Zenobia Wiley accepted into TAJE’s Student Advisory Panel

For the first time, TAJE decided to create a 5-person Student Advisory Panel to better interact with attendees of Fall Fiesta. George Ranch junior, Zenobia Wiley, is one of those people.


Samantha Berry

The Student Advisory Panel taking their first picture together after day 2 of the conference.

“Next, we have Zenobia Wiley!” 


It’s absolutely beautiful. 

 Ms. Samantha’s words, from our meeting in the Presidential Suite of the hotel, ring in my mind: “Smile, wave, as if you’re in a pageant”. I follow her advice, smiling and waving as I make my way to the front. 

Look at me, I’m really up here right now.  

I’m one of five students in Texas on the Student Advisory Panel for TAJE. 

“Zenobia is the youngest copy editor of the George Ranch yearbook and loves to write music.” Ha, she messed up. I’m in newspaper, which I told her. I don’t mind though, my name is being announced in front of all these people and that’s what matters. 

I’m one of five students in Texas on the Student Advisory Panel for TAJE. 

TAJE, or the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, is an organization founded to enhance the talents of journalism students and teachers all over the state. Annually, they host Fall Fiesta, a three-day journalism conference in San Antonio for anyone who’ll make the drive. 

The Student Advisory Panel is a new edition to TAJE: a group of five students representing five different regions. Working with the State Board, region representatives, and students who attend Fall Fiesta, the goal of this panel is to serve as a voice for student and advisor interests.

And I’m an original member. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the other four members of this panel, and all I can say is I’m impressed. 

Assistant EditorinChief of Brenham High School’s Yearbook staff: Azuzena Mondragon.  

Sports Editor of McKinney High School’s Yearbook staffLeah Boatman 

News Director and Anchor of Eagle Nation News at Prosper High School: Grant Johnson. 

Lastly, Junior Co-editor-in-Chief of Bridgeland High School’s Yearbook staffCara Hudson. 

All have won contests at Fall Fiesta, all have performed great achievements outside of it, and all are incredibly admirable people. 

I’m honored to be given this opportunity, and to further receive other opportunities that come from this position. In all honesty, I hadn’t even known the panel was a thing until my advisor, Mrs. Kroeker, brought it to my attention. 

It was September 16th, and I got an email with the subject: Good news – Student Advisory Panel Deadline extended”. Was I confused? Yes. Did I continue reading? 

Of course. 

immediately went to the application, and about five questions in my confidence started dropping.  

What are my accomplishments?  

I knew I was a great writer, but what awards have I won? Settling with the only thing I know of, I typed, “Honorable Mention at Fall Fiesta 2018”. But what if someone else had gotten a Superior? 

What position am I on my newspaper?  

Copy editor. But what positions do the other people applying have? 

It’s fine, I’m fine. Suck it up and keep it moving. 

“Send in a one to three-minute video about why you want to be on the panel.” 


I think this is the moment I knew I had it: when they gave me a chance to show my face and speak. No matter what accomplishments I don’t have, or what positions my competition is on, I knew if I just spoke the panel was mine. 

I must’ve recorded about seven times before settling with the video that was as close to perfect as I thought it could get. I was confident, almost overly confident in my ability to execute my job for TAJE. 

I sat at the breakfast table, since the lighting was best there. Pretty kitchen in the background. Clean. I wore a college jacket, a favorite of mine I had ‘stolen’ from my cousin. My hair was pulled back, face perfectly visible. 

I spoke with power and I spoke with truth; I spoke with hope and faith. I spoke knowing that speaking was all I needed to do to win the Board over. 

And here I am now.