Monday, June 18 , 2018, 12:32 pm | Fair 68º


Student Journalists Continue to Forge Tradition of Excellence

Zac Estrada, Daniel Langhorne and James Yee, last year's editors of The Forge, Santa Barbara High's newspaper, receive recognition for their efforts.

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Graduated seniors James Yee, left, Zac Estrada and Daniel Langhorne guided the 2007-08 staff of The Forge at Santa Barbara High School. (Ruth Bartz courtesy photo)

With the start of school comes the beginning of another publication season from the venerable newspaper, the voice of the students of Santa Barbara High School. That voice is known as The Forge. In continuous publication since 1914, it has achieved a reputation as the first page of history for each of the school years it has recorded.

This year’s staff will continue The Forge tradition of excellence that was exemplified by the staff of 2008 and whose leading editors were nationally recognized.

The 2007-08 publication year was especially memorable. Three senior editors had worked together for three years; two of them had worked together since freshman year. The student staff faced the usual challenges of deadlines and content and coverage. In addition, on Feb. 1, they discovered that five computers were stolen, along with most of the pages for the issue that was three days from deadline. The editors rallied the staff.

The three young men reached out to the community and other students. The result was that the community and parents supported The Forge and showed amazing and unconditional support that the staff had not previously known. Even though the theft was shocking and potentially demoralizing, the students came to realize that what they did in journalism was important to the community.

The three seniors who led the staff through its ups and owns graduated with their class of 2008. They are Zac Estrada, Daniel Langhorne and James Yee.

Through the efforts of the Forge’s first newspaper staff, the thoughts, concerns, and ideas of the student body of Santa Barbara High School were voiced. Each year, that responsibility has been entrusted to a new staff. While yesterday’s and today’s Forge staff members are separated by time, they are forever united through the experience. In 2004, former Forge Page 3 editor Cindy Lea Arbelbide, class of 1967, and author of the first children’s book published by the White House Historical Association, established the CLA Awards (after her name) to recognize Forge staff excellence in writing, research and service.

Distinguished writing

When writing a news story, reporters are trained to seek out the who, what, when, where and why, then must compose the facts to engage the reader. For Zac Estrada, while his search for the detail provides him with the foundation to create a clear and concise story, it is his finely honed-edge writing style that prompts readers to seek out his next byline. They often have found it on the editorial page, where his personal leadership style enhances and empowers readers’ understanding of the pertinent issues. To paraphrase the potato chip ad: You can’t “read” just one Estrada story. For efforts that clearly merit recognition, the 2008 CLA Award for Distinguished Writing goes to Estrada, who is attending college locally.

Distinguished research

If ever there were a stellar introduction to the importance of knowing the details, background and history of a subject, it was demonstrated by Daniel Langhorne when, in ninth grade, he took on the task of writing about video games as entertainment. A popular subject often prompts readers to challenge the facts. The writer’s strength will come from a deep well of knowledge, one that must continually refresh and add to. As Langhorne’s interests expanded into recycling, global warming and politics, so, too, did his research abilities. No one has enjoyed digging it out more than this “game boy.” For efforts that clearly merit recognition, the 2008 CLA Award for Distinguished Research goes to Langhorne, who is attending Chapman College and is working on the student newspaper.

Distinguished service

No job is too small or menial when it comes to preparing a Forge edition. After all, “once in print, forever in print.” For James Yee, such efforts are natural. Perhaps it stems from his dedication as a musician, where such attention to detail is required. A variety of Forge tasks included mastering procedures, structures, and software, and were in addition to his writing responsibilities. There is nothing but praise for his people skills and in advising the rookies. For efforts that clearly merit recognition, the 2008 CLA Award for Distinguished Service goes to Yee, who is attending college in Michigan.

Honorees each received a medal, a check for $100 and have their names engraved on a permanent plaque.

The medal is one of only three awards (the others are CSF and NSF) allowed to be worn over the cap and gown at graduation.

Ruth Bartz is a retired adviser to The Forge at Santa Barbara High School.

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