Story and video by Jackson Dulzo
Last spring, Kaylee Domzalski was doing what many of her fellow SOJC journalism majors were doing – trying to get through Reporting I. She had no idea that a routine assignment would end up being her first professionally published piece.
Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Schwartz asked Domzalski’s class to write a story and offered a potential topic: the Village School, a K-12 charter school in Eugene where her daughter was a student. The school has a unique, award-winning school lunch program that has re-invented the way school lunches are sourced and prepared.
Domzalski decided to go for it.
At first, she found it hard to care about kid’s school lunches, no matter how revolutionary they may be. “I don’t have kids, so I don’t care if their food is healthy,” she said. “But going there and talking to the students kind of changed my perspective on that. I was like, ‘Oh, this is actually something that you guys really enjoy. It’s affecting your education. That’s amazing.’”
Spending time at the school and seeing the impact that a better lunch system had on students elevated the story from a routine assignment to a personal project.
When she finished writing the article, Domzalski worked with Schwartz to submit it to Eugene Weekly, but the local publication had already touched on the same story. “It just kind of disappeared for a while,” Domzalski said. “Then she contacted me about Yes! magazine.”
Schwartz had continued to submit the story to other publications, and her efforts paid off when an editor from Yes! reached out to Domzalski.
Associate Editor Kim Eckert loved Domzalski’s story but needed to change its focus from local to national to better suit Yes! magazine’s audience. According to Domzalski, the rewrite was a three-month process. She removed the local references in the story and adjusted the angle to the Village School program’s connection to the “broader picture of national food health.”
Domzalski’s story had humble beginnings as a class project, but with the right platform — and a little push from Schwartz — it became the national piece it was qualified to be.
Jackson Dulzo is a student athlete with a creative background and a focus on creative strategy and strategic communication. In addition to being a senior in the SOJC majoring in both Advertising and Public Relations as a senior in the SOJC, he is an intern in the SOJC Communications office and serves as a member of the UO Club Sports Advisory Board. In the past he has worked as a summer intern for the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities in Traverse City, Michigan, on campaigns such as Oil and Water Don’t Mix. You can see his work and learn more at jackdulzo.com.