Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Field Trip Focus!

“#1: Business Class Visits 9/11 Landmarks”

It is a special occasion when Pascack Hills High School students go on a field trip and in turn experience a part of history first-hand and exclusively, which is why I am thrilled to write this piece on the trip to lower Manhattan with Ms. Gamgort’s International Business Practice Firm class and Business Club members that I had the honor of attending on November 14th.

Ms. Gamgort, Mr. Ganz, Ms. Adams, and almost forty PHHS students were bussed to several iconic locations in New York City.

“I wanted them to see the impact that 9/11 had on the business district in lower Manhattan,” Ms. Gamgort explains, “especially the Essex World Cafe, as well as the rebuilding process.”

As business students, we were able to see the impact on customer clientele at the Essex World Cafe, run by Ms. Gamgort’s father. Before the horrific attack on September 11, 2001, most of the customers were businessmen and women. During the recovery process, the Essex World Cafe was used as a medical center for 9/11 victims. After the rebuilding process, the cafe reopened and its customers are now mainly construction workers who are rebuilding new World Trade Centers, including the Freedom Tower.

During the day, the group visited the 9/11 Tribute Center, which was an emotional and powerful experience in which we were able to see important artifacts from the twin towers, read vivid quotes, and see how the rest of the world reacted to the attack by building their own memorials to commemorate the huge loss.

Later in the day, the group paid respects to those who lost their lives due to 9/11 at the newly opened memorial. The waterfalls are the biggest man-made in New York City and each is built in the footprints of each WTC tower.

“The unforgettable highlight,” Ms. Gamgort recalls, “was visiting the 101st floor in The Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center).”

Thanks to Ms. Gamgort’s connections to the Port Authority, we had the unbelievable opportunity to visit the Freedom Tower, which is still a closed-off construction site.

Riding up the unfinished elevator to the 101st out of 104 floors clad in Port Authority hard hats and stepping out onto the wooden surface to look out upon the picturesque view of most of Manhattan, the edges of New Jersey, and the Hudson River was undoubtedly one of the best experiences.

Walking around the Freedom Tower with nets for some of the windows, where history was being built, is something none of Ms. Gamgort’s business students will ever forget.

“The field trip was a huge success,” Ms. Gamgort says, “and I wanted to make sure it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for my students. I am so very proud of how respectful they were when visiting the Memorial and how appreciative they were when visiting my family’s restaurant and the Freedom Tower. An amazing time had by all, thank you!”

“#2: The GSSPA Journalism Conference”

On October 28th, the GSSPA (Garden State Scholastic Press Association) held their annual journalism conference at Rutgers University’s Busch Campus. The conference is open to all high school journalism students, yearbook staff members, and school newspaper staff.

This year, our very own Managing Editor, Susan Janowsky, and I as your Editor-in-Chief had the pleasure of attending this opportunistic day dedicated to bettering The Trailblazer.

Our Trailblazer teacher advisors Mrs. Elizabeth Manzella and Mr. Phil Bernardi attended, as well!

So, early morning on October 28th, the four of us hopped on the bus with a dozen people from Pascack Valley’s journalism class and embarked on a long, immensely knowledgeable day.

The GSSP Journalism Conference offers either seven or eight workshops about every hour and each guest chooses which workshop to sit it on. The Trailblazer’s editors went to “How to Draw Readers in with Your Lead” where we learned how to create an effective lead, which is the opening part of an article in order to grab readers’ attention as well as be informative.

Next, we went to “Creating Interesting Journalism Connections” in which we were given many tools to form new article ideas. Then, we attended “Manually Speaking: Staff Manuals to Connect You and Your Staff” where we learned how to construct a staff manual in order to keep track of each staff member’s duties and the intentions of our newspaper.

However, the most helpful and interesting workshop Susan and I attended was entitled “Shining Light on Local Issues” lead by the editor and one of the founders of the newspaper New Brunswick Today; he covered the importance of local news and how to best report it.

We learned about rights to public records that any high school student is able to access and implement into articles. For example, the speaker told us about the OPRA, the Open Public Records Act, which allows any citizen to access public records and government documents for free via email. Not only that, but you can OPRA any OPRA requests made by others!

Other programs that were held included workshops on sports writing, photojournalism, video news, and programs about how the journalistic media handled Hurricane Sandy.

Overall, the GSSP Journalism Conference was a huge success as well as a very beneficial learning experience for the high school students who were present and as your editors, Susan and I hope that what we learned will affect The Trailblazer and its staff positively.

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