Recently three high schools in the Sweetwater District – Mar Vista, Montgomery & Sweetwater – participated in the Ignite University Yearbook Camp at Pepperdine University.
During the weeklong camp, students were exposed to the university campus life as they attended college level coursework in advertising, photography, graphic design, typography, writing, and leadership. Their rigorous schedule included early wake up calls and college level coursework. Students also worked one on one with professional graphic design artists, photographers, and writing professionals. The students said this experience has better prepared them to go back into their journalism classes at their schools to be true leaders amongst their peers.
During the camp, students were able to gain great insights into journalism as a career by attending a Key Note address by Todd Bigelow, a current photojournalism professor at Cal State University, Northridge, who has won a Pulitzer Prize for his contributing work on the 1992 LA Riots and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Bigelow has worked for publications such as Time, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times. In his presentation – and through dialogue with students and staff – Bigelow was able to impress upon the students the power and liberties of the press through both visual and written media.
By the end of the four days, Sweetwater senior Alexis Nunez decided that she will now pursue a career in advertising and marketing; and Sweetwater senior Cedric De Gala decided that photojournalism is a career path which he plans to strive for in his near future. SUHi was also awarded a Bronze Award at the culminating ceremony, in which their photojournalism and design skills were put to the test in a competition with approximately 45 schools from California, Montana, and Texas.