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The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


Journalism students benefit from book about the history of Pleasanton

AVJournalism receives 10k donation from proceeds of “Cruising Down Memory Lane Stories of Pleasanton in the 1950s”
Daniel Cruz
Three Valleys Community Foundation donated the “Cruising Down Memory Lane: Stories of Pleasanton in the 1950s” book profits to AVJournalism to help fund the program.

On Thursday, March 7th, the AV Journalism program received a donation from the Three Valleys Community Foundation. The creator of the book “Cruising Down Memory Lane Stories of Pleasanton in the 1950s,Donna Kamp McMillion worked with the Three Valley Community foundation to donate all of the profits from the book  to support the AV Journalism Program.

Cruising Down Memory Lane Stories of Pleasanton in the 1950s” was written to show the history of Pleasanton, using the voices of the people. The book tells stories from the point of view of people who lived in Pleasanton through ghostwriting. Every page was signed by each storyteller, approving the way ghostwriters Lauren de Vore and Dan Sapone wrote it. 

“I know how this program is going to use the grant, and I’m really glad, because you’re going to be producing the newspaper, The Amadon. I picked up one of the newspapers, and I remembered when I went to Amador they were mimeographed. There were only two or three pages and that was it. Then I picked up your newspaper and I was wowed. It is so professional, and so it is just exciting to think we are supporting that,” said McMillion. 

Project Beginnings

The storytellers involved, including Amador alumni, love reading the Amadon and were happy to help AVJ continue growing their program. (Daniel Cruz)

Journalism advisor Wendy Connelly and McMillion met a year ago, and worked together to promote the book since. Connelly and AVJournalism attended several Book Talk events with McMillion to express their gratitude. 

“We really have to thank Patrick Gannon because when Donna McMillion came to him and said she was looking for a program that tied into what she was doing with the book, he recommended that we meet. So she came over and she and I sat down and started this conversation about what she wanted to accomplish. She asked all these questions about what we do in AVJournalism. AVJournalism is not a hard program to sell. Our students are amazing and they do amazing things for our community. It’s a class that I love to teach and it’s a program that I really believe in,” said Wendy Connelly, AV Journalism Advisor. 

McMillion donated the money to help this program continue to flourish. The Editor in Chief board and Connelly have already begun discussing and planning many ways to use the funds to help the journalism program grow. 

Journalism advisor Wendy Connelly and the EICs are eager to see how they can further improve equipment and projects with the new funds. (Daniel Cruz)

Benefits to AVJournalism Program

Each year, the AVJournalism class produces a newspaper (the Amadon), an online news website (AmadorValleyToday), a weekly news broadcast (AVtv), and a podcast channel on Spotify (AVRadio). 

The newspapers produced by the class are delivered around the campus and left in shops in downtown Pleasanton. AVJournalism is one of only a few high school journalism programs left in the Bay Area that still produce a newspaper. Funding a newspaper is expensive and the students in the program work to raise the funds to print the newspaper. The donation from McMillion will help students continue to produce their newspaper and help with other needs they have to produce their publications.

“I’m incredibly grateful for this donation given to Amador Valley Journalism. It’ll help us exponentially fund the paper and the projects that we do, which run through our classroom. We’re a fully self-funded program, so we need a lot of fundraisers to produce the media we want to create. So this grant money that we received is going to help us fund the paper, go on our annual JEA Conference trips, and boost the program, and continue to our best ability,” said Zaynah Shah (‘24), Amadon Editor-in-Chief.

Many AVJournalism students showed their excitement for seeing this donation bring more opportunities for the program. Since Journalism is a self-funded program, this grant can help them in multiple ways.

”I think it was really great that we can get this check because it can help our program so much. We’ll be able to print more Amadons and get new gear, like cameras and mics. I was honored to have been at the donation because it means journalism can do even more next school year and I was happy to see us receive that opportunity,” said Aileen Hu (‘24), AVT Editor-in-Chief.

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