ECCO program exposes students to media outlets

ECCO program exposes students to media outlets

Richard Yacco

ON THE NEWS: Media Academy sophomores Estephani Quintero, Edith Quintero Maravilla, Jimmy Nguyen, Donell Wheat and Carl Sebastien Jean-Felix stand in front of a green screen during their visit to NBC on Dec. 7. The trip was part of the ECCO program.

KNTV television studios, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and KPFA radio station.

These are three places Media Academy juniors and sophomores have visited as part of the Exploring College and Career Options (ECCO) program being piloted this year. The course is taught by broadcast journalism teacher Richard Yacco.

Many students say they enjoy going on these field trips, including sophomore Frank Hartwell, who went to KNTV, the NBC affiliate in San Jose, on Dec. 7.

“It was fun. I liked it. I learned new things like what happens off camera,” said Hartwell.

While Hartwell and other sophomores were in San Jose at NBC, students on the Green & Gold newspaper staff and a few freshmen visited the Chronicle. The students received background information on the Chronicle and a short tour before watching the editors choose the days’ front page stories in a large conference room. They also spoke to the managing editor after the meeting.

“I think it was fun, but I wish it was longer so that we could see everything that they did during the newspaper and not just the meeting,” said Araceli Ramos, a junior who is the Green & Gold’s health editor.

The ECCO program is aimed at preparing teens for college and career options by giving schools funding to take students on field trips to businesses related to their academies and to colleges.

Students will be visiting colleges this month. Sophomores will go to California State University, East Bay, and juniors will go to San Francisco State University on Feb. 22.

While Media Academy has taken students to colleges for many years as part of its advisory program, this will be the first time in four years the school has money to take them to the colleges on chartered buses.

“I feel good because we don’t need to walk to the BART station and we will just go straight to the field trip,” said Nazario Matias, a junior.

This program teaches students skills in resume planning and writing, how to present themselves in an interview and what to look for in a job.

Several times a month, students are either pulled out of elective classes, such as newspaper, to do ECCO lessons or given instruction in the classes Yacco already teaches.

“I like [ECCO], because it’s interesting, and, in the future, I want to be a part of media,” said sophomore Eric Flood.

Diego Garcia, the news editor for the Green & Gold, appreciates the program.

“It’s really helpful for juniors because it helps us plan our resumes, gain new communication skills and plan for a better future,” said Garcia, a junior.

However, some juniors on the newspaper staff do not like missing their elective to participate in the program.

“It cuts into our class time and that’s an important class,” said Opinion Editor Arnice St. Remy. “If it was at a different time, I wouldn’t mind.”

Yacco defended the decision to take students out of the newspaper class because it is considered a “pathway class” in which students are supposed to learn about related career options.

This is the first year the Oakland Unified School Disctrict is participating in the ECCO project. Besides Media Academy, the program is also offered at Skyline and Far West high schools.