Journey From Staffer to Adviser

Jostens Advisers & Staff

Taylor Ernst, Reno High School [NV]
Taylor was a staffer for the Re-Wa-Ne yearbook in 2011 and the editor in chief in 2012. She is currently an English teacher and yearbook adviser at Reno High School.

My passion for yearbook began when I was a junior in high school. I was recruited to join the staff by my English teacher, Liz Walsh. Little did I know, that moment would begin my path toward my career: a yearbook adviser and English teacher.

I absolutely loved being on staff, and was even more excited and honored to be the editor-in-chief my senior year. I took the job very seriously because I wanted to create something that the students, faculty and community would cherish. I loved teaching the new staff because I enjoyed watching them using their skills to invent new designs. My journey throughout the year was an amazing one; I was given the opportunity to attend a conference in Minnesota, where I was awarded with Honorable Mention in Student Life Story & Caption writing. I was also one of ten national award winners of the Edward J. Nell scholarship from Quill & Scroll.

As my time as editor-in-chief came to an end, I knew that I wanted to study journalism in college. I even recall telling my mom, “I think it would be an amazing experience to be a yearbook adviser.” At age 18, I never thought that would actually come true.

I studied journalism for two years at the University of Nevada, Reno, but I wasn’t getting the same feeling of giving back and helping people like I did when I was editor. I decided to minor in journalism because I still enjoyed the field of study, but I switched my major to secondary education. I decided to make the change because I loved helping students and watching them grow.

I knew without a doubt that my place was in a high school classroom advising yearbook and teaching English
During my last semester of college, I wanted to do my internship with Liz because I wanted to get both English and journalism experience, and I knew that I would learn so much from her. I still remember the first week of my internship. During that week, I knew without a doubt that my place was in a high school classroom advising yearbook and teaching English. Throughout the 14-week internship, I learned about the business side of running a successful yearbook program. As my final day approached, I was sad to leave the staff and program, but knew that I had gained the skills to be an adviser.

As the new school year was approaching in July, I was still jobless, but hopeful that I would find the perfect job for me. About two weeks before the first day of school, I was informed that Liz received a job from a school in her hometown; therefore, her old position would be open. Fortunately, I was honored and blessed to be given the job. What’s crazy to me is how my life has now come full circle. I am advising the program that I was a part of as a student. I am teaching in the exact same classroom where I first fell in love with journalism. And I am living my dream.