Local News

Young Observer Turns 3

Young Observers from left to right: Katie, Irene, Tegan, Francine, Erin, Rosie, and Mateo.

This youth section, also known as Young Observer, celebrated its third anniversary last month. Each contributor from our team of seven students wrote a reflection as part of the annual conference that included a TedTalk on local journalism, a throwback presentation of the Fullerton Observer, awarding of certificates, and holiday party with team games and prizes. Below are insightful thoughts from all of us on our experiences as volunteer contributors for our city newspaper:

Tegan Yoo, 4th grade, Observer since 2021: I became a contributor by responding to the Young Observer’s announcement last year inviting interested students to join the team.  I enjoy my current assignment but since our youth editor informed us there is an opening to write jokes, I would not mind if I changed.

The best part of being a Young Observer is it helps me become better at time-management because the biggest challenge I  have encountered in doing my work as a writer is submitting on time.  I have attended the recent annual conference and I find the Fullerton Observer’s history interesting.

Rosie Lee, 5th grade, Observer since 2021: I learned about the wonderful opportunity to join the Young Observer team through my mom. I expected the work to be fun, challenging, and interesting, which it is. I love my current assignment (Featured Pet and Endangered Species).

Being a member of the Young Observer team has taught me to articulate in an endearing way so that people will be moved to adopt the pets and help the endangered species. I have attended only one annual conference and I thought it was well-planned and scheduled. I was very nervous about attending because I am one of the youngest writers, but all the team members were welcoming and kind. I look forward to future annual conferences.

Erin Hong, 7th grade, Observer since 2019: I like my current assignment, which is drawing comics and writing articles from time to time. Being a Young Observer has helped me gain writing and drawing skills as well as knowing what is interesting to people.

The best part of being a Young Observer is knowing that I am sharing my stories to thousands of people in our community.

I have attended all the annual conferences. I think the conference is a good way to meet up with the other writers in the same section as me. I did not feel nervous, and I was looking forward to it when I saw it on my calendar. The team made me feel that I belong.

Mateo Sauceda, 8th grade, Observer since 2019: I like my writing assignment right now. I feel I have a lot of creative freedom. It is like working from scratch using a blank canvas. I enjoy writing about relevant topics around our community. A lot of times, schoolwork gets in the way of writing my articles, so I tend to slow down because of this.

I have attended all three annual conferences. I think they are fun and entertaining, and it is something I look forward to. I do get a bit nervous, but they all make me feel comfortable and like I am truly part of the team.

Katie Hong, 10th grade, Observer since 2018: I think I overestimated how much work I would be doing, because it is not too much at all, and I manage to keep a good balance between school and extracurricular activities such as this. I am currently assigned to write book reviews, but I enjoyed writing for the featured pet section in the past.  I even got invited to tour the Orange County Animal Care and met some of the pets I featured in my column.

Writing book reviews gives me the motivation to read new books in different genres and really think about what I read. The best part of being a member of this team is having the opportunity to be heard in our community.

I have attended three annual conferences, and I always look forward to meeting with the other team members. It is fun getting to know each other, especially the new ones, and I would say that it would be nice meeting up more, even if it’s just to see how everyone is doing and what they are currently working on.

Irene Sheen, 10th grade, Observer since 2018: To be honest, I joined the Young Observer team thinking that my job would be short-lived. I never imagined myself to be contributing for so many years (even through high school), but it is such a blessing to still be a part of this team.

I really enjoy covering current trends and keeping our community members updated on the latest topics. As much as I love my current assignment, I am also interested in writing opinion pieces on community issues. Our youth editor has encouraged us to do this so I would definitely be open to alternating back-and-forth from trends and opinion write-ups.

Although I write for other publications, writing for the Fullerton Observer has been a completely different experience (all for the best, of course). As much as I love writing, sometimes it feels more like a tedious chore. However, when contributing as a Young Observer I am given the opportunity to explore topics of my choice, without any set and rigid writing rules. I am thankful to say that I have had a lot of creative freedom, which is vital for fueling my passion for writing.

I have attended all three conferences. These annual conferences are really important to encourage teamwork, and I have never once felt uncomfortable during these meetings. These conferences are great opportunities for us to meet and engage with one another.

Francine Vudoti, 10th grade, Observer since 2014, Youth Editor since 2018: Knowing that my teammates are enjoying their volunteer work as contributors while gaining writing and time management skills, makes me feel grateful.

Four years ago, I was not sure if my idea of a youth page would be successful but my previous boss and mentor Editor Emeritus Sharon Kennedy was very supportive. My dream of giving a voice to the kids in our community and providing them the opportunity to gain experience in local journalism has become a reality. This opportunity is currently open to Fullerton students in grades 4 through 7. Right now, we only have one male contributor, and it would be nice if we could balance our team gender wise.

Applications will be accepted until January 31. Please send your application with a cover letter and sample of your work to contact@fullertonobserver.com.

2 replies »

  1. Francine and the other young writers that contribute to the Observer are such a treasure and give me hope for the future. Francine came up with the idea for the Young Observer’s page many years ago and has organized, edited, written her own column, and submitted the whole page on time everytime. All the young writers are super. It is a great accomplishment. Happy Anniversary Young Observers!!

  2. Congratulations, Francine, on your column 3rd anniversary! You are doing a wonderful job! Keep it up.