Journalism taught me to try new things

You never know the impact something will have in your life. That something could come in a small package, an envelope, or from a feeling. 

For myself, something was a class on my first day of high school.

Four years ago, on August 16, 2017, I walked through the door of a classroom enclosed in gray brick that was in the center of Stratford Academy’s upper school building.

I walked through the former  journalism classroom, Room 129. 

Four years ago, on August 16, 2017, I walked through the door of a classroom enclosed in gray brick that was in the center of Stratford Academy’s upper school building.”

— Caris Weinberg

When scheduling for my freshman year classes, there was an empty spot. I had always been interested in journalism, but never put any thought into taking any classes. Some of my friends were taking journalism, so I decided to do the same. 

For my first year of journalism, my class was made up of all my friends. In that class, I learned the basics of journalism and mostly took photos around campus. Only one of my close friends was in my sophomore year class.  I started to work with my other classmates towards the end of that year and junior year when I did not have any close friends in my class.

Journalism class at Stratford encouraged me to reach out to teachers and students that were outside of my small bubble. As I interviewed more teachers, I found I enjoyed hearing their differing perspectives on matters from my peers. I wanted to tell their stories.

It was not until the summer before senior year that I decided journalism was what I wanted to major in when I went to college the following year. I applied and was accepted to four colleges. One of the school’s applications was an essay with a prompt on something that changed my life. I wrote about my experiences in journalism class at Stratford.

In an acceptance letter from Mercer University, I was invited to a journalism scholarship competition. For the competition, I sent over all the work I have done for Stratford Gazebo and another essay on what journalism meant to me. 

I went to the competition and learned about Mercer’s Collaborative Center for Journalism. I got the chance to have a tour of it as well. I was pleased with what I saw and awaited the results of the competition.

A couple weeks later, I received another letter from Mercer. It included a new scholarship for Mercer that was from the collaborative center for journalism. In March of 2021, I visited Mercer again to meet prospective students for the fall of 2021. That afternoon was when I decided on Mercer University for college.