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Youth Making Some Noise!

My Experience at The Mosaic
Author: Julio Alvarez

While on the staff of “ShoutOut” as their 
photographer, I was told about a two-week summer 
student newspaper workshop called The Mosaic, 
sponsored by the San Jose Mercury News. I thought this 
would be a great experience to learn more about 
photojournalism, have fun and meet new people. I 
filled out the application online, wrote an essay on 
why I wanted to participate and sent in a couple of my 
Two weeks later I got a phone call from Sam Diaz, the 
Mosaic coordinator. He asked if I was still 
interested. My answer was, “yee, yee, yeah! I mean 
yes, of course.”
After spending an hour and a half on a long ride to 
San Jose State University, surviving that whole 
incident on Highway 17 where dust began to come out 
through the air conditioning vents of our old brown 
Ford electronic fuel-injection XL V6 Aerostar Minivan, 
my family and I finally arrived. “Thank God I’m one of 
the first to arrive,” I thought to myself. Otherwise, 
that would have been a very embarrassing situation. 
A few hours after our parents’ departure, we were put 
to work as slaves for the Mercury News editors. Uh, I 
mean as journalists. I was one of four photographers, 
though, so the first week was a walk in the park. I 
had no assignments until the end of the week, which 
made it really easy. I can’t say the same thing for 
everyone else, but I got my photo assignments and did 
all my work in two days, taking pictures of whatever 
would make the articles come alive. 
That’s not all that went on. When the sky turned black 
and we went back to the dorms, there were prank wars—
from mooning, face painting and smelly sock sniffing 
to midnight condom water balloon fights—well, you get 
the idea of what went on. The evenings were full of 
laughter as we gathered nightly to watch “The 
Simpsons” in the recreation room on the second floor. 
We had a curfew (RIGHT!) of 10:00 p.m. when we all had 
to be in the dorms. Some Mosaic students who will 
remain nameless would sneak out in the middle of the 
night to go clubbing, check out the nightlife downtown 
(which was great), go buy goodies at Big Kmart, or go 
for a midnight snack at Jack in the Box across the 
street from the campus. 
After all we went through, it was finally time to go 
home and say goodbye, which is always hard but had to 
be done. I had a great time. It’s been the best 
experience for me yet.