From the Editor
FROM THE EDITOR
I’m not a parent, so I don’t have kids of my own to brag about. But it’s safe to say that kids, especially high school seniors, are amazing these days. And Oakland is full of amazing kids.
Teens today face tremendous pressures—from peers, who, better than anyone, can push the envelope on individualism and self-expression to the point of self-destruction; and from parents, who can demand perfect grades or set unrealistic academic achievement standards at the expense of their children’s childhood. But kids are resilient and persevere.
That’s why we’re sharing 10 success stories with our readers this month in “Beating the Odds—10 Super Students.” Marcus Thompson II, himself a product of Oakland public schools, was assigned the difficult task of first finding and then profiling suitable subjects—five females and five males—whose personal stories represent the type of students attending area schools. Thompson could have gone the easy route, choosing valedictorians with perfect scores and National Merit scholarships, but because those young adults’ achievements seem so recognized, he took a different tack, searching for Oakland graduating seniors who had overcome adversity. Narrowing the list was awful, he says, because every student he considered was worthy of accolades. Thompson knows what he’s talking about: He grew up in what he terms “less-than-desirable circumstances” but stayed on track, graduating from Clark Atlanta University and returning to the East Bay to work as a sportswriter for the Contra Costa Times.
The seniors Thompson writes about are smart, funny, insightful and determined, each one destined to be another Oakland success story.
If real estate, not kids, is your thing, Keri Hayes Troutman can introduce you to some lesser-known but intriguing Oakland neighborhoods in “Getting to Know You, Five Oakland Neighborhoods Worth Exploring.” These aren’t red-hot real estate magnets; rather, they’re local gems with interesting histories that make them well worth getting to know. Take a tour of Bella Vista/Ivy Hill, Redwoods Heights, San Antonio, Jack London Square and Sheffield Village, and along the way, meet some of the friendly neighbors who call those areas home.
One more thing: Oakland Magazine has undergone a bit of a minor facelift, thanks to the talents of our new art director, Debbi Murzyn. She filled in as our interim art director for the March and April issues, doing such a tremendous job that we locked her in permanently. A Pleasant Hill resident, she most recently served as the creative director of Black Diamond Publications and brings years of agency experience as a senior graphic designer to the mix.
Judith M. Gallman