Image obtained from esperanzahs.net
Believe it or not, our paper has had many changes and re-branding in the last 5 years. Meghann Callaghan volunteered to become The Aztlán Newspaper adviser during the 2016-2017 school year because she did photojournalism in school and she had been teaching ERWC (Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum), which sparked her interest in journalistic style. She also had a strong desire to better the paper. “I always had these stacks of papers that people weren’t picking up. So I wanted to make sure the paper became appealing to all students on campus, not just who’s in a quote,” said Mrs. Callaghan.
Before Mrs. Callaghan, our publications were not done completely by us students. Staff members had little to no ownership over the publications. Not just that, but you could not find The Aztlán both on paper and online as you usually do.
When Mrs. Callaghan took over, she made it her mission to transition the power of the paper into student’s hands because “Student-ran paper was my goal. I considered myself not the teacher, but the adviser. I’m there to advise and guide. It’s the only platform on a high school campus that allows for open expression to the masses by the students. It’s important for every school to have a paper because it’s like a time capsule for where the school is at the moment,” said Mrs. Callaghan.
Now, us editors create the publications and all reporters are given the opportunity to pitch article ideas that they find interesting. With this format, the paper can truly represent our generation. “It’s one thing to have a teacher’s perspective than a student perspective and someone who’s presenting,” she added.
She surpassed the expectations of an adviser. Her dedication to make The Aztlán student-run, her constant support and guidance and her extremely positive aura has made the paper what it is today. We, as staff members, absolutely love working with her. She gave us the opportunity to feel a sense of pride over something that we, the students, create.
Her best memories as an adviser have been going to newspaper conventions and write-offs with us and hearing about our college acceptance letters and future career in journalism. “Having you guys go to conventions and find things you can bring back to your staff was really fulfilling because I felt like you had ultimate control of the paper of what you want to do,” said Mrs. Callaghan.
Although Mrs. Callaghan will no longer be the adviser for our newspaper, do not fret because Frank Perez is ready to tackle this responsibility. “Mr. Perez is a good fit as he’s one of the schools WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) head and is used to being aware of all the on-goings on campus. He’s a great English and ERWC teacher, charismatic and kids like him,” said Mrs. Callaghan.
To truly understand just how much Mrs. Callaghan has impacted us newspaper and journalism students, take a look at what our staff members have to say about her:
My favorite characteristic of Mrs. Callaghan is her enthusiasm and passion for teaching. Despite the difficulties with the pandemic, she always seems to have a smile on her face and encourages her students to try their hardest. I loved being in her class freshman year when I took Intro to Multimedia Journalism. The class was so much fun and I loved learning to write articles, watching movies and taking photos throughout the campus. Something that made her an amazing adviser was her knowledge of the subject. She had so many great ideas for pitches and feedback for my articles. I’m so grateful to have known Mrs. Callaghan. She is such an optimistic teacher who truly cares for her students. She will be missed!
I admire that Mrs. C truly loves her students and cares for their success. She treats each student as an individual, being empathetic and understanding that each student has strengths and weaknesses. While having high expectations, she sets no limits on students and believes everyone can be successful. Mrs. C has continuously believed in me and my success as a writer, a student and a person. With her support, I gained confidence in and outside of the classroom. I realized that my confidence transferred into other classrooms as well, as I began to participate more because of the constant support Mrs. C gave me.
My favorite memories with Mrs. C have been during layout when we create the printed newspaper. She is so dedicated, she stays until 4:00 after school a few days a week to do layout with us. She allows us to take control, but gives experienced advice when we need it. Without her support, we wouldn’t have created so many amazing print issues.
Mrs. C has been the best adviser I could have asked for. She is extremely approachable and cultivates a sense of belonging in her classroom. With our shared love of journalism, I know she loves teaching, which makes me feel more welcome. I have never felt scared to ask questions or provide ideas, which, before I met Mrs. C, contrasts to how I’ve felt in other classrooms.
Mrs. C has been a role model and an inspiration of mine. As a future teacher, I look up to Mrs. C and how she teaches and connects with her students. She has always been more than a newspaper teacher, as she has taught me what an effective and quality teacher is. She puts a smile on your face after every conversation because you can tell that she cares. She cares about your success and how your day is going. I’d like to thank her for being that role model for me and how my high school experience would not be the same without her.
Something I really admire about Mrs. Callaghan is her ability to connect with students. Though I only had her for a little less than a year in journalism, it was clear that she really cares for her students and prioritizes having a connection with them. She is one of those teachers that makes you feel like you have a real relationship rather than just a teacher. I also admire the trust she put in us to run the newspaper and the freedom she gives to express ourselves. She is always so supportive and wants the best for her students.
She really inspired me to pursue a major in English. She made writing seem fun and got rid of the stereotype that writing has to be so black and white. From the way she taught us how to use our voices to show us that writing can be opinionated and confrontational, I am glad to have had an adviser that didn’t shy away from sometimes controversial topics but encouraged the conversation. She also made an effort to engage with her students and talk with us like we were more than just kids she had to teach. She is always there when you have a question and makes an effort to not only teach but make it entertaining. Her flexibility, kind nature and infectious smile made her so welcoming which is important in an adviser because she feels like a person you can go to for anything.
I am so thankful to have had Mrs. Callaghan as a teacher these past two years, and the lessons she has taught me I will definitely take to college. I am so grateful to have had such an amazing teacher and example to help guide me in both my writing and my future career in English.
My favorite characteristic about Mrs. Callaghan is her constant positive, energetic attitude. She pushed us to really be our best and advocate for those who didn’t have a voice. Her attitude along with talent and obvious love for teaching made her classes, whether Language Arts or Newspaper, feel more fun than work. She made it so easy to connect with her and really feel passionate about the work we were doing.
I felt like she connected with the students and allowed us to write what we wanted to, which overall made the newspaper, in itself, more entertaining. She treated us like actual people in the newsroom rather than students in a classroom. This really made me feel attached to the actual class and work we did.
Mrs. Callaghan has definitely been my most influential teacher who taught me the most. My whole high school experience would have been completely different without her. I appreciate everything she’s done for me. She has always been my favorite teacher, even freshman year before I had her as my advisor.
What I feel is the best characteristic of Mrs. C is her welcoming attitude. Ever since I met her my freshman year, I felt as if I could easily talk with her. She never made you feel like a burden or like you were just another student of hers. She’s always involved in conversations and always asks you how your day is going. Checking into her class every day became something I looked forward to. Whether it was talking about our days, or current events in the world or what we did over the weekend, we always had a conversation that I valued. For an authority figure to create a comfortable environment that welcomes communication is really the best thing ever. It made our paper run much more smoothly. The times I’ve felt the greatest amount of satisfaction and success is when I put out publications. The paper truly is ours and I adore that Mrs. C values students having a platform to project their voices.
Not just that, but she’s helped me grow as a person. It’s one thing for an adviser to ensure you’re getting your work done, and it’s another thing being involved and encouraging your students to become greater. Her support has shaped me into someone who is not afraid to be bold and be myself.
I’m so grateful to have had Mrs. C in my life. I’ll miss my conversations with her, but I’ll take her advice and encouragement with me into the next chapters of my life. Her efforts will forever be recognized in the success of the paper. Thank you Mrs. Callaghan for all you’ve done for us, you truly were the best mentor we could have asked for.