My 100th news article


Esteban Serrano, Lead Editor

It took me two years to get to 100 published stories, but honestly, it feels like I have written more. I have been awaiting this moment for a while and I am happy to say it’s here and that I thank you, readers, for taking a look at this special 100th article. Quite frankly, I can’t even surmise the fact that I have put pen to paper 100 times to bring Central’s community, and even those who aren’t a close part of our community, the fascinating stories and events that take place here and really around this city.

For those of you who may not know exactly who I am, I am The Pep’s Lead Editor and have been for three years. I started my sophomore year and was taught by one of the best in the business, Mr. Tim Cassler. I started the latter half of that year, only because my attempt to make the basketball team was a failed mission. I found more joy and closure in this, primarily because this is what I want to pursue as a career. Due to COVID-19, my 100th story probably would’ve come a lot sooner, but limitations have caused this newspaper to take some bounces in the past 2 years, and so has the world. The world has changed so much in the past couple of years, in what feels like a couple of days.

This hasn’t been the only thing under my belt as a student. I am currently and have been a part of other clubs and organizations such as Varsity Bowling for two years, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Quill and Scroll Honor Society, Campus Ministry, a commentator on the sports broadcast team, National Hispanic Institute, art club, and even student ambassadors… just to name a few.

I have even found myself more inclined to write in these past couple of years than before, and I published my first short novel in June of 2021. I titled it “Essential,” and it’s really nothing, just a short novel about fictional front-line workers during the beginning of COVID. I got inspired to write it primarily because of stories I covered during the pandemic, specifically speaking with some people who fell underneath that category, and members of my family who endured quite a bit at the start.

But under all of that, my longing love for journalism has driven me to continue doing these stories on a constant basis. Of course, academics overshadow and sometimes it becomes more important than writing a news article, which is partially why I haven’t reached 100 stories a long time ago. Although this year has been rough with personal endeavors, challenges, and mental preparation for my life ahead following this year, I have still interviewed and written these articles as a way to not only challenge myself to do something spectacular but to hopefully inspire people to achieve goals beyond reasonable doubts.

As I look back on 100 published pieces this month, I want to highlight 22 in particular, as an ode to 2022, my senior year. These are 22 of my favorite stories, which I had fun covering or I feel has some significant meaning to our current time in history:

22. Central Lacrosse Program gains new head coach- January 10, 2020

Mr. Cassler

This was the first-ever story I was assigned to write. Under Tim Cassler’s advisory, he threw me into the water as I was just a baby learning to swim. Coach Gonzalez was also very understanding of that. Partially, I believe the sympathy of him knowing what being a student at Central was like and therefore he was calm and patient enough to be interviewed by my clueless self. However, I feel as if the new lacrosse coach theme of this story was only fitting as The Pep had just gained a new writer. Go back and read it, and I guarantee you’ll find some major marginal improvement in the writing style of these articles.

21. Election 2020: America has spoken- November 16, 2020

This was probably the most intense time of anyone’s lives, just watching a Presidential Election play out over the course of four days. It seems like a couple of months ago, yet it was almost two years ago. As soon as it broke that Saturday morning, I immediately wrapped up what the past few days were in terms of vote counting, final standing reported by sources such as the AP, and jubilant Americans taking the streets in cities across the country. Personally, it was a very awkward time to be living through. The country had a choice between two different candidates with totally opposing agendas. It was a matter of in what way did Americans feel about the future, and that is what lead the election. It was nerve-wracking to see where we were going to be headed, it really was. I also felt like this was a very important time to realize the importance of elections, especially in a historic time such as 2020. That is primarily why we decided to cover it because usually, politics isn’t a favorite topic of the Pep to write about. It’s not a disagreement cause, but a simple “no one will care” type of obligation. However, I do wish to observe some political-based articles in the future and near future as this newspaper continues to be published.

20. “Chosen” concert rocks blend of rap and religion- January 24, 2020

Mr. Cassler

Joe Melendrez was the first “celebrity” I ever interviewed. Yes, he is quite a big deal among young Christian people, especially with the U.S. tours he had prior to the pandemic where he visited schools nationwide. Look him up sometime, his music is straight “fire” to say the least. He was a very interesting and heart-warming guy to interview. He was also an alumnus of Central, which made it extra special. His concert was a part of Catholic Schools Week celebrations in 2020. Our conversation covered a wide range of topics including his love for music, how he was on MTV while a student at Central, and his passion for inspiring people to be like Christ.

19. Bryant Legacy reaches farther than L.A.- January 30, 2020

Photo by Olivier Collet on Unsplash

This one was a tough one to write. It was #5 under my published list. I remember the exact day the news was breaking. I was just minding my own business watching the Pro Bowl in the living room, while ABC News broke into the game to tell the world there was a report by TMZ explaining Kobe Bryant was dead, and that his daughter was as well. I then looked at my phone and it was officially confirmed by TMZ, the first to report it. The rest of that day, I contemplated life with a heavy heart. I was watching the Spurs game against the Raptors around high noon. The news had already broken and it was safe to say there was not a clueless person inside the AT&T Center, including Bally Sports Commentators (At the time FOX Sports Southwest) Bill Land and Sean Elliott, were calling the game with somber voices. Each team took a 24-second shot clock violation to start the game in honor of one of Bryant’s retired numbers. Upon writing this, Student Council had agreed that Sunday night to give the student body the chance to wear a sports jersey to school because Bryant was an inspiration to all athletes, and a household name to all sports fans worldwide.

18. Central Mom celebrates memory of senior- June 21, 2021


Noah “Seby” Cullum was supposed to be a senior in 2021. He and his intelligent mind were supposed to walk the stage and celebrate with his brothers on being survivors of a four-year journey. However, an accident while on vacation killed Cullum, which left his family, his friends, and the community in shock. His mother, Marlene Cullum, gave a speech at the 2021 Mother-Son Celebration at Central and mentioned how she was missing a crucial part of her life. Following that speech, like many who listened and understandably shed tears that afternoon, I got in touch to follow up. She explained her words in a deeper sense and gave more insight into what losing her son was really like, and what parents may take for granted from time to time. Cullum was honored with her son’s class ring at the junior ring ceremony, and at graduation was honored with a special picture and his diploma.

17. Teachers recall attacks 20 years later- September 10, 2021

Anthony Fomin (via Unsplash)

I was not alive to witness September 11, 2001. I am alive now, however, to see the raw archives and news reports on YouTube. I simply can not put myself in a citizen’s shoes of that day just to bear witness to fear becoming reality and the horror caused by such an attack. In some emotional interviews, with the help of my fellow staff writer James Peterson, we had some current teachers recall that day. One notable interview was with Math Teacher Tammy Schrader, who was working here at the time of the attack. She recalls massive fear in the school, how communication was slow, and the precautionary measures staff members took to reassure people that nothing would happen here in San Antonio, or at Central Catholic. Gina Rea is a current religion teacher, and she lived in New York at the time. Her account says it all and the emotion she gained by explaining her point of view of that was something I will never forget. Just seeing the stress and recall in her eyes was something really intriguing. This past year was the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

16. Front of School now memorial- May 17, 2021

Mr. Cassler

My Instagram feed one night brought up a report from KSAT Reporter Steve Spriester, that a car crash had taken place in front of Central. It wasn’t early enough for students or even faculty to have been here. It was around 9:00 at night, and it had even made headlines that night as “late-breaking.” We did find out from school officials and San Antonio Police that a cyclist was hit by a drunk driver, which is what led up to N. St. Mary’s Street being blocked for a period of time. Fast forward a couple of days- I am walking out of my class’ junior ring ceremony. My mother wanted to take pictures in front of the school. With that, we turn the corner and see cyclists from all around San Antonio and what appeared to be sobbing members of her family. The entire block of the street was crowded with people as candles were being lit, wreaths, and other memorial objects were being placed at the steps of the front. Interviewing Dean of Students, Ali Goljahmofrad and getting his account of what it was like to even talk with her family touched my heart. We did attempt to contact members of the cyclist’s family but were unsuccessful. The bike and flowers were left attached to the historical marker for the number of days representing the lady’s age.

15. Central Photographer shines bright in sports coverage- February 8, 2022

Considering I met Lauren during football season, I was wondering why no one had ever tried to get a story published about her. She is the photographer behind some cool photos of Central, Providence, and Incarnate Word events, but is more known for the many sports action shots you see all over social media feeds. Her passion for photography is very inspirational, and she shares her short journey so far here at Central. The Incarnate Word High School graduate does not plan on leaving her freelance job here at Central anytime soon and says she never wants to leave. I also found it very interesting how she claimed she had never been the center of attention. I am hoping that this story brought more light to the work she puts in highlighting student-athletes and even scholars in many different ways.

14. Central Brotherhood helps sisterhood softball- April 11, 2021

via @ProvetsAthletics on Facebook

This one hit closer to home for me than a few that I have written. My sister attends Providence and is on the softball team. One night, the team decided to stop at a restaurant on their way back from a victorious night in Austin. Well, tragedy struck as their bus was broken into and all their school equipment was taken with only a small remainder of softball bats and gloves left behind. It was a scary moment for her and she was a little awestruck by what had transpired. It was like that for a few days and understandably so, which partially inspired me to write this story, and the follow-up two weeks after. Their head coach, Kat Chavarria was gracious enough to share what they had planned, which was a barbecue fundraiser to help the girls. I was a part of the volunteer team and was gathering quotes and pictures when I had time in between what I was doing. A lot of Central students and their families bought plates and showed up to help the girls. There was a bigger turnout than expected that they ran out of food, and were selling nothing but sodas, drinks, and whatever was left! The team did get a larger donation than expected as well, which made for an even more joyful ending to a tragic start.

13. Math Teacher shares vaccine experience- March 3, 2021

Esteban Serrano

This was just another positive sign of technology doing good, and that the pandemic would soon show some relief in the near future. While controversy about the government mandating vaccines was going on, some of the teachers here were had no hesitation to protect themselves and their families. Tammy Schrader, a Math teacher, was one of them. She shared her experience getting her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This was a huge milestone for the pandemic and something for history as well. It was Phillip Graham who popularized the phrase, “Journalism is the first draft of history,” and I feel this was one of these stories.

12. Texas Tundra 2021: tips to survive the cold- February 18, 2021

Mr. Cassler

I feel like right as we had to deal with COVID, another abnormality occurred. This story was written as we were all home trying to stay warm. There were some tips experts were suggesting to try and get people to do in order to “survive” this weird storm. It was very weird indeed, and many things immediately were covered in snow on Valentine’s Day night in 2021. Throughout the week as power started to become scarce and so did heating, anything and everything was crucial in your own household. What is special is that this article was quoted in a national news article about the storm on the Voxitatis Blog of, which was written at the time of the storm.

11. Historic Snow Blankets San Antonio- February 16, 2021

Esteban Serrano

This was the first story we had covered about the snowstorm. It was published just 48 hours after the first snow fell. At first, it was a miracle as San Antonio had not had a snowstorm like this since 1985. Streets and roads were covered in snow as it fell for a few hours, then stopped, then snowed yet again later in the week. Going outside that night of February 14th was something weird and unforgettable. My foot sank into a soft chunk of snow and my hands felt like a cloud was splitting right through my fingers. Snow kept falling into my eye in an angled direction.

10. Texas arctic blast 2021: electricity is scarce- February 18, 2021

Mr. Cassler

Another snow story?- you might be asking. Well, the snow was a long, yet stressful thing to cover as the week transpired and the storm was continuing to poor. This was more of a personal narrative from Former Principal Walswick and me, in which he shared some insight on his situation while I was in my own boat, struggling to log in to my computer to type up the story- because of the outage. Too many candles and safe heat cans were used that week…

9. High hopes in historic inauguration- January 30, 2021

Erin Schaff-The New York Times

While the Inauguration of Biden and Harris was still obligated to happen following the January 6 attack at the Capital, high-security measures were in place. The hybrid schedule Central had during COVID allowed me to stay home the day of the Inauguration, and my curious self had the television on while getting work done. It was truly a good feeling to see the first female/multi-racial Vice President being sworn in, as well as the oldest President to ever be sworn in as well. Such a jubilant day while many young people were watching around the country, hopefully being inspired.

8. ‘R2D2’ provides extra layer of comfort on campus- November 23, 2020

 I got to interview a robot… just kidding, I didn’t actually. During COVID, the school took extra measures to make sure the school was germ-free for a period of time to prevent the virus from being transmitted on surfaces. Xenex, a company based right here in San Antonio, helped the school rent and even name the robot to use for a period of time. Melinda Hart, the spokesperson for the company, sat down via Zoom with me to talk about the robot itself, what it does, and how their company has also had success around the country during COVID.

7. #NoahStrong Series- September 2020-present

This series of stories account for a majority of my 100. Happily so, I would continue to follow up on Noah’s inspirational journey. All the stories we have covered to follow his journey have only gotten more positive as each one was published. The positivity he and his mother, Debi Harper bring was, I believe, a contributing factor to Noah’s amazing recovery. To this day he is attending the University of Pittsburgh, has started a non-profit to have childhood cancer patients receive blankets, and is cancer-free.

6. Providence Hosts annual tree lighting with special guest- November 29, 2021

This was probably the highlight of my holiday season- doing this particular story. Providence High School, right next door, is 70 years old this year! Their annual tree-lighting celebration took place and it was spectacular. Student showcases overshadowed the night in many ways such as their show choir, dance team, and art students. Bill Taylor, Head Meteorologist at KENS-TV, was the star of the event and collecting toys for kids of Child Protective Services. I had the chance to chat with him about his mission in an exclusive interview. What was also special was the little “journalist-helping-journalist” talk we had afterward and just having a genuine conversation as the event was coming to an end. He gave me tips on enhancing journalistic skills, becoming a professional journalist, and what it’s like to work in such a competitive field. I grew up watching Taylor report the weather on the news every night, so that was something very special. Taylor was a very awesome man to interview, and I wish him the best of success with his Bill’s Elves mission in the future.

5. Antonian V. Central: Apache Coach Padron Exclusive- November 5, 2021

So ‘controversy’ is a word heard a lot around the field of Journalism. This was just another prime example. Considering I go to the “other school,” and he coaches at “West Avenue,” I thought it would be interesting to get his point of view on this rivalry. It was his first-ever Antonian vs Central game he was a part of but was no stranger to rivalry. This was actually an enjoyable phone interview, even though my palms were a little sweaty when doing it. A very kind-hearted coach, he gave his two cents on the story and was willing to do so from the time I emailed him requesting it. While the football game may not have gone in Central’s favor, I am hoping a genuine look into what the coach’s mindset was on the other side was an interesting take for people on Central’s side to read.

4. Central, KSAT, and TSP joint in huge collaboration- September 17, 2021

Our neighbors right across the street partnered with Texas Sports Productions this year and will do so for the next few, and many probably know by now. Many of us students, such as myself, have learned the art of broadcasting because of the club collaboration here at the school with both respective companies. That is where Staff Writer James Peterson and I met David Cuccio, the Creative Director at KSAT. He gave some insight into what the collaboration was primarily about, and even some more hints about what KSAT has planned for release in the future. After the interview, James and I got to see a little bit of the inside of the studio, courtesy of Cuccio.

3. Archbishop Visits Central for annual Mass- May 2, 2021

Mr. Cassler

After a two-year hiatus of his special visit to Central, Archbishop Gustavo returned for a Mass. Graciously, he was willing to be interviewed for a special article about the Mass. His presence was something that the Central Community needed as COVID-19 restrictions were coming to a close for the school year. The gym was actually packed with students for this Mass and it hadn’t been like that for a long time. It was another sign of advancement in the pandemic, and some light was shining at the end of the tunnel.

2. The Pep strives under new leadership- September 3, 2021

This year, with Tim Cassler leaving, a new teacher would have to take over Journalism. This is because the curriculum mapped out last year would include the media class bring brought back. Michelle Rivoire, our current advisor took over the shoes of Cassler this year. Interviewing her and getting to know her love for journalism was something special. To this day, she is doing a great job of conducting the course and keeping this newspaper active and running. I am stoked to see what her advisory does for the growth of this newspaper brings in years to come.

1. Central Honors Marianist Heritage Week 2021- January 30, 2021

Mr. Cassler

This was probably the biggest article of my 100. It’s not really anything special- I didn’t interview a big-name figure or travel anywhere to get pictures. It was right in the school’s backyard and caught the eye of someone very quickly. Bethany Herman, Director of Enrollment contacted me via email about a week following its publication. She had requested if she could send the article to Today’s Catholic Newspaper- the official newspaper of the Archdiocese. By all means, I told her to use it. I was told the story made it to the actual printed newspaper and would be in the February 12, 2021 issue of the newspaper. (Today’s Catholic publishes biweekly) However, I, nor anyone else saw the paper until two weeks later because of the snowstorm halting the printing of the physical newspaper. I can remember the day I got my copy, I was so happy and amazed at myself that the article made it that far. What made it extra special was that the story was about my high school, and a tradition that is celebrated every year by our Marianist founders.

Well, there’s my 100th article. I sincerely hope you the reader were not bored to death, but maybe flabbergasted over the idea of a shift in history and events over two years, maybe you’re just in awe, or you’re possibly inspired by what I am doing. I am hoping it is the latter because that is one of my primary goals with everything I do is to inspire people to achieve more than maybe they envisioned. Of course, there probably is a former student editor or writer for this newspaper that has written more than I have, but I am happy with the impact I have left on this wonderful school community.

I have a lot of people to thank for helping me in many ways get to where I am. Of course, I have to thank my mom, dad, and sister, who continue to push me to do the things that I do every day. To Mrs. Rivoire, who is doing an amazing job in advising this club and class. To faculty, and anyone really who has helped me get interviews or those who have been interviewed. To my peers and fellow classmates who give me story ideas, or continue to be amazing at things they do so I can write stories about them and their success. To Mr. Cassler, who helped me get a jump start on my career with writing for the best student newspaper in the world. And finally, to everyone in both the Central Catholic and Providence Communities who read this newspaper and have complimented my writing or “talent.” Without you all, I nor any current or past Pep writer could have possibly kept writing articles to showcase our wonderful school on the inside and out.

It doesn’t stop here, however. You can expect to see me amplify my writing pace a little more in the next few months before I graduate. Expect a lot of big interviews, more opinion-based articles, and more stories to tell before I pass the torch to the next Lead Editor in May.

Thank you always for taking the time to read The Pep.