Two Club Founders Share Their Story
By Brenda Martinez '21
The Spartan Press is ICA's newspaper club that was established in the spring of 2019. It was founded by two ICA students, Daniella Arevalo ‘21 and Katie Quach ‘21. They were both sophomores when they set out to create the Spartan Press. As they are both graduating this year, we decided to interview them about their experiences leading the club.
(From left to right: Daniella Arevalo '21, Katie Quach '21)
What inspired you to re-start the newspaper club at ICA?
Daniella: Well, to be honest, it wasn’t actually my idea to start the Spartan Press. One day, Katie and I were talking, and she brought up the idea of a newspaper club at ICA. I thought it was a super cool idea and was excited to help her get that project started. I’ve been pretty passionate about writing ever since I was little, and as I got older I developed an interest in current events, so I thought starting a student newspaper was the perfect chance for me to cultivate my interests. I was also comfortable working with school staff and leadership (especially with Katie) because of my position as a Sophomore Class Officer, so it all just came together.
Katie: One Friday I was eating Doritos and thought, why don’t we have a newspaper club? Our school has had a reputation for its miscommunication and having an outlet/platform, such as a newspaper club, would hopefully resolve these issues. The second thought that came to mind was how lonely it would be if I ran it solo, so my brain instantly went and thought of Daniella. We worked closely together on previous student council projects so I knew our dynamics were great.
Daniella: Fun fact: we didn’t know that we were technically “re-starting” ICA’s newspaper club! We found that out while we were doing research for our first release.
Katie: YEAH^ WHAT SHE SAID!!!! We thought we were the OG’s. Who knows what the heck the Megaphone or the Echo were anyways?
What was the hardest part of starting the Spartan Press?
Daniella: I consider myself lucky, because I think we had a strong, energetic start. But, I think that I definitely struggled with my nervous outlook. Looking back, we were doing great for two sophomores running a club for the very first time, but I was scared of believing and having confidence in my opinions. For example, I had a lot of self-doubt surrounding whether or not my ideas for articles were good, or if I was making the right decisions when it came to managing our teams or helping with article revision.
Katie: The fact that I have to think about this question is a good sign. The hardest part was the underlying fear that our club wouldn’t retain people as much as it attracted them. For example, it was a bit nerve-wracking to ponder if my friends would be interested in our club, and beyond that, if I would get hurt if they left.
Daniella: Yeah, I definitely relate to that. Obviously I understand that to most people a student newspaper isn’t the most interesting thing in the world, but it was hard learning to accept that not everyone would be as passionate about and committed to it as we were.
Katie: On the flip-side, it’s been very rewarding to see our passion being reflected and shared with the staff that have grown with us and our club. Much appreciated <3
What was the hardest challenge when taking the club to an online format?
Daniella: It was definitely a learning curve. Q4 of the 2019-2020 school year was very hard for me on a personal and academic level because of the transition to online school and quarantine in general. Coming into the new school year, I was maybe over-cognizant of the fact that other students would probably be struggling as well, so it was hard to find a balance between not being an additional stressor in club members’ lives and providing enough pressure to actually get work done. After we found that balance, though, we began to hit our stride.
Katie: I was not as sympathetic as her. I think she’s a pushover. My view may come off as harsh but no matter the reason, or how valid, it resulted in some people thinking of the newspaper club as discontinued. To be frank, we didn’t get much work done in the first semester in terms of publishing or gaining members. On top of that, we had only known a paper publishing style, so interestingly enough all of our formerly secondary resources, like our website, became primary. Finding new resources to cater to our now-virtual club, as well as learning how to teach online was definitely the most challenging bit.
What has been your favorite highlight/favorite part of the Spartan Press?
Daniella: That is such a hard question. I could probably go on forever about this. Obviously, I love being able to interact with fellow writers’ work and see the way they think and communicate --at the end of the day this is a club focused on writing--but on a personal level I’m grateful for being able to grow with the Spartan Press. I can go grab my issue of the very first release we ever did as a club and instantly be transported back to my little 15-year-old sophomore self. I remember what I thought, what I cared about, what scared me… Looking back at all of our releases is almost like a time capsule. I’ve definitely grown with this club and am grateful for being able to do so. I’m excited to leave a little piece of me behind in the Spartan Press.
Katie: My favorite bit about the Spartan Press is all the time spent working with Daniella. I get this recurring feeling of excitement yet comfort to know that whenever we’re going to work together, she’ll also have that same energy and passion. That’s why whenever we work together it’s so smooth. Behind the curtains of our Zoom calls & presentation material are, sometimes, 10pm to 1am calls, meet-ups at cat cafes, and so much more, all for the Spartan Press.
Daniella: Yes, I’m definitely grateful to have an equally as passionate partner to work with. Running the Spartan Press takes a lot of time and energy. Even though we have our differences sometimes, the end result is always something I can be proud of.
What has been your proudest achievement with the Spartan Press?
Daniella: This is kind of cliched, but I think just being able to have an impact on the ICA Cristo Rey community is something that I’m going to carry with me for a long time, for example: seeing staff writers come up with ideas I never would have thought of, or teachers reaching out and complimenting the latest issue. I’m proud of actually going out and affecting people’s lives. Whether it’s me as the Editor-in-Chief or some future student in ten years, the Spartan Press will be something that made change, however big or small, in the ICA community. So basically, I’m proud of the legacy I hope to leave behind.
Katie: This is factual. Early sophomore year, I remember this so vividly, we were sitting in student park chatting, and when a topic came up she said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to leave a legacy?” She said it so nonchalantly… little did she know she would be the head of a newspaper club in the following semester. Anyways, I’m most proud of how everything worked out. For starters, our club didn’t DIE. There were rough patches but never a giving-up point and I take pride in our perseverance.
Daniella: There were definitely some rough patches. I have had my fair share of moments of severe doubt and worry, but the club has always been able to pull through. I’m happy to be able to say that.
Any advice for future writers/editors of the Spartan Press?
Katie: A wise person once told me, “The first airplane is the worst but it’s still the first.” To the future writers and editors of the Spartan Press, if you wish to expand the club for future projects, don’t be afraid to. Daniella & I were just little sophomores who thought it would be an awesome idea to run a newspaper club. I’ll admit it was and still is a bit scuffed but hey… it was the first (to our knowledge at the time)! Just remember to always communicate and be considerate and everything should work out.
Daniella: You can basically bend this club to be whatever you want it to be. You can write about current events, or fashion, or art, or even memes. If there’s passion, I know you’ll succeed. However, it’s also important to remember that it’s okay to fail, and to not give up. You have to try new things in order to get new experiences, and no matter the outcome, you can be happy with the knowledge that you tried. I know that personally, there’s a ton of things I wish we could have done with the Spartan Press, so I hope that the future editors are able to branch out and expand our horizons. It might be difficult or even scary, but despite how cheesy it may sound, good things can come from bad situations. For example, the department editor position came to be because I was having trouble organizing the club. Even though it sucked, to put it plainly, admitting to myself that I needed help, the club ultimately came out better because of it. You can be scared to try new things, but you shouldn’t let that hold you back. Maybe that first step looks like pitching an idea for the first time, or signing up for an article about a topic you’ve been meaning to learn about, or even reaching out to try to become a department editor-- just remember that you have no idea what you’re capable of until you go out and do it.