Cuesta College’s fall 2020 semester was once again met with COVID-19 related growing pains, such as the majority of classes remaining fully online and The Cuestonian’s decision to once again forego its print editions.
Despite these hangups, the news team rallied to produce their new articles, photos and comics to bring normalcy to an otherwise ever-changing year.
Social Media Editor Peyton Gadbury, our next Editor-in-Chief, ensured the team’s content and updates on school events were easily accessible to our readers through The Cuestonian’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.
Editor-in-Chief Michael Costa wrote a profile piece on San Luis Obispo’s mayor and third term hopeful, Heidi Harmon. Costa’s long running column, Over the Rainbow, did not make an appearance this semester, but his zeal for writing was shifted toward editing both seasoned and new reporters’ articles.
As a fellow Editor-in-Chief, I directed most of my time and energy toward editing content alongside Costa. A broken ankle slowed me down, but inspired me to write two columns that explain the swift rise and fall of my roller skating journey. Given the year we’ve had, I also felt that it was pertinent to detail a list of available resources for anyone struggling with mental health.
Managing Editor Hannah Halferty presided over the nighttime news team, and added fuel to the fire with her investigative articles on the push for Pete Sysak’s resignation, which was initially outlined in her piece regarding the student equity plan. Halferty wrote a final update on Sysak’s position, and touched on Cuesta College’s intent to implement equity in the school system.
Gadbury was integral in publishing a follow up on Halferty’s articles, as the fate of Sysak’s position on the Board of Trustees was still a developing story. She also shared her sentiments regarding Proposition 16, as well as wrote a comprehensive guide on how to vote in SLO County.
News Editor Dillon Azarvand got to the bottom of the influx of unsolicited Canvas emails that plagued students at the beginning of the year. The emails have since stopped after the feature that allowed students access to the entire roster was removed. Azarvand recently wrote an article on Dignity Health’s decision to hire graduates from Cuesta College’s nursing program in an effort to control the pandemic’s spread.
Opinion Editor Jo Acquafresca wrote an unbiased and unapologetic editorial on this year’s election prior to the results. The pros and cons of each candidate were weighed, and Acquafresca left the reader to make their own choice. In his latest editorial, Acquafresca stresses the importance of travel, should COVID-19 guidelines permit.
Arts and Entertainment Editor Lauren Grasmick touched base with Espress-O-Yourself owner Michelle Varia, and got the scoop on her whereabouts given the school’s closure. Grasmick also provided an update on the Cuesta Bookstore, which was also impacted by Cuesta’s decision to remain closed during COVID-19. Grasmick’s most recent article spells out the regulations that music venues must follow to stay open during the pandemic.
Photo Editor Jonathan Apelado wrote a photojournalism piece on the lack of masks being worn in now overcrowded drive-thru lines and restaurants. Apelado’s most recent article focuses on the reopening of the Oceano Dunes, a controversial topic for Five Cities locals.
Illustration Editor Nathan Moran continued to liven up The Cuestonian with seasonal and relatable comic strips, as well as the artwork for this article. Moran also found the time to report on history professor Anthony Koeninger’s self-written textbooks, which include original poems and two decades worth of research. While The Cuestonian is on hiatus, you can find more of his artwork here.
Features Editor Ellie Amesse reported on the advent of drive-in movie theaters making a comeback in the midst of COVID-19, with SLO County’s Sunset Drive-In making small changes to remain open and CDC compliant. Amesse also wrote a spotlight article on the school’s newest club, Cuesta Pride.
Photo Editor Adrian Martino used his photography skills to visually tell the story of cancer survivors who have found solace through surfing. In his article, Martino made mention of the Surfing for Hope Foundation, a local non-profit that is responsible for the Women’s Cancer Survivor Summit. Martino’s latest article features Doggie Do Good, a local program that pairs trained service dogs with owners who are in need of assistance.
Surf Editor Damon Quintard published a profile piece on David Vizulis, a traveling surfer who’s constantly looking for his next wave. In the same vein, Quintard wrote a piece on overcrowded surf spots and disregard for etiquette in the water, both of which are presumed to be products of COVID-19.
Our reporters and editors met once a week to discuss possible content, and brainstormed the best ways to inform you, our readers, of relevant news and events transpiring in SLO County. We look forward to keeping you updated in 2021.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay reading!