HomeCommunityFrom the Padre to The Carmel Sandpiper: Over 60 years of student-run journalism at CHS

From the Padre to The Carmel Sandpiper: Over 60 years of student-run journalism at CHS


When poodle skirts, sock hops and soda fountains were all the rage, The Padre, precursor to The Carmel Sandpiper, was born. From an old-fashioned printing press to modern-day word processing, the Carmel High School student publication has undergone many revolutionary transformations through its 70-year run.

Former CHS Commercial Arts teacher Lloyd Miller was the first adviser to the bimonthly paper, creating it in 1950, only 10 years after the school was founded. Responsibilities were split into categories including typists and reporters, giving every student a different role. The Padre continued reporting until 1972 when the publication adopted a new name: The Sandpiper.

After nearly a decade of hiatus through the 1980s, English teacher Dale DePalatis applied for a teaching position at CHS and was asked if he had ever taught a newspaper class before, leading to The Sandpiper’s reestablishment in 1992. For the next 13 years, DePalatis, who is still teaching English at CHS, took the reins and published an issue roughly every two to four weeks.

“With newspaper, I’ve always taught by setting up kids as though it were a job,” the former adviser says. “I didn’t teach it as a typical academic class. Everyone had to be incredibly responsible with meeting their deadlines and proofreading work.”

DePalatis explains how students were in charge of certain categories for the paper, including features or news pieces. The publication also included show listings for upcoming concerts in the area and often ran movie previews. With the lack of internet access, this type of information was invaluable to the student population.

When DePalatis could no longer teach the course due to scheduling conflicts, there were five years where The Sandpiper was known as Ink’d, an artistic collage released once per semester, taking the form of a large cardstock cutout with fewer and lighter articles, namely opinion pieces. It was focused less on reporting and more an outlet for artistic expression.

In 2008, fellow English teacher Mike Palshaw took over the adviser position for The Sandpiper, admitting that he wasn’t familiar with the specifics of creating a high school publication.

“I studied journalism, so I was intrigued by it,” the current adviser says. “I didn’t know about the production of a high school paper, but DePalatis helped me a lot those first two years.”

Palshaw kept many of the same features and categories when he took over The Sandpiper, including the popular horoscopes, which made their debut in September 2002. Along with similarities, there were numerous changes to The Sandpiper with time.

2017 CHS graduate and editor-in-chief Anna Gumberg was a major part of the Sandpiper staff during her junior and senior years, reflecting that the biggest change The Sandpiper underwent during her time was a move to professional printing.

Before The Sandpiper printed off-site in its current form, the magic happened right in Room 23 using a Risograph, a high-volume printer. When the content and layout was ready for publication, students would take charge of printing, collating and creasing every page of the paper themselves.

2015 graduate and Sandpiper alum Carly Rudiger reflects back on printing day as a reminder that The Sandpiper really was student-run. To ensure all was going smoothly, a student would have to stand over the printer and check that the pages weren’t blurry or cut offline.

“We went from spending hours after school babysitting an ancient printer that jammed about every other page to simply sending a PDF over and receiving boxes of beautiful, colored issues that looked like real newspapers,” Gumberg reminisces. “It was revolutionary. It completely took The Sandpiper to the next level.”

While the off-site printing later proved to be a game changer, Palshaw explains his initial reluctance concerning the idea in 2016.

“I had a student who was pushing for off-site printing, so she could be more creative with layout,” Palshaw says of Erin Kreitman. “My reservation was that we were coming out with a newspaper every two weeks at the time and the costs of switching off-site were going to be higher. The motivation was that the big printer we were using was dying, and nobody made replacement parts anymore.”

Once The Sandpiper began printing through FolgerGraphics, based out of Hayward, the number of copies printed each issue increased greatly. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the staff printed about 250 copies and distributed around campus. Palshaw raised that count to 500 in 2008, but kept the publication on campus as well. Now, The Sandpiper prints 2,500 copies each month and distributes in local coffee shops, libraries and frequented businesses, greatly expanding its print readership, while simultaneously reaching more readers through PDF access to each issue on the school’s website.

With the new resources that came along with technological advances, the paper’s layout—the long process of organizing stories, graphics and art digitally to prepare for printing—has also changed through the years. For many years, The Sandpiper staff printed their publication at the same location as The Carmel Pine Cone or The Monterey Herald. They used Adobe Pagemaker, one of the first publishing programs, for layout.

Gradually, layout transitioned to using Adobe InDesign. With easy access to the internet, layout has become a little more straight-forward. Whenever faced with a technical problem, Palshaw immediately recommends his layout editors to find the answer somewhere online: “Google it,” he says.

Rudiger reflects on a piece she wrote in 2013 about the common use of hookah pens by teenagers, going so far as to see where she would be allowed to illegally purchase them in the area—no, she didn’t buy one. She remembers students rejecting the article because they could no longer easily buy their e-cigarettes, but Rudiger remained confident in the story.

Similarly, 2018 editor-in-chief Becca Goren explains her hardest story was one about sexting where she had to eloquently discuss the dangers of the topic while conducting sensitive interviews.

“I found it particularly challenging to present such a complex issue in a concise and comprehensive way while also conveying what the professionals that I spoke with found to be important,” Goren explains.

From all students, present and past, a general consensus remains that Newspaper is an experience like no other. It’s an opportunity to choose topics that are important to the community and put articles out for hundreds, if not thousands, to read. Nearing its 70th anniversary…in one form or another…who knows where the future will take CHS’ beloved Sandpiper.

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