Write a story that teaches readers something new.
With every line, every paragraph, every story, I hope to teach my readers a new perspective. I have learned that journalistic writing isn’t about long, complex sentences or flowery diction — it’s about telling a story in the most accurate way and finding the fragile balance between facts and emotions.
Throughout the years, my writing has been recognized by the National Scholastic Press Association and Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Below is a collection of the stories that make me the most proud — from staff editorials, to investigative stories, to sports stories.
FORMER JUDGE IN BROCK v. TURNER CASE HIRED AS LHS JV GIRLS TENNIS COACH
Of all of the stories that I have written, my favorite is my news story about the hiring of former judge in the Brock Turner case as the Lynbrook HS JV tennis coach.
Many community members were outraged after finding out that recalled judge Aaron Persky — who presided over the 2015 People v. Turner case sentencing Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in prison for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman — was hired as the JV girls tennis coach at LHS. The Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) administration claimed to be unaware of Persky’s background at the time of the hiring, sparking controversy and conversation that extended far beyond the Cupertino community.
In order to fully uncover the truth and shed light on all perspectives, I interviewed members of the LHS girls tennis team, the LHS senior class president, the FUHSD Director of Human Resources, the FUHSD Superintendent, a LHS alumna who created a Change.org petition and a MVHS teacher.
In addition, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain Persky’s job application and discover whether the district truly was unaware of Persky’s past judicial history.
During the process, I was reminded of the crucial role of journalists to deliver the truth amidst the chaotic events that take place in today’s society.
I chose to discuss the impact that one person can have on another’s life in this story. After listening to a MVHS teacher’s anecdote about how a socially isolated student’s completely changed with a single kind gesture by his classmate, my co-writer and I were inspired to seek how members of the MVHS community are impacted by those around them.
In addition to interviewing the MVHS teacher who initially shared the anecdote, I interviewed a MVHS student who was diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. By giving this student a chance to voice her perspective, I was able to learn how her friends helped her overcome years of insecurities.
I also reached out to a psychotherapist and marriage and family therapist to receive expert insight on the impacts of relationships.
CONGRESSMAN RO KHANNA DISCUSSES HIS POLICIES
I had the opportunity to interview Congressman Ro Khanna, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents California’s 17th Congressional District, about his policies.
During this interview, I asked questions pertinent to members of the community to make the story more relevant to MVHS. For example, I asked about affordable housing, as the housing crisis in the Bay Area remains a large, but unaddressed issue, especially with the Bay Area attracting thousands of new tech employees every year.
Furthermore, I asked Khanna about a direct consequence of this lack of affordable housing: commute. Because public transport systems have not yet been optimized to meet the needs of residents, I focused on listening to Khanna’s perspective on this issue, as it affects many Cupertino community members.
Some of the other topics that I interviewed Khanna about include climate change, humanities funding, equality in politics, college tuition, immigration and affirmative action.
MORE THAN A PERSONAL PROBLEM
After witnessing many MVHS students respond to Greta Thunberg’s speech targeting world leaders for their lack of action against climate change, I decided to further investigate the MVHS community’s concerns about the environment.
I interviewed AP Environmental Science teacher Kyle Jones to learn about the impacts of climate change in relation to biodiversity, as well as three MVHS students, one of whom is currently working to implement a compost system at MVHS as a member of the Cupertino Youth Climate Action Team.
NO LONGER INVINCIBLE
In this sports story about the downfall of the New England Patriots, I wrote a brief introduction to the Patriots’ history, describing their 2019 season in a digestible manner.
By explaining the Patriots’ difficulties in a reader-friendly fashion, I made it possible for not just sports fans, but all students and faculty to easily understand the information.
I also connected this event to MVHS by interviewing Patriots fans, including a MVHS teacher who has followed the Patriots since his freshman year in high school and two MVHS students who previously lived in Boston.
In this staff editorial, I addressed the lack of student input in determining the new bell schedule.
Before writing the staff editorial, I listened to the opinions of section editors in an editorial board meeting about the topic. I then took notes and summarized the ideas that the editors shared to the best of my ability. I contacted building administration and union representatives to fact-check all of the bell schedule information to make sure that I wasn’t incorrectly targeting aspects of the process behind determining the bell schedule. Furthermore, I conducted a school-wide poll to determine how MVHS students felt about the issue.
IF THE SHOE DRIPS
In a school of nearly 2,200 students, it is difficult to know about the unique talents and interests of every individual in the student body. Therefore, I decided to highlight two students who customize sneakers as a way of self-expression. I also interviewed the assistant principal, who is popular on campus for his excellent style and expansive sneaker collection.
This story generated a lot of interest among both students and faculty, and helped to better connect readers to the individuals mentioned in the story.