Awesome? The first day of school? At least for some of the 814 students who attend John O’Connell High School of Technology. Don’t believe us? Read on.

Juan Sanchez: Sophomore. Plans to go to Santa Clara University.
“I’m excited to start school today because I’ll be making new friends and meeting new teachers. I also like the new clothes I just got. I’ve been a dancer for 11 years and I’d like to teach one day.”

Venezza Gonzalez: Senior. Starting her first year at John O’Connell.
“School’s alright, but I’m a senior so it’ll be over for me soon. Probably when I get out, I’ll go to Paul Mitchell’s or maybe community college … Before this I was in L.A., which I loved, but I think I’m gonna like it here too. The styles are pretty similar, ya know? Except maybe there’s a little more indie stuff here.”

Christian Gomez: Junior. One foot in the workforce.
“I’m not excited about starting school at all. I’d rather be working. That’s what I did all summer; just helped my dad put produce out for, like, $650 a week part-time. I like working better than school because you make money. But school’s not all bullshit. It’s important and I take it seriously. I’ll probably go to city college after this.”

Stephanie Garcia: Senior. An eye for fashion.
“This is my last year and afterward I’ll be going to university. I got bored over the summer so starting school feels ok. I really like the new fashions I see. Last year was all black and white, and this year everyone has colors. That’s why I have a green dress on.”

Lydia Chávez

I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born...

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