The Grizzly Gazette were honored in Seattle on becoming Pacemaker Finalists. From left to right: Bradley Stailey, Jed Hackett, Hannah Vehrs, Mario Madrigal, Jody Georgianna, Victor Espinoza, Evan Hackett, Ernestina Quintero, Kathleen Jurkovich, and Madison Rice. (Danny Jacuinde/April 11, 2012)
While most of Granite Hills was making final preparations for the California State Testing, several lucky students and staff members were headed on a trip of a lifetime.
On the morning of Thursday, April 12, nine Granite Hills students and two staff members made an early drive to Fresno International Airport to catch their 7:30 a.m. flight to Seattle, Washington. These people included: Victor Espinoza, Jody Georgianna, Jed Hackett, Kathleen Jurkovich, Mario Madrigal, Ernestina Quintero, Madison Rice, Bradley Stailey, and Hannah Vehrs, with Sara Soria and Evan Hackett as chaperones. While there, these selected students would not only represent Granite Hills’ online newspaper, the Grizzly Gazette, they would also be able to see Seattle’s most popular landmarks.
When the group finally arrived in Seattle, they located Pike’s Place, a market in town, and shopped while they waited for their rooms to be ready.
“I really liked Pike’s Place,” said junior Brad Stailey, “There was an area where guys would yell and throw fish when someone bought one.”
The next day, the “Gazetters” visited the Seattle Times. There, they were showed the equipment the newspaper uses on a daily basis. They were also allowed to sit in on two of the Times’ office meetings.
“While visiting Seattle Times, we learned about new technology for online newspapers that will help us in the future.” said Stailey. “Seattle Times uses double monitors and I can’t wait until we get ours next year!”
Later that afternoon, the group headed for the University of Washington and visited the Space Needle. That night, the students were able to attend a dance at the convention center.
“It was a rewarding experience to go out and see the world,” said senior Victor Espinoza, “Also to see what all of our competition is like.”
On Saturday, April 14, four of the nine students attended workshops all day. The rest of the group traveled to the Seattle Art Museum. That evening, the Grizzly Gazette received its award and was recognized for its hard work. Newspapers from around the country were also acknowledged.
“The conventions were helpful,” said junior Hannah Vehrs. “We learned some new things to add to our paper like possible live streaming videos or even making our newspaper the home page of the Granite Hills website to get more viewers.”
As the trip came to an end, the group went on one last adventure. The group went on a ferry ride to Bainbridge, an island off the coast of Washington. They soaked in the beautiful weather before they boarded the plane and headed back home.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Seattle,” said Gazette advisor Evan Hackett, “I enjoyed the cool weather and it was fun. It was a blast to see my current students tour the Seattle Times and meet our former editor Lauren Rabaino. I am very proud of this group of students and all the hardwork they put in. They went beyond my expectations and I hope the community of Porterville is as equally as proud as I am.”
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