On Wednesday, November 28, a select group of students from Gerber Jr./Sr. High School, a Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) program, took a break from their usual studies to add one more course to their schedule: journalism.
The "journalists in training" will be joining the staff of The Sac County Breeze, a collaborative high school journalism project sponsored by SCOE, The Sacramento Bee, and the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative.
The purpose behind the newspaper project is to help existing journalism programs thrive in local high schools, restart those that have faded away, and start new ones in schools that have never had a student newspaper.
"This program reinforces my belief that journalism is a great tool to get kids connected with their world," said Sacramento High School Journalism Network (SHSJN) Director Steve O'Donoghue. "This gives them the understanding of how media works and why it's important."
Students participating in the program write stories for the Sac County Breeze newspaper. Their stories are filtered through a team of writing coaches. Professional journalists serve as mentors and support the students in the classroom. SHSJN also provides guidance to the teachers, free curriculum materials, and access to scholastic journalism resources.
Ten Sacramento-area high schools currently participate: Gerber, Hickey, Foothill, Inderkum, Hiram Johnson, C. K. McClatchy, and Rio Americano in Sacramento; River City in West Sacramento; Laguna Creek in Elk Grove; and Vista del Lago in Folsom.
SHSJN started with generous funding from Mr. Rowland Rebele, a former publisher, First Amendment advocate, and philanthropist.