Tag Archives: Chaparral High School

The best laid plans

Sometimes the day doesn’t go the way you expected. Despite your best intentions. And because of them.

My husband and I planned to attend a girls lacrosse game on Saturday morning. We wanted to watch my honorary goddaughter, Ace Jenkins, in her first game of a new season with the Desert StiX. We showed up at the field at 11am, the time I’d noted on my calendar.

The game actually started at 10. It was my mistake; I’d entered it incorrectly on my calendar. So we missed the whole thing. But we enjoyed the chance to catch up with 10-year-old Ace and her dad, Tony.

Dan, who played lacrosse in college and was an enthusiastic fan for the eight years our son David played in high school and college, gave Ace some pointers. He encouraged her to practice picking up the ball with her stick, and explained a drill she could do on her own at home. Pickups are important, he explained, because the team that is most often in possession of the ball usually wins the game.

As we were talking, we noticed an older group of girls gathering at the other end of the field. As Ace and Tony left to go home, Dan and I walked down the field to investigate.

Dan, who still follows both boys and girls high school lacrosse in Arizona, quickly figured out what was going on. It was tryouts for the traveling team that will represent Arizona in the Women’s Division National Tournament at Stony Brook University in New York over Memorial Day weekend. Dan spotted Jessica Livingston, coach at Chaparral High School, who was leaning on crutches as she watched the warmups and drills from the sidelines. (She torn her ACL playing lacrosse a few weeks ago and won’t likely be playing again for the next six months.)

I needed a story for the Sunday website. Dan is always happy to write about lacrosse. And I had my camera. So my best laid plans gone wrong ended up right on track.

Read Dan’s story here.

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Ready for Camp Fair, with thanks to the Emmas

We have two wonderful interns from Chaparral High School: Emma Zang-Schwartz (left), who is the editor of the school newspaper and typically helps in our editorial department, and Emma Nyren, who assists our advertising and circulation departments.

When they’re not around, we call them “the Emmas,” or “Emma squared.” It’s done quite affectionately, and gratefully. I don’t know what we’d do without their help.

Thanks to “the Emmas,” hundreds of bags are stuffed and ready for families who will be coming to Camp Fair 2011 this Saturday (10am to 3pm at Tesseract School Shea Campus).

Several of us will spend much of Friday hauling these boxes (and many, many more) to Tesseract’s gymnasium. We’ll set up tables, chairs and pipe-and-draping. We’ll get everything organized for the next morning. Then we’ll drag ourselves home exhausted, sleeping fitfully as we think of last-minute details.

Come Saturday, all the work and preparations will be forgotten, replaced by excitement for the day ahead. Camp Fair is more than an opportunity for families to learn about summer camps; it’s a chance for us to reconnect with old friends, many of whom have come for each of the eight years we’ve coordinated this event. We’re ready, and we can’t wait.

The benefits of free labor

A sweet and incredibly bright young woman will be at my house for a couple of hours today, cheerfully doing anything I ask her to do. Yesterday, I had a talented college graduate and aspiring journalist here for five full hours, eagerly embracing any assignment I threw at her and then asking for more.

These women are unpaid interns. And I couldn’t manage without them.

Emma Zang-Schwartz took part in the "Locks of Love" program, allowing staff photographer Dan Friedman to document the before and after for one of his daily "DYK?" stories at raisingarizonakids.com.

Emma Zang-Schwartz is a senior at nearby Chaparral High School and will be the editor of the school’s glossy magazine during the upcoming school year. Since she started with us last spring, she has been my right hand with website tasks and something of an archiving wizard. I was delighted when she told me she plans to continue her internship throughout her senior year.

Brooke Mortensen is a graduate of Central Washington University, a recent transplant to Arizona who has taken over our RAK Community blog and helps me populate some of our other online features. She’s also written a story for our upcoming August issue.

Raising Arizona Kids has a long history of working with interns. Some have come to us through formal programs at ASU and various community colleges. Others have simply dropped into my lap through referrals from educators or friends. We got two great graphic arts interns through The Art Institute of Phoenix. (One of them, Michelle-Renee Adams, is now our Art Director.)

In some cases, our interns are the children of staff members. Vicki Louk Balint‘s son Robert has written for both the magazine and our Sports Roundtable blog. (This week he followed his mom’s footsteps and went multimedia. Watch his video essay on high school football’s “Big Man” competition.)

Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist enlisted her daughters’ help at a very young age. Solvay, now 11, has spent part of several summers shredding documents and stuffing envelopes with her big sister. As Mylan entered high school, she moved into writing and website administration.

In most cases, internships are mutually beneficial. I get free labor; interns get experience in the workings of a monthly publication and daily online “eZine.”

Brooke Mortensen proofreads pages at my kitchen island. (We are still working out of my home because of a June 2 flooding incident at our Scottsdale office.)

I’m a huge fan of unpaid internships. When someone is willing to come to a job and be held accountable to a schedule and job description — even when they’re not being paid — it shows a lot about their character and drive.

It also gives them great real-world experience they carry with them into future careers. One of our interns, a college graduate, parlayed her experience with us into a paid internship at O magazine. Another is now working as a multimedia journalist for a TV station in Las Vegas. And I recently got an email from yet another former intern who is working for a PR firm in Los Angeles.

My own son Andy did a full-semester unpaid internship at a newspaper in Washington, D.C. when he was a junior in college. Shortly after graduating, he landed a full-time position there. (He is now a writer for POLITICO.) My son David did volunteer work for the John Kerry presidential campaign in the summer of 2004. A few years later, he ended up with a paid summer job with the Arizona Democratic Party. He now works as a researcher for the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., where he shares an apartment with Andy.

I couldn’t have predicted what any of my former interns (or my sons, for that matter) would be doing now. But I certainly could have predicted that they’d be doing something productive and meaningful. For young people, internships are a good investment in the future.

And for the people who supervise them, interns are often a source of unexpected gifts and surprisingly rewarding relationships.

TOMORROW: How an intern helped me remember a turning point in my own career.

Sydney Lakin, who recently graduated from Chaparral High School, served as editor of the school magazine. She interned with us for a year and before she left (to devote her afternoons to the high school track team) she had the foresight (and class!) to recruit Emma to take her place. Sydney will be attending New York University this fall.

When she first started her intership with us, I doubt that current Art Director Michelle-Renee Adams (far right) expected she'd meet both a governor and a professional basketball player. From left: then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, multimedia journalist Vicki Louk Balint, me, Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash and Michelle (Fall 2008).

Sara Stroupe (left) interned with us before heading off to O magazine. Monica Lang (right), was another Art Institute of Phoenix intern who ended up assuming the role of Art Director and recruited Michelle. In the middle is former employee Desiree Patterson and her daughter, Olivia (June 2005).

One of my favorite photos of Solvay (left) and Mylan Blomquist (in a May 2005 photo) with their mom, Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist.

Day 5 after the flood – preparing for the invasion

Staff mailboxes and a basket of DVD giveaways awaiting pickup by contest winners.

My empty nest won’t be empty much longer. As my staff reports to work today, my home will be bustling with activity.

On the day of the office flood, we moved two unscathed computers here, which will allow us to access our network files, bookkeeping software and circulation management system. I already had a large-screen Mac here, plus my laptop. So in theory, four people could be working simultaneously to keep things going from this 12×18-foot space.

The office we evacuated was 3,000 square feet.

I went over there yesterday to look around for things we might need here. Things that hadn’t been shrink-wrapped, tagged and set aside for removal to an offsite warehouse, where they will be cataloged, cleaned and assessed.

On a hunch, I grabbed our staff mailboxes — the wonderful, homemade ones that Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist’s husband Evan created for us from wood out of his workshop at home. They now sit outside the door to my home office, just under the framed tickets my husband, two sons and father-in-law carried into Game 7 of the 2001 World Championship Series. When the Arizona Diamondbacks won that game it cemented our community in a way that was unprecedented.

A rainstorm from above had the same effect on my staff.

So today my home becomes “mission control” for Raising Arizona Kids. I called a staff meeting for this morning; everyone who is not out of town will be here. Some of our bloggers and freelancers will be here, and even our intern Emma Zang-Schwartz, who will enter her senior year at Chaparral High School in the fall.

Mala emailed me yesterday to ask if she could bring Bonnie, the office mascot. “I don’t want her to upset your cats,” she wrote. Bonnie, the sweet-natured chihuahua Mala adopted after Art Director Michelle-Renee Adams found her abandoned on the streets, is a source of comfort and laughter. “Bring her,” I responded.

“I’m also bringing cupcakes for the troops,” Mala wrote. Her homemade cupcakes are the best kind of comfort food.

“It’s not going to be the same around here,” I warned my husband, who has taken this change in stride. I think both of us have missed the hubbub of two extremely social sons who now live and work in Washington, D.C.

“I think we can manage,” he replied.

We’re ready for the invasion. Bring it on.