Hi,  Westside Express readers,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Javier Powell, a new writer here. I’m very excited to be writing for the Westside Express. Getting here has been a long journey, but I’ll try my best to briefly sum it up.
I was born in October 2002 in San Jose’s Kaiser Permanente Medical Facility to Domingo Sandoval and Kristina Powell. I’d live in that city for five years before moving to Gilroy and living there another five years.

The last place I lived before Los Banos was San Juan Bautista, which lasted four years. To say the least when my family moved to Los Banos in 2017, putting down roots here was hard.

My mom and dad were both usually working in retail management. The family had grown to six in total, including three brothers (including me) and our sister.
Throughout all this time, I would have an off-and-on-again passion for writing, I remember writing an adventure comic while living in San Juan Bautista. It was not very polished, but when I look back on it, the joy of stapling the finished story together still echoes in my mind.

Even further back in Gilroy, during kindergarten, I remember writing small stories and putting them in the book section for other kids to read. When we moved to Los Banos, my writing continued to be a side hobby, making fantasy worlds in my head and trying my best to document them.

But, as fate so happened, I got a backbone tumor in high school, from my freshman to my sophomore year, an osteoid osteoma in my T-8. It became extremely hard for me to create, write, draw or function academically following that. I thought I had lost my ability to write.
During this time I became more acquainted with Los Banos, and the shock of moving was long behind me. The Westside of the Central Valley became more than ‘just another place.’ It became home.

While I miss the daily coastal wind when mother nature turns the San Joaquin oven up to “high,” it would be hard calling any other place home.

I couldn’t creatively write, but I studied as much as I could–scouring the slim pickings of local history at the library and the scraps of information online. I became immersed in analyzing all the data I could.
In my senior year I brought all my grades back up and graduated with honors. After that, I began working for my dad’s new business at the time, which required me to finally write a lot again.

Skills I had thought to be almost lost to me came back almost like they have never gone. I also began visiting the local Milliken Museum. Not to have gone there earlier was truly a mistake.

One day my dad put me to work, and he told me to write a history of the company to be published in the Los Banos Enterprise. To my surprise, after submitting it, I was offered a job on the spot with that newspaper.

Journalism was never a career choice I had ever considered before, but I took the opportunity. And for two months during my tenure at the Enterprise, I truly began to enjoy it.
That leads me to here, the Westside Express, where I’m excited to begin writing and informing its readers to the best of my ability.

Javier Powell