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Dawn's Column Frantic Friday
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As I write this column late (again) on Friday for our Wednesday issue, I've been smacked with the realization that October is a busy month on the education beat. The month has just started but there are so many activities, getting everything covered isn't always possible for one person. There are myriad fundraisers and homecoming.

My morning started with me going to Magnolia Elementary School to cover Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito's mini performance. He is in town for the Oakdale Educational Foundation fundraiser concert, and I needed photos of his school performances to tie into my angle on the story about the event.

Wouldn't you know, I had camera trouble at Magnolia. Not a single shot turned out.

While this wasn't my regular camera - it's my coworker's - I've used it before when I've needed a long lens and big flash for places such as in the Magnolia auditorium. I grumbled to her back at the office about my missed shots and we got the camera situated.

Luckily, there was still another performance Pasquale was doing at Sierra View, and it was arranged that I'd interview him there afterward.

In between his performances, I had to go cover some science labs that were taking place at Sierra View and decided to use my smaller, less cumbersome camera. Back to the office to download photos, a quick lunch, and back to Sierra View for Pasquale's photos and interview. Gratefully, his performance invigorated me.

I failed to mention that this was also my week to do every reporter's favorite assignment (I say this with sarcasm): Opinion On The Street, a.k.a. "Street Beat."

I thought I'd get Street Beat done when I visited the schools, killing two birds with one stone. But I forgot to do it when I was at the schools because I was concentrating on taking pictures and interviewing Pasquale - I'm sure the female readers of this column can understand my distraction. When I returned to the office, I saw the yellow Post It on my calendar reminding me to do Street Beat and that deadline for it was today (Friday).

Earlier in the week, we, the reporters, made plans to play musical cameras. Reporter Craig wanted to borrow Reporter Kim's big camera on Friday so he could take pictures of Editor Marg being the Grand Marshal in the Escalon Homecoming Parade. But I already spoke for Kim's big camera because I needed it to cover Pasquale's performances at the elementary schools.

Then I suggested that Craig use Reporter Jagada's big camera since he was out sick for a few days, but then we found out Jagada had his camera with him. Then Craig asked to use my little camera to take pictures of Marg, but it doesn't do well for shooting from far away. So then we all wondered why Marg needed her big camera to shoot photos of the crowd while she was supposed to be waving from the back seat of a convertible and tossing candy to onlookers. We realized she was trying to avoid having her picture taken, so we forced Marg to part with her camera during the parade.

Also, for the past couple of weeks I've been attempting to write a story about girls who've attended a science camp called Tech Trek that is hosted by the American Association of University Women. The local chapter is preparing for its annual fundraiser and my story will tie in with the timing of that event.

The three girls I needed to interview each live in Oakdale, Escalon, and Riverbank. After leaving messages and playing a few rounds of phone tag with them, I was finally able to connect with the final interviewee late this afternoon, after my school visits and Street Beat. She told me she was dealing with Homecoming activities in Escalon. I should have realized this.

After all that, feeling like I had accomplished a lot, I decided to check off my list that I keep on my computer of stories and photos due for the week. It was at this point that I remembered my column was also due today, several hours ago.

Ugh. My column.

I've become infamous around the office for remembering it's my week for a column at the last minute. By now, Marg was back at the office showing off her purple carnation lei and parade sash. I told her I forgot about my column, so we asked Craig if he had one done (because he's the Teacher's Pet and usually has an extra). He started laughing, saying he didn't but that with short time left on Friday is when I do my best work. He suggested I should call my column "Half Past Deadline."

Well, now it's half past time I should go home for the evening.

Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.