Journalism teacher honored in hall of fame

By: Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald Correspondence
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Last month, Rocklin High School teacher Casey Nichols entered the journalism department’s Secondary Education Services Hall of Fame for his excellence in journalism. He teaches journalism, yearbook, photojournalism, and mass media and serves as the department chair for the communications department at Rocklin High. In high school, he did not envision himself as a journalist or reporter. He did, however, see himself as a teacher. He remembers being a sophomore in high school and wanting out of German II. Journalism I was the only option. A few months later, he says, he began covering basketball for the Roseville Press Tribune. In high school, he was also the sports editor and editor-in-chief of the high school paper. Nichols continued his journalistic career after high school when he fell into the job of sports editor for the Press Tribune. Seven years later, he became a teacher. Nichols is still connected to his college, Ball Sate University. He has taught summer workshops and recently stays in touch with colleagues at conventions. As the newspaper and yearbook advisor for Rocklin High, Nichols takes his own students to their own high school conventions. In October 2009, he and his journalism and yearbook students attended the state convention. A month later, he took his yearbook students to the National High School Journalism Convention in Washington, D.C. In 2004, Nichols earned the National Yearbook Advisor of the Year Award. Other awards include JEA Medal of Merit and CSPA Gold Key, which are both for his service. “This recognition is much bigger than me,” he said. “If I didn’t have amazing kids to work with and a supportive district and community, I couldn’t do the things I do.” Outside of his job, Nichols enjoys spending time with his daughter and wife, Sarah Nichols who is the journalism and yearbook advisor at Whitney High School. He also relishes reading and following his favorite sports team, the Giants. Inside and outside the classroom, Nichols said he practices journalism every day from questioning everything and learning to listen to people and keeping a good conversation. He says he even practices that standing in line at grocery stores. “I just love stories. I really do think everyone has a story to share and tell. People are fascinating, they do fascinating things every day. And then there’s the whole sides of consequence and advocacy. Journalists can really make a difference, and provide an important voice,” he said.