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The Knight Life Experience

posted Jun 9, 2012, 11:58 PM by Golden Knight   [ updated Aug 26, 2012, 2:02 AM ]

By Antonio Canzona

6/9/12

My first encounter with the original blog of this student newspaper is still unbelievably vivid. I was amazed at the effort that the students placed in writing articles with no grade based benefit. The quality of the articles was outstanding, but the only thing that bothered me was how poorly they were presented on a free blog. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to use my website building skills  for the benefit of this cause. Without even having been acquainted with the founder and president (Christian Romo), I simply walked up to him one day and asked him if he liked the idea of having a new website for the club. As I explained a little more of what I could do, he gave me the confirmation to proceed, and that day, after school, I went so far as to gaining the ownership of the domain (sfhsknightlife.com) along with designing the site. I also began to manually re-post every single article that was on the blog site. Within a week, I did all the finishing touches and the full transition was complete. I taught Christian all the basic skills he needed to post publications and maintain the site, and just like that, it became the new official site for the student newspaper.

Articles kept pouring in on a regular basis just as it did in the blog. I felt happy that I could contribute in a positive fashion, but I never really considered myself to be part of the club. I simply thought my work was expendable, and that it would just be a one time job. I was content with this notion because I never liked to read, write, edit, or do anything pertaining to journalism. The only talent I saw in myself was having the ability of providing a technical aspect which would heighten the legitimacy of the paper and hopefully help drive more students to write.

At the time, the last thing on my mind was to join the student newspaper. I believed that since I didn’t read or write much, I lacked the proper terminology and creativity needed to convey my thoughts and feelings. This lack of experience used to sharply downgrade my confidence in the field of writing. Because of this critical self assessment, I was more than satisfied to just sit on the side lines and watch the growth and success of the club. I felt that I have reached my limit of participation and that I had completed what was asked of me, and that was it.

As the year started coming to an end, I quickly realized that there would be variance with what I hoped the club would become .The only other contributing writer who was not a graduating senior was a sophomore, and with regard to the wishes of the founder, this paper was entirely student-run, and had no aid from teachers or moderators in getting students to write. With knowing that the sophomore would be passed down the title of President, I knew that I would be the only other option of being Vice President. During this period of time, I strongly believed that I was ill qualified for the position, and would be totally inept. I, without a doubt, had strong respect for all the effort that was put into this paper by the class of 2011. I could tell that they had the intent of building a lasting legacy, and I really wanted it to continue. I simply saw the future partnership of the sophomore and me as a recipe for failure. As a panic response, I desperately tried to find another student who I thought would fit for the job and could take my place, or even the place of President, in hopes that he would provide connections with other competent students who could write and contribute as well. My scramble was no use; the students who I went to were already committed to other extracurricular activities and had full schedules.

The title of VP was dragged upon me, but I made it clear to the sophomore (Robert Farewell – the current junior President) that I was not going to write articles. He freely accepted my will, and decided to use me as the website coordinator since I was the only one who knew how to publish, edit the site, and promote the club. This job included gathering articles from writers and finding ways of getting the club noticed by all the students of St. Francis. Before the beginning of the next year, Robert and I had continuously discussed many of the plans and strategies that we needed to execute in order to ensure a successful year. We had gotten more acquainted with each other and I could not have been more wrong with how I prejudged Robert; he had just as much and if not, more enthusiasm than I had with the continuation of this paper.

As the 2011-2012 school year started, I must admit that we went off on a really slow start. We managed to get a couple articles in for the first publication, and after Robert reviewed and sent them to me to publish, I was a little skeptical with the content that the articles held. I did not fully trust that Robert was as great of an editor as Christian was, so I gave it a glance and sure enough I found a few simple errors. I notified Robert about some changes that I suggested, and he, without opposition, accepted my corrections for the publication. In that instant, Robert gave me the job of a main editor to confirm all the articles with corrections before publications. I reluctantly accepted this job because I knew that it would give me more work, but if it was for the betterment of the paper, I did not have a choice. It was through this incident by which I discovered that I was not completely useless in the publication process and it boosted my confidence in this regard. Robert and I formed a good team where he would correct the articles for their content and I would find minor hiccups and move a few words around to make sentences “sound more correct.”

Running the newspaper was almost like starting from scratch, since only the two of us were rebuilding the club. I found it tremendously difficult to receive articles from students, and I was constantly wondering how the previous leaders accomplished this task. I even got in contact with Christian online and asked him how he managed to do this. This is my exact question, and his exact response:


Me: hey! It’s been a while... I would like to know how you effectively got people to write articles on a consistent basis... as you can see we only published 9 articles this school year, and need to find ways to get more people involved

Christian: well, I guess the best way is to lead by example, have the leaders write a lot of the articles themselves, then find people who can be as dedicated as you guys. Otherwise, you’ll just have to find your own way through it


By this time, I haven’t yet garnered up the courage needed to induce myself in writing my own articles, so I completely ignored what he said and continued on with my usual strategy of nagging and insisting students to submit prewritten essays. Looking back at this, I definitely agree with Christian’s response. The only reason why I felt compelled to get involved in the first place was by example of the leaders.

In examining my experience with Knight Life, I encourage everyone to use your talents and never be afraid of providing service to anything you believe that you can give assistance to, even if you do not hold much interest for the cause. It is through this process by which you open new doors, reveal hidden talents, and discover yourself. I am involved in stage crew, and I have no interest in pursuing a career in the theater business. I am in the robotics team, but I do not want to become an engineer. I am a member of the student newspaper, and I definitely do not want to get into journalism; yet, here I am, writing my first and last article as a contribution to the club. In Christian Romo’s last contributing article for Knight Life, he said “once we learn to see ourselves from a different perspective, we start recognizing the important aspects to get out of our high school experience.” Personally, this experience instilled in me more confidence in holding leadership positions. These experiences should be different for everyone but the time is ticking, get involved while you still can, you just might miss the opportunity to be part of something big.

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