826 Valencia's Student-Journalist's (and Brothers) on Earthquake Safety and San Francisco's Comedy Day

The Valencia Bay-farer is 826 Valencia's only in-house newspaper written for students by students (ages eight to 11). Our intrepid reporters learn lessons about the various aspects of journalism, from crafting ledes to interviewing to citing sources and at the end of each five-week workshop, we release a new issue full of articles about the kinds of things you'd love to read if you were a kid. We hope you enjoy these articles. To learn more about 826 Valencia, visit our website.

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
By Caius Dragnea, Age Eight

Do you know how to be prepared for an earthquake? Experts say that the next big earthquake is coming. According to a recent analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, big earthquakes hit the San Francisco Bay Area an average of every 140 years. Based on that average, we are five years overdue. Instead of running into a pole when the big one comes, there are things you can do to get ready today.

First, it's important to create an earthquake plan with your family. You need a plan for anything -- but especially earthquakes -- because you need to keep your family safe. This would include who would be in charge, what everyone would do, who you would call for help and other important decisions.

Next, it's important to buy supplies for your family ahead of time. These supplies would include things like water bottles, batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit and other essential supplies. As a life insurance expert, Dave David, reported, "Many times during an earthquake, the pipes break and no one can get water from their sink, so you need extra water in your home to last everyone at least five days." Having enough of these essential items ahead of time in an earth- quake kit, you can be safer.

Finally, when an earthquake comes, it's most important to know how to react smartly. For example, ducking under a table can help prevent falling objects from hitting you. As experts from University of Idaho report, "Many injuries occur when people act on their impulse to run." So, it's important to find a safe place ahead of time so that you can react smartly.

The big one is coming, and you should be prepared. You have been warned.

The Best and Funniest Event You'll Ever Run Into
By Darius Dragnea, Age 10

Comedy Day happens once a year in September in Golden Gate Park. The idea started with Jose Simon, a comedian, wanting to cheer people up during a depressing time in San Francisco's history. Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk had been shot. People were recovering slowly from the tragedy. That's when Jose Simon came in. He decided to lighten up people's spirits by making a comedy event for the general public.

With a local group of comedians, a bunch of paperwork, bills, and a ton of fliers, Comedy Day was ready to kick off its first show. It was such a success that the people decided that it would go on forever.

Every year tons of sponsors and staff work on this event. "There's nothing funny about Comedy Day when it comes to how much work is done to put this thing on," said Debi Durst, the event organizer.

"Nobody ever signed a detention slip while laughing," said Myles Weber, a comedian at this year's Comedy Day. Of course this is absolutely true. That's one of the good parts of being a comedian; you can get away with stuff. Myles' favorite part of being a comedian is that he's "always gotten a weird high from making people laugh. There isn't another thing on earth that can make me as happy as when I'm doing comedy."

Have you ever tried to make a joke but it turned out cheesy? Well, Myles Weber admitted, "Creating jokes is tough. You have to break down everything that's happening in a bit or joke piece by piece." Myles also talked about targeting the audience.

"Targeting the audience happens within the first five minutes," he informed me. "I get a good read out on them by looking at them as soon as I get onstage. Old? Young? Mixed? Black? White? [etc]. After that you start making an act to amuse everybody."

So remember, next September bring a few friends (maybe an umbrella if it rains) and head down to Comedy Day, because it's fun, free, and there's food! (By the way, it is rated PG-13.)