Grace Voss

English Teacher (Retired)

Degree(s): BJ '65

Whereabouts: United States, California, Santa Cruz

What do you do?
I am a retired high school English teacher who spent 15 months in 1965-66 as a reporter for the Palo Alto (Calif.) Times. Teaching lasted longer, 34 years in fact, and I am now retired and living in Santa Cruz, a town of 60,000 residents located at the north end of Monterey Bay. I write a monthly garden column for the senior community where I live, and I edit The Roadrunner, a bi-monthly, 12-page newsletter for The Santa Cruz County Cycling Club. Recently The Roadrunner was named the best bicycle club newsletter in the nation by The League of American Bicyclists (LAB), a bicycle advocacy group based in Washington D.C. LAB commended The Roadrunner not only for its club news but also for its city-related bicycle news. I try to ride my bicycle 100 miles a week.

How did you get your job?
No one else wanted to edit The Roadrunner, so I got the job through attrition. The garden column was the same situation. I was the last person standing!

What is the best professional lesson you learned at the J-School?
Remain curious about life.

What advice do you have for current students?
Be a good listener. Put your ego on the back burner.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
I enjoyed my feature writing class, although it was tough at first. For one assignment, we had to make an appointment with someone our instructor had located in the telephone directory, interview that person and write a story about him/her. I remember I interviewed a businessman who occasionally took his teenage son or daughter with him on business trips so he could get to know them better. This impressed me so much I made it the lead of the story.

Any parting comments?
Journalism is a great preparation for teaching English at any level, especially writing! It also helps if you become adviser to the school newspaper!

Updated: November 15, 2011