Dear COVID: I’m on my way

“Dear COVID” is this year’s senior column series in which Hook seniors share their reflections on high school and the pandemic in the form of letters to the virus itself.

Dear COVID, 

When starting high school I would’ve never thought I was going to be interested in journalism. I always thought the news was dull. I wasn’t the type to read the newspaper or be interested in news. 

 I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I signed up for journalism class. I didn’t know I could write news stories, but it did it in Ms. Prater’s class. She saw that I also had a passion for taking pictures and thought I would be a perfect fit for Riverside’s newspaper.  

Prater recommended me to be a photographer for Riverside’s newspaper, The Pirates’ Hook. After a semester of being in the newspaper my advisor, Bryan Christopher, encouraged me to attend North Carolina Scholastic Media Association at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

I wasn’t sure if I could go since during the summers I always help out my dad with his work by cutting lawns. I work full-time with him during school breaks, but managed to attend the summer camp. It greatly  improved my photojournalism, and I brought new ideas back to The Pirates’ Hook in the fall. I used all the skills and tricks I learned andmade our photos look like it’s a professional newspaper. 

I went back for the second time the following summer and did a broadcast session. I learned the basics about TV production and it inspired me to create a news channel.  It was a crazy idea – we had no equipment and would have to start from zero – but Mr. Christopher liked the idea. 

We gave it a shot and it grew fast. At first it was a struggle to start everything but after a while I got the hang of it. I was my own director and producer. Now the broadcast segments are widely viewed on The Hook’s IGTV channel.  

After attending the camp for the third year in a row last summer I was nominated to be Vice President of Visual Communications for the camp. In my role as vice president I realized that anything is possible if you put in the work. This year I helped design the camp, and hundreds of students from across the state will spend a week learning about the journalism skills I think they need to know. 

All the semesters of being in journalism and newspapers have helped me become a leader. This was when I realized journalism is a huge part of everyone’s life. I want to continue informing people in college and beyond and know that I will one day see my name scrolling in the credits. 


Fabian Hernandez

photo courtesy of the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association

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