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The Next Steps In The Journey
Marg-Ins 5-17-23
Marg Jackson Mug

It’s the most hectic time of the year.

There’s just no way around that. Certainly, the final few weeks of the school year have us all on the go, whether we are getting ready to cover graduations, writing stories about valedictorians and salutatorians, chronicling those last few sports contests of the spring … it’s just busy.

But the best kind of busy.

The excitement in the air as the “Class of …” gets ready to don the graduation caps and gowns is palpable, as students see their years of hard work come to fruition. For some, it is a promotion as they get ready to enter high school. For others, it is senior graduation, with that diploma serving as the gateway to college, technical school, the military, the workforce; whatever the future brings.

Many see spring as a time of renewal but I also consider this time of year one of those ‘renewal’ periods when there’s hope and wonder and endless possibilities.

Not to mention there are fun things happening like a pair of events recently in Escalon, the seniors vs. staff basketball game and the Buff Puff and Alumni volleyball games. Both fundraisers, both bringing out community supporters, both ‘feel good’ activities that were able to provide some excitement, good competition, lots of laughs and a feeling of camaraderie.

It was also fun for me to watch the staff – many of whom I took photos of and wrote stories about when they were in high school – take on the students that I am writing about today. Same thing with the alumni volleyball, so many familiar faces, former students who now have carved out lives and families for themselves yet come back to suit up and play in a benefit volleyball game.

Plus it was great to see all four grades, nine through 12, take part in ‘Buff Puff’ boys volleyball. Riverbank has had a formal boys varsity volleyball program the past couple of years, competing in the Trans-Valley League, and Oakdale completed its first boys volleyball season this spring, in the Valley Oak League. Escalon, with future plans to offer it as a high school sport for boys, still had it just as a one-time recreational event this year but many of the players definitely looked like they are ready to take it on as a league endeavor. They didn’t have too many practice sessions but they made it a very competitive evening and were serious about scoring the points while still being lighthearted about the class level rivalries.

Turning back to graduation, two of my co-workers and friends, Teresa Hammond and Kim Van Meter, have high school graduates ready to toss the mortarboards skyward this year. That’s a fact that truly amazes me, a feeling that each of them has shared as well. It seems that at some points in life, time doesn’t just march on, it flat out sprints. For Teresa, it’s her oldest, Jackson and for Kim, it’s her youngest, Eryleigh that will be walking across the stage soon with the Class of 2023. Both spent their fair share of time in our office over the years and being able to see them grow from toddlers walking their first wobbly steps to the impressive young adults they are today walking with pride and purpose has truly been an honor and a pleasure. Best wishes to both of you, Jackson and Eryleigh, as you take those next steps in your adventure.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.