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What’s That? A Plane? A Bird? No, It’s 2023!
Sarah Says 12-28-22
Sarah Lawson

I cannot believe that 2023 is right around the corner, it feels just like last month we rang in 2022.

I feel like in the middle of the year it always goes by slow and then once it hits Thanksgiving everything just moves so quickly.

It has been a year of new activities, new friends, new relationships, new jobs and new memories.

So as of the 10th of December, I have officially been working a whole year at the Oakdale Leader office and I cannot believe it has been a year already. I have learned so much and I still am learning anything and everything about journalism and local news. It has been a roller coaster of emotions over this past year but things happen for a reason.

As I look back, I am thankful to have started this job in December because I then got a full year of experiences for every type of story. If I could pick my top three favorite moments that made me step back and soak it all in, they would have to be taking pictures at the Oakdale Rodeo, going on a media tour for the Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock where shortly after I got to take pictures of Sean Kingston, and one of the very first stories I wrote called A Christmas To Remember. That story was the first real lengthy story where I sort of got an idea of how I should write stories. I got to attend back in December of 2021 an event where community members were able to go inside a senior rehabilitation center and give each person living there a gift and also sing Christmas songs up and down the hallways. This one not only stuck with me because it was the first larger story I wrote but also because it touched me in my heart in more ways than one.

I remember writing it and having tears fill my eyes because I got to witness how happy the seniors were to not just receive gifts but to experience the joy of having positive people around them. It was the holiday season and many of them didn’t have their own family to be there with them so to have all these people come in with this strong holiday spirit made me so happy and thankful to have gotten the chance to witness it all.

The rodeo was in my top three because of how cool it was to be able to wear a press pass and just explore my love for photography. Living in Oakdale all my life and having multiple generations here I had never gone to the rodeo and I was fine with that. But to go out this time and instead of being overwhelmed in the crowd I got to go with my dad and just have a certain spot and just take photographs. I had such an amazing experience in the midst of the heat and I will never forget that.

Lastly a top moment this year would be when I got the chance to go to media day at the Stanislaus County Fair with two friends of mine that I work with and they got to show me the ropes and I had a great time. It felt like a behind-the-scenes adventure and we got to ride on a tram sort of thing around the fairgrounds and see everything being put up and we got to stop at a couple places and take photos of the progress. After learning how it would work during the fair days if we wanted to come back, I chose to go and photograph during the evening when artist Sean Kingston would play. It was a packed house and I got right up front with other journalists there and I have never been so close to a famous person before but Lord, it was unforgettable.

All of these moments are just a few that I got to experience this year and each one has their own story and emotion that I will never forget.

Cheers to one year and many more to go, and cheers to 2023! I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year.


Sarah Lawson is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she can be reached at