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Chau launches scholarship for OHS Class of 2024
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OHS 2018 alum Brooke Chau is shown at her new station in West Palm Beach, Florida. She recently launched a new scholarship for Oakdale High, to be presented at the 2024 graduation ceremony. Photo Contributed

Grass is certainly not growing under the feet of Brooke Chau. The Oakdale High School Class of 2018 alum continues to not only excel in her career, but place checkmarks in the goal box as well.

Graduating from Fresno State in May of 2022, Chau did exactly as she had intended, she secured a job prior to graduation.

But not just any job.

The former Mustang found herself relocating to Tucson, Arizona to take on the job as the morning news girl for ABC 9 Tucson.

Now less than two years later, she’s moved on.

“I just skyrocketed out of Tucson,” Chau shared, from her new home in West Palm Beach, Florida. “At my one-year mark I told myself, ‘I think I’m outgrowing this place. I’m not learning anymore.’ I was starting to be the mentor of the news station and I wanted to be mentored.”

Raised by a single mom to chase her dreams and make things happen, Chau did exactly that. Acknowledging that being in a two-year contract might make it tricky, she reached out to stations in the top 40 ranking and rolled the dice.

Receiving positive feedback, Chau shared she was continually asked if she was ready to move cross country in pursuit of her dreams. In late November of 2023 the question was quickly answered when she was contacted by WPTV, a Fox/NBC duopoly station.

Officials at the station shared they had come across her reel on YouTube and were interested in a phone interview.

“The worst thing they could say is no and then what?,” she stated. “I learn and go find another job. In my opinion, I was going to win, no matter what.”

The news reporter shared the phone call seemed more like a job offer than an interview and shortly after concluding the call another call came through with an official offer.

“Not everyone can just up and move in 60 days,” she said.

And while it may have been a bit longer than 60 days, by early March of this year, Chau was on air in her new home – West Palm Beach.

“This is market 35, out of 250 markets,” she stated, choking back emotion. “I’m not even two years out of college. This is crazy. Am I capable of this?”

Yet that question is almost facetious for the young go getter, as she shares she firmly believes, “You can’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.”

While the story of the 24-year-old fast tracking up the on-air news forum is impressive, it might just be the story of the drive that landed her there and what she’s done since, which explains the emotion best.

As an OHS alum and native Oakdalean, Chau was candid about the type of student she was. One that enjoyed the social side of high school more than the scholastic, her sights were set on becoming a teacher post-graduation and attending Fresno State that fall of 2018.

Hoping to earn a bit of scholarship money to ease the pain of tuition, Chau shared she was both saddened and disappointed when her name was called for just one scholarship (from a family friend) the night of OHS Scholarship Awards her senior year.

“I just thought when I make it one day, I want to be able to give that person a scholarship to know that they can go chase their dreams and I’m going to be a part of it,” she said of the goal she set for herself prior to graduating from OHS.

Now with her move to her new network, with the help of OHS Career Counselor Lisa Jones, Chau has done just that.

Effective this school year, “The Brooke Chau Dream it, Achieve it Scholarship” will be offered to one male and one female student in the Class of 2024.

“That is so me. I’ve dreamt everything in my life and I’ve achieved it,” she noted of the scholarship name.

“I’ve always wanted to do a scholarship at Oakdale High. Graduating in 2018, I vividly remember sitting in that chair on scholarship night, I wasn’t the smartest kid,” she shared. “I was the cheerleader, involved in Homecoming and into boys. I was not into school, but I knew I had to go to a four-year.”

Scholarship criteria is a 3.0 GPA, some sports, some clubs and major in Communication/Journalism or Arts in some form or fashion.

“College is so expensive,” she said. “I did go the four-year route and I know that’s not for everybody, but it worked out for me and my career.”

Now, Chau is truly living her dream and working hard at it. While her good fortune is not lost on her, she makes one thing perfectly clear; it’s not luck.

“I am a true testament to a lot can happen with hard work,” she said. “I always say, luck favors the prepared and I was so prepared for this. I worked so hard, that it felt good when I got here. I could finally take a breath.”

The job has always been demanding but that’s just part of the career.

“I didn’t work eight-hour days,” she said of starting her career in Tucson. “I still don’t work eight-hour days. I’m talking 18, 20-hour days and I mean that.”

The transition from the Arizona heat to the Florida sand is much more than geography for the hungry journalist. Traveling east brought more than a new address, but a new beat as well for the news reporter.

No longer does she wake up in a city with cheerful stories on new businesses and human interest “feel good,” pieces. Chau is now deep into investigative reporting and court cases. Not to mention it’s an election year, which is not lost on her.

“You think of Palm Beach, Florida, you think of Donald Trump and we’re in an election year,” she said with excitement in her voice. “I thought gosh, this could be such a good opportunity. Will I have opportunities for that.”

As she settles in to her new home, Chau shared while she recognizes it’s hard work that launched her there, it’s also extremely exciting.

“I wanted to challenge myself as a journalist,” she continued.

She currently shares a newsroom with colleagues old enough to be her parents or grandparents, many with Emmy’s on their desks. Often hearing from others “you look young.”

“That was hard at first to hear,” she acknowledged, “but I am using that to my advantage of yeah, I have the whole world in my hands. I was able to jump my first market in 16 months. I wonder where in another 16 months I’ll be.”

Now as the scholarship launches, Chau gives a nod to the Oakdale Leader for giving her her first shot at reporting in 2020.

“I obviously give all my thanks to Oakdale,” Chau said. “You should never forget where you come from. I always think back to 2020 and when I had to move home. I literally knocked on the door of the Oakdale Leader and basically was like, hire me.”

From pounding the pavement of the 95361 to holding a microphone among palm trees in Florida, Chau is proof that big things can happen in small towns.

“I was an intern at the Oakdale Leader during the pandemic, covering brand new businesses on F Street,” Chau said, “to now covering the primary at Mira Lago in Trump’s election.”

Her decision to give back was an easy one.

“This is my thank you to Oakdale and the community for supporting me,” she said of the scholarship. “I want to help out in any way I can.”

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Settling in to her new station, Brooke Chau has made the move from Arizona to Florida as she continues her career in TV news. Photo Contributed