This new column comes in the wake of my own personal “breaking news.” After nine incredible years as the North Valley reporter and weekend anchor for ABC30 (and 16 years in television news altogether), I am excited to now be the first public information officer and district development officer for the Merced City School District.
One part of my job is sharing news about the district, its students, staff, programs, and projects with the community. With 18 campuses, nearly 11,000 students, and 1,200 employees, there is plenty to keep me busy!
Since I announced this career change in April, some people have asked why I decided to move on from a position they perceived as fun, adventurous, and perhaps even glamorous.
The truth is I did love the rush of doing something different every day, witnessing historic moments and sharing what I learned on live television. I also felt a deep responsibility to keep people informed, and that often included covering crimes, court cases and controversial issues.
However, I honestly can say that my favorite topics to report on have always been the positive ones. I love when stories I share make people smile, feel inspired, or just feel good about our community.
As I thought about those uplifting stories, I realized many of them have focused on students doing great things – from donating backpacks to dominating spelling bees to overcoming obstacles. And behind those children are parents, teachers, administrators, coaches, volunteers and other adults who have dedicated their lives to making a difference.
This new position already has allowed me to share many moments of kindness, creativity and overall excellence. You may have read about the two MCSD students who graduated from eighth grade despite battling cancer, the mural Hoover Middle School students painted or the letters of gratitude Stowell Elementary students wrote to a World War II veteran on the Central Valley Honor Flight.
Those are just a few of the heartening stories I’ve had the opportunity to share in my first couple of months.
With this column, I look forward to writing about more student successes, outstanding educators, and innovative programs. I will also keep you updated on projects that affect the community as a whole. So please “stay tuned,” and feel free to send any questions or ideas my way.
Sara Sandrik, an Emmy Award-winning former journalist, is the public information officer for the Merced City School District. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.