Editor’s note: This is the last article in our “From Galt” series, in which Faith Lewis has done such a wonderful job in bringing us news of our former Galt and Liberty Ranch graduates. I felt it only fitting that the last entry in our two-year special series shines a much-deserved spotlight on Lewis.
Growing up in Acampo, Faith Lewis was a country girl at heart, catching tadpoles and snakes, hatching abandoned turkey eggs and climbing towers of haybales in the barn. Lewis has grown from that country girl to a college graduate, world traveler and successful freelance writer since graduating from Liberty Ranch High School in 2013.
After attending elementary school in Lodi, Lewis started high school at Liberty Ranch the first year it opened. She graduated in 2013, the second graduating class for the new school and the first class to have attended Liberty Ranch for four full years.
While attending Liberty Ranch, Lewis nurtured her love and skills at writing by taking journalism all four years. She served as the paper’s editor her sophomore, junior and senior years.
“Looking back, quality control might not have been the paper’s strong suit, but I had a lot of autonomy in that class, and it certainly played a role in shaping my career path thus far,” Lewis said. “I had the chance to be creative and, as a bit of an introvert, it pushed me out of my comfort zone as I learned how to conduct interviews and find article ideas that might interest students.”
Looking for other successes, Lewis took some chances in the sports arena.
“I played volleyball my freshman year – which taught me that I’m really not very good at volleyball,” Lewis said. “I was also on the track team that year and fared a little better as a sprinter. The next year, I joined the cross-country team and ended up doing really well. I switched to distance running on the track team later that year.”
Lewis was chosen as captain for both cross country and track for a few seasons and was the number one runner on the girls’ varsity cross-country team her junior and senior years.
Lewis used those years as an athlete to learn a valuable life lesson.
“It wasn’t uncommon for the team to run 30+ miles a week during practice and I quickly learned that your brain often wants to give up long before your body does,” Lewis said. “Endurance is as much a question of your willingness to push through as it is your actual ability to do so. That’s a lesson that I believe can be applied to most aspects of life, not just athletics.”
After graduation, Lewis attended California State University, Sacramento, earning her bachelor’s in English in 2016, graduating in three years, which included a semester abroad in Oxford, England.
Lewis used her love of writing to earn an internship at The Galt Herald while still in high school and eventually a position as a staff writer after graduation.
In addition to The Galt Herald, after college, Lewis spent time working as a freelance writer for publications like San Joaquin Magazine, Sacramento News & Review, Via!, HostelWorld and others.
“I certainly haven’t taken a linear or traditional path so far, but I’ve found that things tend to work out if you’re open to taking a risk every now and then,” Lewis said.
As a freelance writer, Lewis had flexibility in where she lived, and wanting to explore some options and take a few risks, she got certified to teach English as a second language.
“I found an au pair job in Rome and lived with my host family, providing childcare and tutoring the girls in English,” Lewis said. “When the girls were at school and on the weekends, I was free to explore the city and travel. I ended up visiting Pompeii, Naples, Florence, Milan, Venice, and several other cities during my three months there, all the while continuing with my freelance writing.”
After Rome, Lewis spent that next summer as an activities leader for an international summer camp on the outskirts of New York City.
“We had students from all over the world who had come to practice their English and explore the city,” Lewis said. “Even though I was still in the U.S., this was really my first professional experience in an international setting, and it set the stage for the next few years of my career.”
Lewis’ next risk took her to Barcelona, Spain to teach English for the school year. Upon returning home for the summer, she accepted a job as copy editor at San Joaquin Magazine.
“But I didn’t stay long,” Lewis said. “I had met my boyfriend while I was in Rome and was doing an obligatory semester abroad from his university in Paris, so after the better part of a year and a half spent in different countries, I moved to Paris to be with him and study French.”
Lewis said she never imagined she would end up in Paris.
“As you can imagine, Paris is quite literally a world away from Galt,” said Lewis. “The architecture, the history, the food – clichés aside, there’s no shortage of things to discover here. Even after visiting Paris several times over the last few years and now having lived here for almost a year, every time I turn down a new street there’s some ornate cathedral tucked away or a new museum that I never knew existed. Sometimes I think I’ve managed to get myself lost, and then I turn the corner and there’s the Eiffel Tower. It’s really fun to live somewhere so iconic.”
And living in Paris gives Lewis the opportunity to explore other countries in Europe.
“Train travel is hugely popular and fairly inexpensive here, so it’s easy to hop on the train Friday night, spend the weekend in Bordeaux or Rouen, or even Frankfurt, and be back by Sunday evening,” Lewis said.
What’s in the future for Lewis?
“Honestly, my career goals are still a bit open ended,” Lewis said. “Every time I’ve tried to set something in stone, something else has come up and changed the plan. I’ve found that I’m much happier if I’m flexible and willing to take opportunities as they come – though as a naturally inflexible person, that’s sometimes easier said than done.”
Lewis said she loved her time as a freelance writer and most likely won’t give that up entirely, but she said she’s ready for more stability.
“I would love to work in an international setting that allows me some room for creative problem solving with multicultural teams,” Lewis said.” “To that end, I’ve applied for several master’s programs that will take advantage of the international experience I’ve gained over the last few years, including International HR, International Business, and International Tourism programs here in Paris. With any luck, I’ll be hearing back from them in the next few weeks and that plan will start to take a more definite shape.”
In the meantime, Lewis continues to learn French.
“I read in French. I watch movies in French, listen to podcasts in French, even cook recipes in French,” Lewis said. “That means I’m confused a good 50% of the time, but it’s incredibly fulfilling when something finally clicks.”
Lewis also loves fresh air, which she says is not always readily available in Paris.
“I make sure to take advantage of being outdoors when I’m stateside,” Lewis said. “My boyfriend, Guillaume, and I have spent the last two summers road tripping through the Western U.S., hitting all the national parks and doing as much hiking, camping, beach walking, kayaking, and lake swimming as we could.”
Although Lewis’ path has not been straight and “traditional”, she has enjoyed meeting new people and learning about the paths they have trod.
“Working as a journalist for so many different publications has given me the chance to meet people I never would have encountered otherwise, and meant that I was able to learn about all sorts of different topics,” Lewis said. “Even just considering this series (“From Galt”), I interviewed somewhere around 100 GHS and LRHS graduates over the last two years. Some graduated in the 40s, some just in the last few years. Some chose to stay in Galt and some, like me, had made their lives in different countries across the world. It has been an incredible experience to see that we all started in the same small town and have gone on to have such diverse and fulfilling lives of our own making. Seeing this week after week actually helped me to recognize that there’s no ‘right way’ to live your life, no ultimate list of things you need to check off, an order you need to accomplish things, or even a common definition of what makes a happy and successful life – and I hope that message also reached the readers.”