WAYNE, NJ – Two recent Wayne Valley graduates, both journalism students at their respective colleges, have begun to write for TAPinto Wayne, covering local news here in their hometown.

The two prospective journalists were asked to interview each other and write a short profile piece as an introduction to TAP readers.

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Caitlin Holtzman. Written by Tom Santaniello

TAPinto Wayne is welcoming lifelong Wayne resident Caitlin Holtzman to its staff as a writer. Having lived in Wayne for almost 20 years, Holtzman says she’s looking forward to making sure the people of her town receive accurate and important information.

“Since I’ve lived here for so long, I feel like this is one way to give back to my community by providing them with news,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman attended Packanack Elementary School, George Washington Middle School and graduated Wayne Valley High School in 2019.

While attending Wayne Valley, she was involved with Peer Leaders, helped a friend found the Sci-Tech Club and served as the Captain of the Girls’ Fencing team. Her time as a fencer gave her the highlight of her Wayne Valley career: placing 7th in the district for epee.

While Holtzman said Wayne will always hold a special place in her heart, she chose to leave the community to attend Ithaca College in New York State. This fall she will be entering her sophomore year.

It was the strength of Ithaca’s journalism program in addition to the opportunity to live in a true college town that made the school an appealing choice. Having no experience in journalism or communications prior to college, the decision to pursue the major may have seemed like an odd choice. However, her time at Ithaca has shown Holtzman that she made the right choice.

“I’ve always been interested in politics and telling stories, and I knew I didn’t want to be a political science major,” Holtzman said. “I started looking more at journalism and thought ‘this sounds like something I really want to do,’ and that’s definitely been solidified by my time at Ithaca.”

Whatever experience she lacked prior to stepping onto campus, Holtzman more than made up for that during her first year as a staff writer and copy editor for the school’s newspaper, The Ithacan. A job well-done in these roles allowed her to earn a promotion to Assistant News Editor, where she does a little bit of both writing and editing while helping run the paper’s news section. She also explored her television interests when she worked as a production assistant for the campus TV station’s sketch comedy show.

The skills acquired both from her coursework and experience with the Ithacan as well as her passion for storytelling and local journalism are sure to make her a valuable member of the TAPinto team moving forward.

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Tom Santaniello. Written by Caitlin Holtzman

Tom Santaniello has lived in Wayne for all 20 years of his life. He attended Lafayette Elementary School and Anthony Wayne Middle School before graduating from Wayne Valley High School in 2018.

He was asked what he missed the most at Wayne Valley and Santaniello replied: “While I miss my friends and the people at Valley, I definitely miss playing on the basketball team. We were a really close-knit group and it was just a lot of fun,” Santaniello said.

In addition to basketball, he was on the Boys Lacrosse team his freshman and sophomore years. Santaniello was also a part of the TV program at Valley. His senior year he was the sports anchor for “The V.”

Santaniello’s TV experience did not stop at Valley. He is now the executive producer of Capital City Sports on Student Gamecock Television at his college, the University of South Carolina.

“I got involved with student media pretty much the second I got on campus,” Santaniello said. “I always knew I wanted to work in TV in some capacity, but I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to go about doing that.”

He initially was a Mass Communications major but switched to Broadcast Journalism after his first semester when he realized he wanted to be in the broadcast world.

In addition to working with student television, Santaniello is going into his second year as a resident mentor and will be moving back to the same floor in the same dorm he lived in during his freshman year.

Though Santaniello is going into his third year of college, it will also be his final year, as he accumulated many college credits at Wayne Valley by taking Advanced Placement classes and dual-enrollment classes. In addition, he took part in a program at college, spending two weeks in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. He ended up only needing to take a couple of summer classes to graduate early and decided to do so.

This final year of college for the future journalist will be the second year in a row that he will be a resident mentor. This fall, he will be moving back into the same dorm and on the floor he lived his first year at South Carolina.

“It’s exciting because I’m kind of going full-circle for me,” Santaniello said.

Santaniello initially had an internship lined up in Florida this summer, but it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The internship would have had him involved with social media, graphic design and content creation. Knowing that he wanted to work in journalism full-time after college, he reached out to TAPinto Wayne in the hope that he will gain valuable experience in print journalism since he mostly worked in broadcast at school.

“I’m excited that I’m getting to tell stories in my hometown,” he said. “I really do think that news is a public good and that the more information we have, the more informed we are and the better we are as a society.”

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Santaniello will stay in Wayne until early August when he returns to school. He has written two articles for TAPinto so far.  One was about the opening of the James Roe Pool, while his second piece is scheduled to publish on July 6 and is entitled: A Primer on Tuesday’s Primary Election.

Holtzman will be in Wayne until October when she returns to school. She has contributed to an article about the opening of the All-Inclusive Playground at Shai Shacknai Park and is working on a piece about the upcoming graduations.