The Rialto High School Medieval Times journalism program is making a comeback as an official class for the 2022-2023 school year.
For the past two years, journalism was kept alive through a small club of ten writers who were dedicated to keeping the voices of Rialto High School students active during changing times.
Now these same writers, plus over 110 new students, are filled with excitement about the opportunity to expand their understanding of journalism and their writing capabilities with a one-hour specialized class.
In the first three weeks of school, students have learned about their First Amendment rights, the legal and ethical boundaries of journalism and the professional guidelines and code of ethics of journalism. Now they are prepared to start writing.
Journalism adviser Cassandra Rodriguez is excited about the return of the journalism class and shares, “As high school journalists, the students are going to gain invaluable skills that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives. The class harnesses the power of the First Amendment and empowers students to speak up and speak out.”
English teacher Larry Bush agrees, “Having the return of the journalism program is fantastic because it gives students more choice in the classes they can take at Rialto High. This is so important because print media helps keep democracy alive in the United States.”
In the journalism class students get the chance to take the lead, bring about change, and become a spokesperson for issues that the school is dealing with. Students also get to emphasize the positive things going on around campus and highlight important people and events.
English Teacher Nikolas Ynami understands the importance of journalism and says, “I believe that writing and communication is a crucial part of our culture. It's important for us, as a collective, to create meaning and expression in our own lives and in the lives of others.”
The return of the class thrilled a variety of students, particularly those who disliked the idea of taking a fourth year of traditional English. Seniors earn A-G English credit by taking and passing the journalism class.
The class differs from the traditional 12th grade English class in that the students are taught how to write different types of articles instead of traditional essays. Senior Darly Garcia comments, “I wanted to try something new and discover how to be a journalist since we each have our own style of writing.”
Although journalism is a class with predominantly seniors, a few lucky juniors were able to make their way in the class. Junior Samantha Sanchez says, “I expect to face more challenges and to have to put myself out there more, and I am excited for the paper to go out to other students.”
Senior, and former writer for the Medieval Times club, Elide Carbajal-Perez expresses, “I’m glad more people can enjoy it now, especially those who want to have a career in journalism.”
Former editor for the Medieval Times and current journalism student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Cassandra Garcia feels the class benefited her and comments, “I learned how to make my writing more cohesive.”
Not only is the journalism course important to teach students the value of being an informed citizen, it also provides students with countless opportunities. Students may be selected to be a part of the Quill and Scroll International High School Honor Society in which Rialto High School is a charter member. Their goal is to recognize student achievement and initiative in scholastic journalism. This organization allows student journalists to enter contests and even win scholarships.
This year, not only will the Medieval Times have an online newspaper but a physical newspaper, as well. A physical copy of the paper hasn’t been printed since before winter break in 2019. Because of the pandemic, student journalists never got to print the last two issues of the newspaper. Instead, they launched the online edition of the Medieval Times.
Rialto High School Principal Dr. Caroline Sweeney removed the journalism class in 2019 due to what she says were issues with the master schedule so the Medieval Times transitioned into a club in the fall of 2020.
Over 70 students registered for the class last year and many were upset to see that the class was cut despite the high enrollment numbers.
This year Sweeney affirms that she is excited for the return of the journalism class and reveals, “The decision to bring back Journalism had to do with the amount of students that wanted it, and the ability for it to fit in the master [schedule]. We were able to make it work this year so here it is.”
Rialto High School journalists intend for the class to stay.
Most of the 22/23 journalism students pose for a couple of photos