Maria Alegria poses for a photo with her dog Roxy at her home in Santa Ana. (Photo provided by Maria Alegria)
Maywood Center for Enriched Studies

A voice for Santa Ana residents: Maria Alegria uses journalism to amplify her community’s concerns

Maria Alegria hopes her journalism amplifies the voices of people in her hometown of Santa Ana. Since she joined her school newspaper as a sophomore at Middle College High School, Alegria looks to inform her community about news and student life.

“I just want to give people a voice,” Alegria said. “I think it’s also important to give everyone a chance to voice their opinion or their concern … In journalism, they can do that.”

Maria Alegria smiles for a photo with her dog Roxy. (Photo by Kate De La Torre)

In her reporting, Alegria emphasizes any issues that affect her community. This can be reflected in many of her articles, which are published in her school’s publication The Spellbinder.

“I wrote about the hopes of a brighter future in DACA with Biden as president. That obviously not only affects our students that are recipients of DACA, but also our community because many [residents] are immigrants,” Alegria said. “I hope through my writing that they are up to date with news that is relevant to them [and] that will affect them in a way.”

As the co-editor-in-chief of The Spellbinder, she works closely with her writers to support them through the writing process. Multimedia editor for The Spellbinder Jazmin Chavira said Alegria is always willing to help people.

“She wants everyone to succeed in their own way,” Chavira said. “She is very outgoing, she goes to each person and asks them if they’re doing well or what they need help with on their story.”

Maria Alegria paints on a canvas bag. When she’s not writing for her school newspaper, she enjoys painting, working with clay and making jewelry, she said. (Photo provided by Maria Alegria)

Although journalism is an important part of Alegria’s life, she plans to become an elementary school teacher. 

“I like to work with kids… I’m also in this program called Big Brother Big Sister and we go help elementary school students. I really like doing that because we create a connection and it’s really fun,” Alegria said. “Little kids, they’re like, so cute, they’re honest, so it’s funny.”

When she applied for the internship, Alegria didn’t think she would get the position. Until one afternoon during a dentist appointment, her phone lit up with an exciting message: “Congratulations! We would like to offer you a position with the L.A. Times High School Insider 2021 Summer Internship Program.”