Jalessa Castillo, a Jehovah Witness Pioneer, who joined The Orlando Times Team, maintains a 3.75 Grade Point Average at Valencia College.
The Orlando Times
The Journey Of Jalessa
The Journey Of Jalessa Castillo
Young Journalist Latest To Join The Orlando Times Team
BY DEVIN HEFLIN
ORLANDO - A childhood passion has transitioned to a beginning career profession for one young writer. Jalessa Castillo, 18, who started in the field of journalism as a student at West Orange High School, has continued her journey through this field as a reporter, graphic designer and social media manager for The Orlando Times newspaper.
She started work with the publication on June 25, 2016 and has since covered topics which range from the Flint Water Crisis, Better Wages for Women workers and the local East Orange County Water Crisis which was identified by commissioners in that area of Orlando.
Castillo tells of what inspired her to want to become a journalist, “I always liked to write, since I was younger, so as I got older, I started trying different avenues for writing. I felt like journalistic writing was my thing and I was good at it.”
In her writing process, Castillo works first on the intro and conclusion of the story, then fields her references to complete the feature.
“I like writing fun articles like the one on amusement parks which are opening but I also like research. One of my favorite stories was coverage of the pay gap between men and women and about the Orange County Water Crisis.” she said.
She was a solid student while enrolled at West Orange High School, who was adored by teachers and her peers alike. While a student at West Orange, Castillo participated and produced pages on behalf of West Orange High School to fit into The Orlando Times newspaper, as part of the publication’s High School Page Placement Program. She was the Blade’s editor, the name of West Orange’s student produced publication.
Castillo is currently a student at Valencia College West Campus. Her major is journalism and she takes a mixture of online and on campus classes.
“I felt it would be good to go towards that field while also getting experience here.” She said.
Castillo graduated West Orange High School with a Merit Diploma and remained on the honor roll for the entirety of her high school career.
She received the Academic Florida Bright Futures Scholarship and has made the President’s Honor roll for her first full freshman year semester at Valencia College. Her current Grade Point Average is a 3.75.
Her hobbies are reading, writing and drawing. She has two older Brothers, Jordan and Jason and a younger sister, Jazlene.
“My daughter is a gift from God and she has made us very proud.” Her father, John Castillo. “She is spiritually oriented and demonstrates qualities such as humility, kindness, honesty, generosity and responsibility”.
The Queens, New York native, is also active as a Jehovah Witness. She works as Pioneer for the Kingdom Hall, which volunteers for door to door services on a monthly basis to help spread the word and mission of Kingdom Hall.
Her mentor in the faith, Adrian Nesbeth, has worked with Castillo for many years. “Jalessa is a bright and personable individual with impeccable integrity, tenacity and overall love for humanity. A gifted writer, a lifelong learner and someone destined to succeed at whatever she does because she has commitment to quality.”
Of her most challenging story of her career to date, Castillo remembers her assignment to cover the East Orange County Water Crisis, which required a depth of research and knowledge of the chemicals and substances to report on in the story.
Castillo cites her mom as her greatest inspiration. “We’ve always been very close and I’ve seen her being down to being at the top of her game.” She said.
“I am so proud of my daughter. “ Her mother, Jody said. “She is the first in her immediate family to attend college and follow her dreams of becoming a journalist.”
“If your school has a newspaper staff or a yearbook staff, join those. That will give you a taste of what to expect. Experience is very important.” Castillo gave her advice to students interested in pursuing journalism.
“I’m blessed to be here and work with those that are more experienced than I am and I appreciate the experience to be able to learn and grow with them.” She said.
A JW journalist?
You've got to be kidding
I'm sorry I don't celebrate (whatever)
I have a list I'll send you a pdf
Within 5 years something's going to give
I'll put money on a marriage and clerical job or
Selling jewelery to sisters at parties or school bus driver for
I'll stay tuned
My guess is that she isnt baptized yet and never will be
Just my 2 cents worth.
(though I have been known to be wrong before )
It says she's a pioneer
Unless they're wrong...
No password, I'm not sure what the point of your post is. There are plenty of JWs who are quite intelligent and overachievers, many of them in my own family. Also, we already know that the WT has made quite a few changes in the way they conduct business and allow people to do things they weren't "allowed" before.
Congratulations to Jalessa Castillo, and happy journey.
I agree that you have to be baptized to be a pioneer, none of this unbaptized publisher crap.
Good for her, but she does not have a college degree in journalism yet and there were jw PR people and still are at Bethel who function as news staff. I'm am surprised she qualified as a regular pioneer and still going to college.
nowadays many pioneers have completed their degrees over here. may be to do with the job market having shrunk for young people
Hopefully she will use her talent to investigate the org. One day
I'd be interested in reading her pieces,
What kind of objective journalism could she bring to the table?
By comparison, how about a woman who is a devout Muslim
How about a Scientologist
An Evangelical when reporting on a new abortion clinic?
Maybe it could work if she reported on Business or Fluff pieces
Wonder if she'll stay pioneering as well, because as for appointed bros
there's a different standard of what's expected of you than r&f