A Project for Better Journalism chapter
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News, Opinion

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Picture yourself as a teenager in Santa Maria High School, your country is in the midst of the second world war, and you worry that any second, you could be attacked by a foreign country’s military strike. Now imagine that you don’t have a cellular phone, internet, or WiFi, and that the only way to know what’s happening on campus is by reading it from a newspaper. You get your newspaper and the date reads: Friday, March 2, 1945. Suddenly, the pieces of information that the black printed letters provide becomes enthralling. All the latest school news that you need to know is in one newspaper, be it sports, academics, or the arts. Everything that you read, from the science teacher’s wife giving birth to a baby girl, to the scheduled meeting of the girl’s sewing class, keeps you interested from the first story to the last. Well, this is what it must’ve felt like being a teenager at Santa Maria High School in that time period. The recent discovery of one of the earlier printed editions of The Breeze has caused a lot of excitement in the Journalism/Yearbook staff.

It all started last month when the school yearbook and journalism adviser, Mrs. Van d  en Heever, received the old newspaper in the mail with a letter attached to it. The letter was from Carol N. Abeloe, who found it while going through her grandmother’s possessions. The letter stated that the newspaper belonged to her aunt, Nadine Mildred Abeloe, who had attended SM at the time. Sadly however, her aunt was killed in a tractor accident on March 11, 1945, just nine days after that edition of The Breeze was published. Once Mrs. Van Den Heever revealed the old  Breeze newspaper to her Journalism/Yearbook class, we were all astonished by its appearance, almost as if it came from another planet and decided to show itself just now. Photos were taken of the newspaper, students took turns reading each story, and everybody got a glimpse of what Santa Maria High School was like back in 1945.

It’s important to know that up until 1945, the educational system was severely lacking due to the Great Depression, and later on during World War II. The Great Depression caused a lot of children and teenagers to abandon school so they could support their families during those hard times. This method was also being adopted by the U.S. government, as they were too busy focusing more on ways to fix the economy rather than the educational system. The same problem appeared again during World War II when many teachers of education were drafted into the war. World War II ended in the fall of 1945, so during the time period in which the newspaper was written, the educational system would’ve been trying to improve upon itself. This newspaper should serve as a reminder of the many odds the students of that time had to face, from economic declines to the ramifications of a world war.

If you get the chance, definitely check out this printed piece of Santa Maria history; its full of great surprises and you don’t know what you might find out. It almost feels surreal seeing how students back then used to live their day-to-day lives during a time when the U.S. had to overcome a large amount of obstacles. These students were stuck between one major historical event and another, which really adds to the full weight of how powerful the newspaper is. It’s a glimpse of how these students dealt with such troubling times and rose to guide the country away from those disasters. This newspaper should be preserved and acknowledged for years to come, and the students should be paid respect for surviving these horrific events. So the next time you start complaining that your high school year is tough, its nothing compared to what these students had to go through.

You can stop by room 411 any time to see the old newspaper.

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