The Clarion: A Stronghold of Student Voices

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.


Ivana Matias Perez

Ivana Matias Perez

In an age of societal and communal change, there still seems to be room in the world for traditional journalism. The power of human communication is undeniable and, although what seems to be changing are the platforms and mediums in which journalism is being presented, lasting effects cannot be dismissed. Student writing, such as that found in The Clarion, is one of the most crucial mediums in displaying and encouraging student voices. Considering that Selma High School is an intended space for student development, the importance and validity of a student-run paper must never be undermined.
When looking back at my time in Clarion and Selma High overall, memories of uncertainty flood in. I think about all the knowledge that I felt I wanted to learn but couldn’t manage to get because of how unfamiliar I was with academic spaces. As a teenager I wanted to know everything about the world and “find out who I was” in conjunction with being a young indigenous woman, who historically was never meant for western U.S. standard education. I soon came to realize that I in fact didn’t know everything and that, in this society at least, if I wanted to find knowledge, I was going to have to fight for it. Clarion managed to open my eyes to a space of knowledge, information, and advocacy, something that I see parallel to the kind of satisfaction I get from my collegiate education.
Student journalism fulfills student writing and aids literacy that eventually transcends holistically across all subjects and curriculums. I, as a future English teacher and as a current performing arts educator, truly believe that student journalism allows for comfortability in creativity, self- expression, and better comprehension in students. It gives room so that they learn how to create and manipulate their own gathered knowledge and ideas. Student journalism dismantles a binary way of thinking and permits for a better understanding of what teachers prefer to call “critical thinking.” With so much information and chaos that comes from a planet with billions of people, knowing how to value your own writing means one learns to value their own voice. My first voice spoke Spanish so I worked to see my Spanish voice published in The Clarion. Considering the demographics of our school, student journalism not only welcomes more voices; it welcomes more kinds of voices.
If I were to look up what defines a student journalist I essentially get: student who gathers, complies, writes, edits, records, or prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored media. But to add onto that, student journalism can model the chance for students to point out and work through real problems that may exist within their communities. Who better to write on the struggles of student-athletes than student athletes? Who better to criticize standardized tests than the ones taking the tests? Who better to speak on what is going on in the world of a student than the student living in it?
One hundred years ago, the buildup of Selma High was very different; the year 1923 describes a world very different to 2023. The Selma High School Clarion has existed through the age of the Great Gatsby, WWII, the Great Depression, Sputnik, segregation, 9/11, Covid- 19 and continues to exist in the same timeframe now as TikTok. The writing of a 1923 student has become very different than that of a 2023 student in style and content, but the overseer of that societal change has stayed consistent. The Clarion holds a treasure of 100 years worth of knowledge, 100 years of Selma history, 100 years of student voices.
The writer in me forces me to question if my voice will be heard in another 100 years, and with that, will yours matter and be seen in another century? I would like to believe that journalism will continue to stand by that question and that the Clarion will continue to aid that logic.
Happy 100 years to my dearest friend, The Clarion.

Ms. Ivana Matias Perez is a Selma High School alumna. During her time there she was a reporter and editor for The Clarion. She graduated Top 25 from SHS and went on to graduate with her associate’s degree in English Education from Fresno City’s Honors Program. Currently she is on track to become an English teacher, majoring in English Education with an emphasis in rhetoric at Fresno State University. Ms. Matias Perez is currently working for Selma Unified as a color guard technician for the ALMS and SHS color guard programs.