2011 YJI Contest Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 29, 2011

Youth Journalism International honors students in 16 countries in annual awards contest

WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Youth Journalism International’s annual awards contest honored students in 16 countries, including an Egyptian teen tapped for the nonprofit’s first Courage in Journalism Award.

“Students’ work is so often overlooked that we’re thrilled to highlight some of the best young journalists across the globe,” said Steve Collins, YJI’s board president. “Those who say journalism is dying should take a look at what we see day in and day out. They’d feel a lot better about the prospects for this crucial profession.”

Winners of the five major categories receive crystal trophies while others are honored with custom made certificates.

Judges picked Meghan Morris of Wayne, Penn. as the Student Journalist of the Year for her dedication to press freedom and high quality work.

Meghan Morris, YJI's 2011 Student Journalist of the Year

“Journalism allows me to tell stories that might otherwise not be told,” Morris said after learning of her selection. “I get to learn about so many different areas and so many different people.”

Morris graduated this month from Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Penn., where she served as co-editor of The Spoke. She is attending Medill School at Northwestern University in the fall, where she plans to study journalism.

In the always difficult category of Journalism Educator of the Year, which had many strong contenders, judges picked Jill Cook, the advisor for Tyro at Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, Wisc.

Jill Cook, YJI's 2011 Journalism Educator of the Year

Called “a motivator and mentor like none other” by her students, Cook won praise for creating “a safe haven, an oasis in the desert that is high school.”

Students Kriya Patel, Jack Peterson and Michael Pan said their paper is like a second home.

As its dedicated advisor for two decades, Cook “has helped countless students find their true calling and inspired many of us to consider writing and journalism as a valuable asset to our lives,” Patel said.

Cook, a long-time board member of the Kettle Moraine Press Association, said she had no idea her students had nominated her.

The new Courage in Journalism Award went to Jessica Elsayed, a high school senior in Alexandria, Egypt who provided firsthand reporting on the Egyptian uprising from its beginning.

Elsayed kept a worldwide audience informed of the fast-moving events that transformed her country despite the risk that journalists faced as government-supported thugs took aim at protestors. She provided a face and a voice for the revolution.

Cresonia Hsieh won the Jacinta Marie Bunnell Award for Commentary for writing the best piece giving voice to an important issue.

Her piece about the death of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge, recalled her time with Clementi in a church youth group and a lament that she had failed to reach out more.

Earning the Frank Keegan “Take No Prisoners” Award for News went to Jenny Hottle, a senior at John Carroll High School in Bel Air, Md.

Hottle, who plans to study journalism at the University of Maryland in the fall, wrote about student drinking at her small high school, always a touchy subject.

“I just liked being able to investigate a story and let people know what’s going on in the school or the community. I like being the voice for that,” she said.

Award-winning journalists from Europe, Africa and North America helped judge the yearly contest, including a media professional from ESPN and a visuals editor from Pennsylvania.

Youth Journalism International has been educating the next generation of news professionals and talented teens since 1994. Formally created in 2007, it is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit public charity. Its website can be found at www.youthjournalism.org.

The contest covered work published in English between Jan. 1, 2010 and February 1, 2011. Those eligible must be 19 or under and not working professionally. Results were announced on May 30, 2011.

Entries came from 13 U.S. states and 16 countries.

For more information, please contact Jackie Majerus, Youth Journalism International’s executive director, at (860) 523-9632 in Connecticut or by writing to yjicontest@gmail.com.

A complete list of winners follows.

2011 Excellence in Journalism Contest Winners

HIGHEST HONORS

 

STUDENT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

Meghan Morris of Wayne, Penn., attending Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Penn., co-editor, The Spoke

 

JOURNALISM EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR

WINNER – Jill Cook, of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin who is the Tyro advisor at Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin

FINALIST – Michelle Harmon, advisor at The Borah Senator, Borah High School, Boise, Idaho

FINALIST – Mark Ionescu, advisor at The Patriot, The John Carroll School, Bel Air, Maryland

 

COURAGE IN JOURNALISM AWARD

WINNER – Jessica Elsayed of Alexandria, Egypt, attending the Egyptian American School, for her coverage of the Egyptian Revolution

FINALIST – Tasman Anderson, of Brisbane, Australia, attending the University of Queensland, for her coverage of gay and lesbian issues

 

KEEGAN “TAKE NO PRISONERS” AWARD FOR NEWS

Jenny Hottle of Bel Air, Maryland, attending The John Carroll School and writes for The Patriot, for “Admin addresses campus drinking”

 

JACINTA MARIE BUNNELL AWARD FOR COMMENTARY

WINNER – Cresonia Hsieh of Knoxville, Tennessee, attending Farragut High School, for “Remembering Tyler Clementi”

FINALIST – Pushkal Shivam of Mumbai, India, attending Kendriya Vidyalaya school, for “Book ban should be an anathema to a knowledge economy”

FINALIST – Eroll Yabut of Zambales, the Philippines, attending Regional Science High School, for “Church and State Cordon”

FINALIST – Soo Ji Lee of Cresskill, New Jersey, attending Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, N.Y., for “Outside Cities, Haiti Still Suffers”

 

HIGH HONORS

CARTOONS

FIRST PLACE – Justin Skaradosky of Bristol, Connecticut, attending Southern Connecticut State University, for a series of cartoons called “A Look At…”

 

COLUMN WRITING

FIRST PLACE – Tasman Anderson of Brisbane, Australia, attending the University of Queensland, for “Q Youth: With Tasman Anderson”

SECOND PLACE – Rebecca Shaw, of New York, N.Y., attending Horace Mann School, for “Facebook: Controlling Our Guilty-Sweet Pleasure” [ page two, bottom]

HONORABLE MENTION – Noah Kidron-Style of London, England, attending City of London School, for “Police brutality in keeping with government’s anti-student agenda.”

HONORABLE MENTION – Soo Ji Lee of Cresskill, New Jersey, attending Riverdale Country School in Bronx, N.Y., for “Haiti, Far From Remedy.”

 

EDITORIAL (unsigned; award goes to publication)

FIRST PLACE – The Borah Senator, Borah High School, Boise, Idaho, for “Cell phone technology”

SECOND PLACE – The Patriot, The John Carroll School, Bel Air, Maryland, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal viewed as essential to American society”

 

ENTERPRISE – Individual

FIRST PLACE – Nancy Hsu of Brisbane, Australia, attending University of Queensland, for coverage of the Brisbane floods

 

ENTERPRISE – Team reporting (multiple byline)

FIRST PLACE – Soo Ji Lee & Lovia Gyarkye, who attend Riverdale Country School in Bronx, NY, for “Concussions on the Rise”

 

FEATURES – Individual reporting

FIRST PLACE – Kim Nayeon of Saratoga, California, attending The Harker School, for “Quidditch: Muggles bring magic sport to life”

SECOND PLACE – Ishmael Streever, of Anchorage, Alaska, attending Dimond High School, for “Singing in the Shower”

HONORABLE MENTION – Max Jungreis, of Anchorage, Alaska, attending Steller Secondary School, for “The power of plastic!”

HONORABLE MENTION – Cara Reilly, of Bel Air, Maryland, attending The John Carroll School, for “JC alum drums to success.”

 

FEATURES — Team reporting

FIRST PLACE – Jessica Elsayed of Alexandria, Egypt, attending the Egyptian American School, Luke Pearson of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, attending Hastings High School; Mary Majerus-Collins of West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Bristow Middle School; Alma Macbride of West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Hall High School and Kiernan Majerus-Collins of West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Hall High School, for their collaborative work on “King Tut in New York & Egypt”

SECOND PLACE – Monica Blaze of Wixom, Michigan, attending Walled Lake Western; Nicole Megan Gounder of Durban, South Africa, attending University of KwaZulu Natal; Katie Grosser of Meschede, Germany, attending Westfälische Willhelms Universität Münster; Robert Guthrie of Dumfries, Scotland, attending Wallace Hall Academy; Evangeline Han of Melaka, Malaysia, who is homeschooled; Nancy Hsu of Brisbane, Australia, attending the University of Queensland; Mary Majerus-Collins of West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Bristow Middle School; Kiernan Majerus-Collins of West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Hall High School; Caroline Nelissen of Ermelo, the Netherlands, attending Amsterdam University College; Mariechen Puchert of Cape Town, South Africa, attending Stellenbosch University; Mehran Shamit of Toronto, Canada, attending William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute; and Waleed Tariq of Karachi, Pakistan, who attended SZABIST, for their collaborative coverage of worldwide New Year’s Eve celebrations.

 

FIRST PERSON ESSAY

FIRST PLACE – Monica Blaze of Wixom, Michigan, attending Walled Lake Western, for “I’ll take you to Wixom”

SECOND PLACE – Eroll Yabut of Zambales, the Philippines, attending Regional Science High School, for “Confessions of a Not-So-Dangerous Mind”

HONORABLE MENTION – Justina Liu of Schenectady, NY, attending Guilderland High School, for “A ‘Taste’ of Chinese Culture”
NEWS – Individual reporting

FIRST PLACE – Justina Liu of Schenectady, N.Y., attending Guilderland High School in Guilderland Ctr., New York, for “Department cuts at UAlbany cause controversy, have rippling effects”

SECOND PLACE – Clare Hern of West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Hall High School, for “Pickens Patriotic Push For Natural Gas”

HONORABLE MENTION – Nikki Navio of Fairbanks, Alaska, attending the University of Alaska, for “Rejected”

HONORABLE MENTION – Matthew Bray of Boise, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “Students Disillusioned After Possessions Stolen, Violated”

HONORABLE MENTION – Grace Kim of Bel Air, Maryland, attending The John Carroll School, for “Faculty discusses cutting computer distractions”

HONORABLE MENTION – Yelena Samofalova of West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Bristow Middle School, for “Connecticut To Host First Youth Peace Summit”


NEWS – Team reporting

FIRST PLACE – Led by Nicole Megan Gounder of Durban, South Africa, attending University of KwaZulu Natal; with supporting work by Becca Lazarus of Windsor, Conn., attending Windsor High School; Laquandria Fenn, of Hartford, Conn., attending Hartford High School; Kiernan Majerus-Collins of West Hartford, Conn., attending Hall High School; Mariechen Puchert of Cape Town, South Africa, attending Stellenbosch University; Mariah Pulver of Tuscon, Arizona, attending Texas Christian University; Eugenia Durante of Genoa, Italy, attending Libera Universita  di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM; Cara Nelissen of Ermelo, the Netherlands attending Amsterdam University College and Geraldine Soon of Singapore, attending the National University of Singapore, for their coverage of the World Cup.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

News Photo

FIRST PLACE – Mehran Shamit of Toronto, Canada, attending William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, for “Showcasing Canada’s diversity at York”

SECOND PLACE – Pushkal Shivam of Mumbai, India, attending Kendriya Vidyalaya school, for “Anti-Government Protesters in Mumbai”

HONORABLE MENTION – Kaley Willis of Sulphur, Louisiana, attending Sulphur High School, for “Louisiana marshland threatened”

Sports Photo

FIRST PLACE – Megan Mizuta of Boise, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “Basketball photo”

SECOND PLACE – Nicole Megan of Durban, South Africa, attending University of KwaZulu Natal; for “World Cup photos”

Feature Photo

FIRST PLACE – Katie Helm of Boise, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “Talent Show”

SECOND PLACE – Ashley Rice of Nampa, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “Spirit Week”

HONORABLE MENTION – Kristin Bracewell of Boise, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “Capitol Building”

Photo Illustration

FIRST PLACE – Narine Daneghyan of Yerevan, Armenia, attending Yerevan State University, for “Armenia celebrates Christmas”

 

PROFILE — Individual

FIRST PLACE – Yeona Choi of Rancho Cucamonga, California, attending Los Osos High School, for “Binna Kim: One girl’s story of bravery and forgiveness.”

SECOND PLACE – Aviva Hirsch, of Anchorage, Alaska, attending West Anchorage High School, for “A cold freezing night.”

 

REVIEWS:

General Reviews

FIRST PLACE – Megan Mizuta of Boise, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “Chef’s Hut is definitely lunch worthy”

SECOND PLACE – Samantha Nelson of Boise, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “The Hunger Games trilogy offers something for everyone”

Music

FIRST PLACE – Kiernan Majerus-Collins of  West Hartford, Connecticut, attending Hall High School, for “Higdon displays ‘magic as a composer’”

SECOND PLACE – Cara Reilly of Bel Air, Maryland, attending The John Carroll School, for “‘Showroom of Compassion’ reveals more strange lyrics, upbeat tunes”

Theater/ Film

FIRST PLACE – Vipasha Sajid Shaikh of Toronto, Canada, attending Woburn Collegiate Institute, for “Black Swan No Ugly Duckling”

SECOND PLACE – Eroll Yabut of Zambales, the Philippines, attending Regional Science High School, for “Learning Something From ‘An Education’”

HONORABLE MENTION – Laquandria Fenn of Hartford, Connecticut, attending Hartford High School and Celeste Kurz of West Hartford, attending Conard High School and Mary Majerus-Collins,  Stephanie Reyes and Yelena Samafalova, all of West Hartford, Connecticut, all attending Bristow Middle School, for “Band Geeks!”

HONORABLE MENTION – Eugenia Durante of Genoa, Italy, attending Libera Universita  di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM; for “‘The Tourist’ takes a disappointing trip to Venice”

 

SPORTS

Sports News – Individual reporting

FIRST PLACE – Megan Mizuta of Boise, Idaho, attending Borah High School, for “On track: Pre-season attendance improves, varsity letter point system begins”


Sports News – Team reporting (multiple bylines)

FIRST PLACE – Mehran Shamit of Toronto, Canada, attending William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, for “Canadian hockey star gets goals” and Jenna Potter of Ottawa, Canada, attending St. Joseph Catholic High School, for “Gold medal coach advises hard work, tough skin”

 

Sports Opinion

FIRST PLACE – Narine Daneghyan of Yerevan, Armenia, attending Yerevan State University, for “Girls play it, too”

SECOND PLACE – Eugenia Durante of Genoa, Italy, attending Libera Universita  di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM; for “When the thrill of winning is gone”

 

Sports Feature

FIRST PLACE – Ben Clatworthy of Bristol, England, attending Clifton College Upper School, for a series of sports feature stories

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