A behind-the-scenes look at the operator of @pwestpub

Posing with her camera, sophomore Caroline Judd explores the Redwoods. Caroline vacationed in California over spring break and, inspired by Instagrammer @zoelaz, took many photos and shared them on her personal Instagram, @cjuddc. “I love lifestyle photos and I also really like National Geographic because you see parts of the world that you didn’t even know existed,” Caroline said.

Gracie Wescott

Posing with her camera, sophomore Caroline Judd explores the Redwoods. Caroline vacationed in California over spring break and, inspired by Instagrammer @zoelaz, took many photos and shared them on her personal Instagram, @cjuddc. “I love lifestyle photos and I also really like National Geographic because you see parts of the world that you didn’t even know existed,” Caroline said.

Promoting her school and doing what she loves at the same time, sophomore Caroline Judd manages the official Instagram of Parkway West High School, @pwestpub. Seeking to bring the school to life, Judd paints a picture of what it’s like to be a student through her passion for photography and knack for social media.

“My sisters are into photography, so I think that’s always had an influence on me, and I’ve always liked taking pictures,” Judd said. “I got my first camera when I was in eighth grade, and after that, I’ve always loved using it and taking it places with me.”

Judd’s position began with the organization and aesthetic of her personal Instagram page, @cjuddc.

Caroline Judd
Driving towards the Golden Gate Bridge, sophomore Caroline Judd snaps a picture with the California poppy in the rearview mirror of her car. Caroline loves to travel and carry her camera wherever she goes, and she hopes to turn her passion into a career. “I want to be a cultural photographer and get to travel and expose parts of the world that people don’t get to see every day,” Caroline said.

“Last year I asked my students who were the best students in our school at social media, and everyone said it was hands down Caroline Judd,” publications adviser Debra Klevens said. “So I sent her a letter inviting her to join the staff, and she came to me super excited.”

Having journalism experience, Klevens referred Judd to social media sites such as “The Knot Magazine” where she studied their social media strategy.

“From there she did everything on her own,” Klevens said. “She came up with her own strategy. She’s working and researching what events are going on and what information needs to go out there. She does it in a fashion that’s easily organized and consistent. She is where she is because of what she has done and I was just a small supporting role in it.”

Before Judd began managing @pwestpub, the publication had no single student manager for social media.

“It was an afterthought, and it was never somebody’s sole job. Now the account communicates the things that are going on. I think it gives students a place to go if they want to know what’s going on—it’s an additional news source,” Klevens said.

Caroline grew @pwestpub’s following from 447 followers to 972 followers in less than four months, and it continues to grow each day.

“Before that, nobody really followed it, there was not a consistent student managing it,” Klevens said. “Instagram is just another form of journalism, and she’s really taken it to another level of drawing in our readers, not necessarily to the newspaper site, but getting them engaged in our West High community, which I love.”

Each Instagram post has a caption filled with information about the activities of the day, whether it’s sporting events, club meetings or concerts.

“A lot of it is gathering information from other sources about what’s going on in the school, whether that’s the announcements, the school calendar or asking around to see what people are doing in clubs,” Judd said. “I have a stylistic way of writing the captions. Because I’m the voice of the school and the voice of publications, it has to be more professional than it would be on my personal account. I’m trying to be enthusiastic and get everyone involved and make puns every once in a while.”

My favorite types of pictures, the ones that get me really excited when I post, are the ones that are really genuine where people are with their friends, and they’re smiling, not because I asked them to, but because they’re having such a good time.”

— Caroline Judd

For Judd, managing the Instagram is more than just reporting the day’s events— it is about finding the perfect photo.

“I get photos off of the [Publications] server during class,” Judd said. “A lot of them I take, and I edit all of them. I get them as a raw file, and then I will add edits to them and do whatever needs to be done for them to be posted on Instagram.”

Caroline has a goal outside of simply promoting her school; she tries to give everyone the chance to be recognized.

“My favorite types of pictures, the ones that get me really excited when I post, are the ones that are really genuine where people are with their friends, and they’re smiling, not because I asked them to, but because they’re having such a good time,” Judd said. “I love when people who don’t get recognized every day are on the account because it’s just a little thing, but when you see yourself on an account that is followed by almost your whole school, it’s a special thing. It makes me happy when I get to post photos of people who aren’t always seen in the yearbook or in publications on an average basis.”

Judd’s mission through the Instagram account is to give outsiders the inside scoop on what goes on at school.

“It’s just another way that West is shown and another thing that West can be known for because there are so many other great things about the school,” Judd said. “A lot of times I’ll have quotes in the comments because I love to hear from the voices of people around the school because that’s essentially who we are. We are the student body, and we make up West and that’s what I hope to reflect on the Instagram. Who is West, and what is the school really about?”