakdale Leader to further pursue a career in investigative work. The staff held an honorary luncheon commending his dedication and efforts for the newspaper. I had the privilege to see this staff come together and show their true colors, and see them communicate with one another. I also had the opportunity to speak with the Oakdale Leader’s general manager, Drew Savage; he was an eloquent and pensive man, who referred to his coworkers as “family” and said he enjoyed working with such an amazing and dedicated staff. In the short four hours of my job shadowing, I observed and learned more than I ever imagined, not only was I enlightened about journalism and technology but I was also able to meet people who impacted my life and whose words of encouragement will forever remain engraved in my mind. I’m thankful and truly blessed that such an opportunity was made available to me.
Jorge Rubio is a senior at Riverbank High School and submitted this column following his job shadow visit to the newspaper office.