The Clarion: Selma High’s Greatest Lesson Plan

In order to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of The Clarion, we will be bringing you the voices of alumni who have written for the school newspaper, reflecting on their experience in Clarion and life beyond high school.


Marissa Garcia, Class of 15′

Marissa Garcia

Before writing to you today, I opened the “junk” drawer in my childhood bedroom, pulled out 26 folded up issues of The Clarion and read my Senior Reflection. I once wrote, “If there is one thing that high school has taught me… it is that in ten years none of the high school problems we stressed over will matter.” Although I am just shy of my ten-year reunion, I can confidently say I was right.
In high school, the pain feels never-ending, emotions are at an all-time high, and the minuscule conflicts feel deeper than a sinkhole. However, my advice to you is to sink yourself in the present moment and soak up every bit Selma High has to offer. Unbelievably, your time here builds the foundation for who you are and where you wind up in this lifetime.
However, Selma High’s greatest lesson plan was what I learned in the words I once wrote in those folded up newspapers.
As I sat in my bedroom and reread old articles, I was reminded that my strongest roots were built writing for – and goofing off in – The Clarion. I once wrote a feature piece about being single, a junior column highlighting the stressors of the then-approaching senior year, a debate on gender and of course, a news story covering the competitive rallies we used to have.
Paying a visit to my previous words was heartening because in my teenage years, I learned how to use my voice – I almost could not believe it. Then again, I could. For myself, and I am sure for fellow previous staff writers, The Clarion was a place of expression and vulnerability and Mr. Castle was our crutch of support.
Post-graduation, we often repeat the phrase “I wish I learned this in high school.” While we did not learn how to do our taxes, set up a Roth IRA or build our credit, eight years later what I can say is that our student run newspaper taught me so much about myself as a person and about my identity as a writer. Therefore, in commemoration of The Clarion’s 100th year anniversary, I will leave you with a piece of advice in Ask Klarissa fashion:
Q: I have always wanted to join The Clarion but I do not think I am a good writer.
A: You are probably not. In fact, you might be terrible. However, with the stroke of a red pen (Mr. Castle’s greatest editing tool) you can become one! Do not focus on the destination; enjoy the journey. The Clarion will – hopefully – teach you how to be a great writer but the time spent in Rm. 1505 will teach you so much more about yourself.

Marissa Garcia, is a previous staff writer, Kaleidoscope Editor and co-creator of The Clarion’s Ask Klarissa. She graduated from Selma High School in 2015 and the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and minor in Professional Writing. She works for the State of California’s Employment Development Department and is seeking a career as an Investigator for insurance fraud. She loves her family, the gym and attending concerts that make her ears bleed and hips swing.