Letters From The Editors: After 2:55 p.m.


Justin Curto and Jena Smith

Welcome back to Letters From The Editors. This past week was our last week of assigned web content for the semester, and in honor of that, we decided to do something special — another special project, actually. So, the JagWire staff profiled 11 students and a staff member who do interesting things after school for a special project called After 2:55 p.m.

About a month ago, we came to the realization that it was about time for another special project, after the JAG staff’s project, Breaking Barriers, turned out so wonderfully. While in Habs’s office trying to brainstorm, Jena dropped the idea of profiling students that do interesting things after school. While the idea sounded odd at first, after some discussion, we decided to pitch it to the JagWire staffers. Thankfully, they went along with our obscure idea, and it turned out wonderfully in the end.

Coming up with a name for Breaking Barriers wasn’t been too hard, but figuring out what to call this project was exceptionally difficult. After oscillating between everything from After-School Special to When The Bell Rings, we decided on After 2:55 p.m. — the night before we started posting profiles for it. So, we got to work on creating a logo, and were able to get everything in place by Monday afternoon, right before the first posts went up.

As we started reading through some of the JagWire staff’s profiles, we noticed a lot of awesome work, which made us feel really good. Working on a newspaper doesn’t always give staff members a chance to write fun profiles or take cool portrait photos, at least when compared to working on a yearbook. So, this project challenged some staff members to step outside their comfort zones, and we loved reading the awesome profiles and seeing the creative portraits that came of it.

In addition to allowing staff members to stand out, special projects also tend to prompt more feedback from readers — one of our favorite things about running Mill Valley News. We love support from our “biggest fans,” such as social studies teacher Jeff Wieland, who frequently sports a JagWire quarter zip, and senior Rachel Morgan, who is known for counting down the days to newspaper distribution, but what’s arguably even cooler is receiving feedback from students and staff who don’t regularly read Mill Valley News. We got some feedback like that from Breaking Barriers, and After 2:55 p.m. led to even more, which not only motivated us, but also the staff members who helped us make the project happen.

Now, not only have both the JAG and JagWire staffs each made it through a special project, but we’ve coordinated two. We know what works and doesn’t work for them (at least better than we did at the beginning of the year), which will hopefully make next semester’s special projects even better.

Lessons of the week:

J-Curt: These past few weeks have been some of my busiest ever. Between planning After 2:55 p.m. (along with writing a profile and creating videos for it), working on a newspaper page completely by myself, applying for college and scholarships and having a ton of school work, I haven’t gotten much time to relax. Last night, I reviewed and photographed KRBZ 96.5 The Buzz’s “The Night The Buzz Stole XXXmas,” featuring The 1975, Borns, Wolf Alice and Swim Deep, and that helped me de-stress a lot. While I love reporting on district news and overseeing Mill Valley News, there’s still nothing that beats the excitement of taking pictures of performers, dancing to some awesome music and writing about it all afterward. It’s times like these that I rely on the power of live music to get me through my overwhelmingly busy life.

Jena: Somehow, every winter, I manage to get sick and miss school. Thankfully, this year, I haven’t contracted the flu (yet) and infected the J-room (yet). I stayed home Monday for what I thought was the flu (that didn’t turn out to be), and it was stressful. For someone who loves being busy and literally speeding from one thing to the next, missing out on a day of school on a work night Monday, during the week prior to finals that also happened to be special project posting week was borderline hellish. But, when I returned to school Tuesday after some rest, I felt better than I had in weeks. Following my mom’s advice of taking care of myself before I can worry about others (which I don’t tend to do very often) turned out to be a good for me. I’ll keep it in mind for the next time I actually have the flu.

That’s all … for now.

Seniors Justin “J-Curt” Curto and Jena Smith are the editors-in-chief of Mill Valley News online. They appreciate captioned photos, categorized and tagged stories, staff members who don’t text about web assignments at 11 p.m., teachers and students who talk about things they read on Mill Valley News and all things multimedia.

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