YLHS Yearbook

After three years, I and my fellow newspaper seniors bid The Wrangler goodbye.

Caitlyn Truong, Editor-in-Chief

Four years ago, I entered high school with a very little grasp of where my interests lied. I was focused on finding friends and avoiding getting lost, not an extra class–and a zero period one, at that.


Three years ago, I joined newspaper as a photojournalist, uncertain about my inexperience with journalism but willing to explore a new program. I was not a particular fan or even follower of the news; I expected to churn out articles resembling those I saw my parents read on Sundays–dreary, tragic, and sometimes monotonous. I wondered when I would tire of writing about international politics, natural disasters, and catastrophes. Most of all, I was weary of waking up early to do so.


I learned quickly that the newspaper program at YLHS defied my pessimistic expectations. While writing about international politics, natural disasters, and catastrophes was possible, it was only one option among five different categories of articles I had the opportunity of writing: features, news, arts and entertainment, opinions, and sports. I was not confined to only international or national news; I could write about local events happening down the street that I found more relevant to my own life. 


I was excited to learn that I could write articles about almost anything, and I did–from movie reviews of my favorite series to spotlights on local events, I never ran out of ideas or material for articles. I was most surprised to discover that writing did not feel like a burden, but rather came effortlessly as I wrote about topics I was passionate about and believed in. I even felt my writing skills improve with each article I published, and my passion for journalism began to grow, though waking up early for zero period never became easier.


Two years ago, I expanded my role in The Wrangler by becoming a section editor, where I had the additional responsibility of editing photojournalists’ articles before they are published. As I continued to write my own articles about a variety of international, national, and local news, I also pushed myself out of my comfort zone by approaching interview-based articles. I had the opportunity of interviewing Yorba Linda Councilman Carlos Rodriguez, Yorba Linda Mayor Tara Campbell, and the Nelson family, who was impacted by a plane crash in a neighborhood only five minutes from our high school.


Interviewing these individuals taught me not only how to ask valuable questions and maintain a professional journalistic manner, but more importantly leave my comfort zone by meeting others and engaging them in memorable conversation. I began to feel like a real news reporter who shared the unique, first-hand stories of others, especially those who play an important rule in my community, and doing so only furthered my interests in journalism.


My plane crash article even won me my first “Best of SNO” award, and I celebrated my other section editors’ and photojournalists’ “Best of SNO” awards. That year, we won four “Best of SNO” awards and was awarded the “Best of SNO” badge, which also happened to be the first badge The Wrangler received. We were officially a nationally distinguished news site! Our badge was not our only accomplishment for that year, however, as we also expanded the program to include a student-run podcast, social media, and “Toilet Paper” editions.


One year ago, I had the opportunity to serve as The Wrangler’s editor-in-chief alongside Emily Ito (12), my fantastic co-editor-in-chief. Journalism had become one of my deepest passions, and I was excited for the responsibility of overseeing section editors, photojournalists, pitch sessions, the podcast, publicity, badges, and the website. I had the privilege of having one of the best staffs of section editors and photojournalists by my side as we strove to refine the newspaper program into the best version of itself.


Serving as the co-editor-in-chief proved to have its own challenges, as I struggled to balance my increased responsibilities in newspaper with college applications, classes, and other programs. While I wanted to pour all my efforts into The Wrangler, I found I could only devote so much time. Nevertheless, we achieved several accomplishments, including earning another “Best of SNO” badge as well as our first “Site Excellence” badge for our website layout. Emily and I also published our first paper newspaper, a special holiday edition with eight pages, which we were excited to receive praise for from our teachers and fellow students.


Our success of the paper newspaper encouraged us to plan for a spring edition. However, our plans were forced to halt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, to our shock, closed school and the world for the rest of the year. The Wrangler persisted, however, and we continued to write articles remotely through Google Classroom and even held pitch sessions through Zoom.


Having my senior year come to an early end and missing prom and graduation was difficult, especially because I had the opportunity of properly bidding farewell to the students, teachers, and programs that have shaped me for the last four years ripped away from me. Despite its uneventful end, however, my newspaper journey has only been eventful. I owe my passion for journalism, which I never expected to have, to Mrs. Shay (Staff) and The Wrangler, who showed me how to interview individuals, participate in a podcast, and oversee a brilliant staff of photojournalists and section editors. More importantly, I learned that I loved writing articles that are not always dreary, tragic, and sometimes monotonous, but rather that I am passionate about and have an impact on my community. 


I will forever cherish the memories, experiences, and friends newspaper has given me. As I close my high school chapter and open the next daunting chapter of college, I will keep journalism close to my heart and will find ways to continue writing and reporting. In the meantime, however, I would like to wish newspaper farewell.


Farewell to pitch sessions that so often became excitedly carried away.

Farewell to dashing between bathrooms to put up “Toilet Paper” editions in the stalls.

Farewell to waking up early every Tuesday and Wednesday (which never got easier).

Farewell to publicity launch days, where we sometimes carried around balloons to promote our website.

Farewell to podcast sessions, where we discussed anything and everything.

Farewell to watching our fellow students read and be interested in the articles we wrote.

Farewell to celebrating badges, “Best of SNO” awards, and our cartoonist Zachary Ninomiya (12)’s amazing drawings.

Farewell to Tuesday morning editor meetings, where we shared ideas, support, donuts, and laughs.

Farewell to the family we created in Room 370.

Farewell to The Wrangler.


Newspaper will always hold a special place in my heart, and I encourage anyone to join The Wrangler, regardless of whether you enjoy the news or dread it, as I once did. Doing so will be one of the best experiences of your high school career and life, as it has been with mine.