Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

One of the perks of being the local newspaper publisher is getting invited to many cool events. Last week my calendar was pretty full.

Wednesday I attended a meet-and-greet for the production company that will be making a film in Del Norte County next month. Maybe I'm just getting old, but the crew of five men and one woman who represented the production team seemed way too young to be in charge of such a huge project. But once I heard them speak it was obvious they knew their biz and their excitement and confidence instantly won me over.

The movie's going to be great for Del Norte County's economy and it's going to be fun watching them make their Bigfoot horror-comedy-drama called "Love in the Time of Monsters." There's even a chance some of us could be extras. Wonder if they need a mom for the crazy Croatian, Uncle Slavko?

Thursday our Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Economic Summit.

The Triplicate was a sponsor and as a result had a reserved table near

the front. But rather than sit with the people I work with every day, I

sought out new faces.

Just a few minutes earlier I'd been behind a school bus that stopped

to unload 31 high school students and teacher Lisa Howard. So when I

searched for a place to sit, I headed toward the back of the room to a

table where a couple of Del Norte High School coeds were and asked if I

could join them.

The girls were seniors Lauren Trujillo and Tina Thao. I

didn't recognize Lauren right away but she looked familiar. She

reminded me that her photo had been published in the Triplicate recently

when we covered her long jump event at a home track meet. Then I

realized I first met her when Rick and I took her photo for the

Neighbors page when she was selling Girl Scout cookies. That was when

she was in seventh grade, she told me.

Lauren graduates this year and will attend UC Santa Barbara. Her

friend Tina is off to Sacramento State in the fall. Both young women

impressed me as we chatted between speakers during the five-hour

conference. I enjoyed their company and felt, like I do often when I'm

around local high school students, that the future is in good hands.

The next day I had the privilege of addressing a group of students

gathered in Alison Eckhart's class for the monthly meeting of the

Scholarship Mentoring Program. Donna Sund invited me to speak about my

educational and professional experiences. Basically the students wanted

to know what education and preparation it took to be a newspaper


I started with high school and fast forwarded through the nearly four

decades that eventually brought me to Crescent City and the Del Norte

Triplicate. My audience was polite and respectful as they ate the pizza

Donna provided and listened to my tale of how it was my typing and

spelling skills that landed me my first newspaper job as well as that

bachelor's degree in English.

The Scholarship Mentoring Program is in its 14th year. It was

initiated in 1998, with a small group of mentors and 12 high school

freshmen, and over the years has now involved almost 300 students, who

have been awarded over $320,000 in scholarships.

The unique aspect of this program is that it identifies

deserving, academically qualified students early in their high school

career. Those students who are accepted to the program, and who continue

to maintain academic eligibility, receive a scholarship each year

during their four years of high school, with the funds placed in a

special account to be applied to their university fees after graduation.

In addition, the program sponsors mentoring activities throughout the

school year, and has offered college tour trips during the summer.

One of the mentoring activities is monthly lunchtime meetings where

various mentors and other community members are invited to talk about

their careers and educational backgrounds. Speakers before me included

Chris Doehle, John Tynes, Irene Tynes, Ward Stover, Tom Polidore, Laura

Olson, Shellie Duncan, Becky Blatnick, Connor Caldwell and Chad

Hegelmeyer, Kevin Hartwick and many others.

There's no better way to stay young than to surround yourself with

young people. And there's no better way to contribute to the future of

Del Norte County than to invest in our youth. If you'd like to know more

about the Scholarship Mentoring Program contact Donna or Kevin Caldwell

at Redwood Medical. As for me, please keep those invites coming.

Reach Michele Thomas, the Del Norte Triplicate's publisher, at

mtandshy;hoandshy;masandshy;@triplicate.com, 464-2141 or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.