La Quinta High School's student-run newspaper


La Quinta High School's student-run newspaper


La Quinta High School's student-run newspaper


Humans of LQHS

After experiencing a school year thrown off course due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawkview journalism staff at La Quinta High School decided to act by relaunching the Humans of LQHS project from years past. 

This time, the idea was to bring the stories of their school community to a physical space as an antidote to the virtual environment. 

Capturing the stories of the high school and bringing awareness to the community of the diversity of La Quinta High felt essential, especially at a time when the building itself was closed, but school was still in session. 

These are stories that people wouldn’t hear otherwise — ranging from the freshmen to senior students, cafeteria and custodial staff to counselors and teachers. 

“With all of the isolation that’s come along with this pandemic, it’s the perfect time to bring back a project that connects us as a community,” said Layla Freiberg, a junior and co-managing editor of the Hawkview. “Reading stories about how others in your situation have handled the pandemic makes you feel so much less alone.” 

Inspired by the Humans of New York and Photoville projects, Humans of LQHS aims to cultivate empathy and an understanding of the Blackhawk community. 

It takes a step like this to bond us together as a unit while acknowledging our individuality.

— Samm Robledo '21

Instead of producing a physical school newspaper this year, excerpts from their reporting will be published on vinyl banners designed by the students themselves. Many of their stories from this school year can also be read on the news site at, and on social media.  

“We were disconnected as a community when the pandemic hit,” said Samm Robledo, a senior and co-editor-in-chief, “so there was no better time to resume a project as personal as this one.” 

In December 2020, it was announced that Desert Sands Unified School District’s Goldfish Bowl selected the students’ project as one of the top five finalists. The Goldfish Bowl funds grants to students and staff to support their innovative ideas for education. 

The Goldfish Bowl team; from left to right: Samm Robledo, Diego Meza, Hannah Nguyen, Miranda Muir (LFD) Unica Carrizoza Lawson, Gavin Rodriguez and Layla Freiberg. Jennifer Cortez

The judges, however, took the students’ project one step further: rather than only display the students’ reporting around the school site, they encouraged the students to work with the City of La Quinta to display their work around the larger community.

Miranda Muir, a junior and one of the co-managing editors, said, “I want others to recognize that we are not as alone as we may think we are. As isolating as times may seem, everyone has their own story and path, and we’re all doing it together. You should be able to take a step back and look at the world outside of your own.”

After all, she added, it’s not every day that one gets to sit down with someone you may not know and “learn the nitty-gritty details of their life.” 

The students also recognize the power and privilege they have in amplifying the many stories of their school, and it’s not an opportunity they take for granted. 

“It takes a step like this to bond us together as a unit while acknowledging our individuality,” said Robledo. 

For the journalists, the lesson and reward have been to productively contribute to their community. “Working with amazing peers, and being able to grow closer with them through something this important is also another huge bonus,” Freiberg said. 

“It has also become a moment to show the larger community that what happens within a school building is not a separate sphere from the rest of the world,” said Muir. 

Rather, it becomes a moment to show a community the diversity of stories from a new perspective and the power of student journalism.

Published in The Gem in June 2021.

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