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On Education: Journalism student has earned his dream

November 29, 2012|By Megan O'Neil

Angel Silva talks shop like the journalist he is.

Sitting last month in the office of El Vaquero, the student newspaper at Glendale Community College, the 20-year-old described traveling to Sacramento to cover the March in March protests, staged by college students in opposition to cuts in education funding.

“Being able to work on my toes and being able to write a story on site was pretty interesting, [especially] considering that they were arresting people,” Silva said.

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His foray into journalism started while he was at Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley. There, he took half a dozen Advanced Placement classes while maintaining a 3.5 grade-point average and working for the student paper.

Silva has subsequently logged three semesters as a staff writer and editor with El Vaquero. In October, he won two of 20 awards that the staff brought home from an annual conference hosted by the southern division of the Journalism Assn. of Community Colleges.

Still, Silva may have climbed as high as he can on the El Vaquero masthead.

Born in Tlalnepantla de Baz in northern Mexico City and brought to California as a baby, his immigration status was never more apparent than last spring when he set his ambitions on the paper’s most coveted job, editor-in-chief.

It pays $10 an hour up to 25 hours a week, allowing the student journalist to focus on El Vaquero without worrying about an off-campus job. And like at other student newspapers up and down the state, the position can be an academic and professional springboard.

Silva had mentally prepared for disappointment, but the outcome was no less frustrating.

“The issue arose that I was undocumented, and since the editor-in-chief position is a paid position, and it is a federal work-study program, I couldn’t apply for it,” he said.

Michael Moreau, faculty advisor to the paper, was forced to give him the managing editor position instead.

“He has some authority and he is utilizing his skills,” Moreau said. “But he just doesn’t get paid anything because we can’t give him any money, which I am sure he could use.”

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