Sun-Sentinel High School Journalism Awards: Palm Beach County winners

SportsArts and CultureHigh School SportsEntertainmentNewspaper and MagazineCartoonsMass Media

GRAPHICS, ILLUSTRATIONS, CARTOONS

First Place (Tie)
Spanish River High, The Galleon

The Galleon's Graphics are well thought out and fit the concept of the stories they are used to enhance. Color catches the readers' eye, while easy-to-scan info-graphics add some extra "umph" to already strong center pages. Using drawn illustrations blended with graphic design also creates a good mix, particularly on the "An Apple a Day…" feature.

Wellington High, The Wave
Although The Wave's entry included only cartoons, their great, witty concepts and well-drawn style earn them a tie for first place. The cartoon concepts are timely, relevant to their audience, drawn well and funny. Cartoon artist Jenna Fugate crafts the cartoons to be thoughtful while still marinating a lighthearted feel.

Second Place: Suncoast High, The Legend
The Legend's "Steroids" story illustration was the best of all the entries in this category. The use of the illustration as both headline treatment and supporting visual works well and makes a strong statement. Other illustrations show promise.

Third Place: West Boca Raton Community High, The West Side StoryThe West Side Story's cartoons are fun and relevant, so show us more! A greater use of graphics and cartoons will visually enhance the pages of the paper and better draw readers into stories. Talented artists deserve to be showcased to their full ability, so don't shortchange them by making their work hard to see/read.

Honorable Mention: (Tie)
Jupiter Community High, The War Cry

Good mix of cartoons that deal with local school issues and larger political issues. Just be sure the cartoons relate strongly to their audience and are easy to understand quickly. Nice use of scale for impact. The "School Police" cartoon is the top pick, with both visual impact and the ability to directly relate to student readers after just a quick glance.

John I. Leonard High, The Knight TimesThe illustrations and cartoons are good; so don't be afraid to run them larger so they can have full impact on readers. When a strong image appears too small, the concept is difficult to immediately grasp and much of the impact is lost. Also, smaller cartoons make dialogue difficult to read. But that being said, great work with lots of potential.

PHOTOGRAPHY

First Place: Jenna Berger, Suncoast High

Second Place (4-way tie)
Andrew Golden, West Boca High
Whitney Wyatt, Wellington High
Jason Yore, Spanish River High
Mark Morris, John I. Leonard High

Third Place (4-way tie)
Natalie Bouchard, Park Vista High
Julie LeBlanc, Palm Beach Gardens High
Athena Torri, Spanish River High
Jon Sunshine, Spanish River High

Honorable Mentions (4)
Heather Peters, John I Leonard High
John Paul Garzonne, West Boca High
Nicole Hricik, Park Vista High
Alex Fernandez, West Boca High

LAYOUT/DESIGN

First Place: Spanish River High, The Galleon

Second Place: Forest Hill High, The Talon

Third Place (tie)
West Boca Raton Community High
The Westside Story, Wellington H.S., The Wave

HEADLINES

First Place: Suncoast High, The Legend

Second Place: John I. Leonard High, The Knight Times

Third Place: Palm Beach Gardens High, The Outlook

Honorable mention (4)
Weinbaum Yeshiva High, The Brainstorm
Atlantic High, The Squall
Wellington High, The Wave
West Boca Raton Community High, The Westside Story

COLUMNISTS

First Place: Harry Ganz, Weinbaum Yeshiva High, The Brainstorm
Harry's columns demonstrate persuasive argument, research, depth and humor. He covers an impressive range of topics, from the changing makeup of vaccinations to Iran's nuclear program. He tackles science and politics with the same ease, and effectively uses questions to draw the reader into a column.

Second Place: Michael Wunderlich, Forest Hill High, The Talon
Michael takes what could be a routine topic, the college visit, and turns it into a meditation on the randomness of life. This column shows a strong understanding of narrative structure as he takes the reader through his day in Lakeland. He sets a scene well, provides context and tells us why we should care.

Third Place: Allie Klionsky, Atlantic High, The Squall
Allie's column, "Poet's Corner," is wonderfully original in concept and execution. Her thoughts on poetry lead her to a variety of topics, from Beethoven to whether there's poetry in the cafeteria line. Interspersed through the columns are sentences that make the reader stop and reflect. Here's an example: "Maybe the happy ending lies in the fact that only in a world of mistakes can people wish for a better future."

Honorable mention (2)
David Marra, Palm Beach Gardens High, The Outlook
David shows that the best columns are often "reported columns," meaning that the writer got his or her own information first hand. He also possesses a crucial journalistic skill: skepticism.

Amanda Lindsay, Palm Beach Gardens High, The Outlook
Comments: Amanda writes with passion as she calls on us to find new sources of energy or be prepared to radically alter our lifestyles. She is direct, clear and compelling.

EDITORIAL SECTIONS

First Place: Suncoast High, The Legend
This section had it all: well-written and well-reasoned editorials designed to persuade rather than just let the writer vent, solid letters to the editor, cartoons that said something, pro and con articles in tandem, a wide variety of topics ranging from the global to issues specific to the school, cleanly laid out, reasonably well edited.

Second Place: West Boca High, The Westside Story
Attractive, informative and provided a cornucopia of idea.

Third Place: John I. Leonard High, The Knight Times
Good choice of subjects, especially reflecting the influence of technology on today's students.

Honorable mention: Wellington High, The Wave

EDITORIAL WRITER

First Place: Brittany Llewellyn, The Wave, Wellington High
Her three commentaries showed terrific common sense, intelligence and empathy. The personal is political when Brittany writes of the difficulty of choosing a major for college, let alone high school, as a new Florida law mandates. She also neatly skewers the "promiscuity" argument against the HPV vaccine, pointing out that the lack of such a protection has not prompted abstinence among her peers. And she asks her readers to see the ties that bind us despite our outward differences, sharing her own shell-shocked, newcomer experience. A consistently strong entry.

Second Place (three-way tie)
Arielle Evans, The Westside Story, West Boca High
Arielle entered three crisp, well-balanced, clearly articulated arguments. She offered strong viewpoints and alternative routes of action on subjects in immediate interest to her reading audience: SATs; early emphasis on academics; and "boring" summer reading requirements. A really solid entry.

Kaitlin Gallagher, The Cobra Chronicle, Park Vista High
Solid research bolstered the arguments Kaitlin made on three wide-ranging subjects. She wrote: the dire situation of many of Haiti's children; the stereotyping of dog breeds; and the environmental consequences of a controversial Bimini resort project. Very interesting and diverse choices.

Michael Wunderlich, The Talon, Forest Hill High
It can be easy, sort of, to challenge adult authority but it takes guts to take on your high school peers. In writing about the death of a fellow student in a crash involving impaired teens, Michael challenges those teens who show they have not yet learned the harsh lesson. He also wrote with knowing clarity about the rigors of the IB program and its cost for some students. And he used a Valentine's Day peg to encourage students to look inward to understand themselves and their relationships.

Third Place (two-way tie)Kathryn Milstein, The Legend, Suncoast High
"Maybe the game of adolescence isn't about being in love so much as learning what love is all about." That's one of Kathryn's succinct observations in her well-sourced, tightly written, mature commentaries. Another piece looked at the downsides of popular images of weight, asked whether 'fat' was 'the new f-word.'

Liliana Parages, The Knight Times, John I. Leonard High
Liliana addressed two difficult scientific and divisive topics -- embryonic stem cell research, and the population clock ticking off the 300-millionth American -- and dealt with them in even-handed, well-researched pieces. Very good job.

Honorable Mention (four)Alexander Brunner, The Wave, Wellington High
Alexander took a humorous approach to skewer the "holiday season" mania and to infuse Valentine's Day with a wry and expansive view of love and friendship and a down to earth view of gifts. Delightful reading.

Alexa Bryn, The Brainstorm, Weinbaum Yeshiva High
Using both research sources and personal anecdotes, Alexa writes about Holocaust deniers and makes a compelling argument against complacency and inaction on the part of all of our society.

Jessica Laux, The War Cry, Jupiter High
Jessica exposed the twisted logic of punishing murder with more murder, took a balanced and empathic look at illegal immigration and its effect on our country; and assessed the effect of mall surveillance on privacy in today's America. A strong, well-rounded entry.

Pedro Tejada, The Knight Times, John I. Leonard High
In taking on the emphasis on FCAT, schools' Web site blocking and the focus on stingrays after the death of Steve Irwin, Pedro produced a varied and solid entry.

ENTERTAINMENT SECTIONFirst Place: Spanish River High
This newspaper had the most diverse stories. From music and movies to technology and books. This was one of the few papers that actually wrote about entertainment technology and the Internet. I thought the articles on ebay and digital rights to music were forward thinking. I appreciated the profiles and spotlights on students in their school who have entertainment ambitions. A student reading about other students is what we'd call "extreme local." Keep it up. I enjoyed the B.A.M feature: "Book Album Movie Review," which included creative short snippets that were brief and reader friendly.

Second Place: Weinbaum Yeshiva High
Out of all the schools entered, WY's newspaper had the best writing by far. The writing was strong, clear and engaging. Never too long. The book reviews were sophisticated for a high school paper, but never highbrow. The reviews made me want to read the books. Outstanding job!

Third Place (tie)
John I. Leonard High: This was the only high school newspaper to include art! And they did so in a way that wasn't boring or lengthy. Just a few sentences about art exhibits at local museums. A great way to engage young people early on. Excellent. Good mix of subject from music to fashion, movies and school events.

Wellington High: Of all the schools entered, Wellington High's newspaper used photos and graphics most creatively. It wasn't your standard square layout. I appreciated the profiles and spotlights on students in their school who have entertainment ambitions. A student reading about other students is what we'd call "extreme local." Emily Alter and Whitney Wyatt had the best writing styles in the paper. Nice leads, engaging and not too long.

Honorable Mention: Palm Beach Gardens HighI appreciated their mix of subjects

ENTERTAINMENT WRITERS

First Place: Emily Yin, Spanish River High, The Galleon
Her entry finished well ahead of other entries. Her story about the upcoming Harry Potter book was a surprisingly well-written and engaging read. Her use of adjectives and adverbs were well used, as well as her use of quotes that nicely elaborated on the themes of her article.

Second Place: Ashley Miller, Spanish River High, The Galleon
Ashley's entry contains some very smart writing and effort. She also uses color well.

Third Place: Alexa Bryn, Weinbaum Yeshiva High, The Brainstorm
Alexa's uses color well. Her subject matter is strong. She is also among one of the few entrants to tackle a book review, other than Harry Potter.

FEATURES SECTION

First Place: Suncoast High, The Legend
This paper has a colorful, innovative, wraparound cover design that is well executed. It has blurbs mixed with clip and drawn art that are eyecatching and fun to read. The layout is well thought out, so the elements feel well placed and well spaced, not just a jumble of images. The topics chosen were fun to read and informative. This is a cutting edge school newspaper.

Second Place: West Boca High, The West Side Story
This paper is well formatted, with standing features such as the Op Ed page Point-Counterpoint that shows a high degree of sophistication. Editorial cartoonist Rosie's Rants combines youthful enthusiasm with a thoughtful point of view. This was the only paper among the entries with its own advice columnist.

Third Place: Spanish River High, The Galleon
The paper has a good content mix, from a story on the Diary of a German Exchange Student, to a Q&A with Sen. Deutch. The layouts are adventuresome, such as the double truck Economic Interests spread. Some articles show a high degree of sophistication and subject matter, such as World Under Siege, which speaks to the interest of students in the world outside.

Honorable mentions:Palm Beach Gardens High, The Outook.
This paper had the best arts/entertainment mix of the entries, with book, movie and dining reviews.

Weinbaun Yeshiva High, The Brainstorm
True to its name, I give this paper an A+ for its serious political content, such as articles on torture and casualties in Iraq

Wellington High, The Wave
This is a traditional school newspaper that is well designed with a clean, readable layout, and a good mix of articles, from a story on celebrities' charitable works in Africa, to teens plundering (their word) the Internet for music.

FEATURES WRITER

First Place: Katiana Krawchenko, Spanish River High, The Galleon
Katiana Krawchenko revealed good reporting skills in her story on Jaxson's business, showing the interest in the landmark where time seems to stand still and Krawchenko found a local student who didn't mind taking the 30 minute drive to Dania Beach.

Second Place: Sydney Lampert, Suncoast High, The Legend
Sydney Lampert's story on SATs showed the fear and loathing students have for the test and some solutions to get a good grade on it. Lampert's haute fashion story was also well written.

Third Place (tie)Michael Clark, Park Vista High, Cobra Chronicle
Michael Clark wrote a powerful, detailed story on the age of the superficial and the rise of plastic surgery.

Alex Proenza, Atlantic High, The Squall
Alex Proenza's "grillz" piece showed a refreshing, creative style and heeded a warning to the problems the popular mouthpieces cause.

Honorable Mentions(6)
Lauren Grogan (War Cry)
Lauren Aitken (War Cry)
Bianca Rolon (West Side Story),
Jenna Blechman (Galleon)
Allison Gagliardi (Cobra Chronicle)
Melissa Burat, Atlantic High School, The Squall

SPORTS SECTION

First Place: Spanish River High, The Galleon
The Galleon staff put together a well-rounded sports section, containing school and non-Spanish River stories. The non-school stories often incorporated student reaction. The sections' design stood out with good use of photos and graphics. The photo poster pages, like in previous years, were a strong part of the section. I especially liked the tennis poster displays injuries. Good features included the Q&A as well as athlete of the month.What distinguished the section from other entries was a "news" story on planned improvements in facilities.

Second Place: West Boca Raton High, Westside Story
The Westside Story's sports section was attractively designed. The writers' face-off series were informative and nicely displayed. The headlines were quite creative, including "NASCAR races into homes across the U.S." The posters were nicely composed. The Q and A were a good part of the section. The non-school stories were informative and well-written.

Third Place (3-way tie)
Wellington High, The Wave
The Wave's sections had a nice mix of commentary, local coverage and non-school information. The sections were put together nicely from a content and design situation. Notable items were the sports discussion face-off columns, the Q&A and the layout of the Sports Shorts. The basketball stories were packaged nicely, including the use of the illustration. The headlines were nicely written, including "Cross country hits the ground running." Features and enterprise coverage would have been a nice addition.

Jupiter High, The War Cry
The War Cry had a strong showing after an absence from judging for a few years. The local and non-school enterprise was the strong point along with the feature stories on the coaches.

Suncoast High, The Legends
The Legends sports sections were nicely put together. The posters were quite attractive, especially the use of quotes. The cutout with the football story also was effective. And the stories weren't run-of-the-mill. The fencing and water polo stories explained how the sports are played, and there were details on how runners compete in cross country.

Honorable mention (3)Palm Beach Gardens High: The Outlook
The sections were cram-packed with school and non-local items. The layout on the football title run was strong. What made that page strong was a dominant image and effective use of smaller photos. Also the headline "Title run ends, future begins" was good. So was the "four of a kind" headline over the boys' basketball story.

John I Leonard High: The Knight Times
Colors helped the sports sections stand out. It was good to run a feature on the swimming family. Quotes, instead of paraphrased information, would have improved the story.

Atlantic High: The Squall
The one page submitted was quite strong. It included two player features utilizing a Q&A, a news feature, team review after a few games and a short on a team's season. The page was attractive, and stories were well-written and quotes were used appropriately.

SPORTS WRITER

First Place: Ben Sunshine, Spanish River High
Ben wrote explanatory pieces in the areas of sports you rarely see tackled in high school journalism: the impact of a cheap NBA player-sponsored sneaker on the market, the issue of whether college athletes should be paid in addition to their scholarships and the impact of overly competitive environments in youth sports. While the writing was dense in spots, the pieces moved from one logical spot to another. Also, the text held up grammatically and the spelling was solid.

Second Place: Jordan Grangard, Jupiter High
Jordan submitted three solid pieces, highlighted by a look at the NCAA "clearing house" and its function.

Third Place: Justin Howell, Suncoast High
Justin gets big credit for giving us a look at a sport barely anyone has any familiarity with, fencing. It also read better than most of the material I looked over.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Imber, Wellington High
Andrew has a voice in his writing. He submitted two opinion items and a piece about the soccer team. The opining had its sloppy moments but was fun. Frankly, I thought the soccer piece stood out among the standard feature pieces I read through. The lead was breezy and not of the cookie-cutter variety and the story maintained a good pace throughout.

NEWS SECTION

First Place: The Galleon, Spanish River High
The Galleon achieves all the objectives of any good news section. It is local, easy to read and navigate and provides its readership with helpful and useful information.

The newspaper's staff clearly has its readers in mind, from the planning to the execution of each issue. It provides high school students with news they can use: stories about academic cheating and implementation of an honor code; diversity in classrooms and curriculum; school violence; teen drinking; the school's new theater.

"Inside this Issue," that appears at the bottom of the front page, helps busy readers quickly decide which other stories they want to read and where to find them. The news pages are clean, uncluttered and visually easy to read.

But most important is the infusion of "real people" into The Galleon's news pages. Consistently, the newspaper seeks out Spanish River students to include in its stories. A student weighs in with his opinion on cheating and the crackdown; one student talks about his concerns over school violence and his confident in the school police. "There need to be serious changes in Palm Beach County because underage drinking beginning at 11 is out of control," one student says in a story.

The consistent inclusion of students on the paper's news pages -- in articles as well as in the "Voice in the Crowd" feature -- sets The Galleon apart from other entries in this category. This is the students' newspaper, and as such it shouldn't be packed with quotes from teachers, administrators and other outside "voices." Students relate to their peers, and they'll read articles if their friends, classmates and other students are used as news sources.

The staff of The Galleon obviously understands this, and works hard to make it happen in each issue. That effort pays off. The Galleon deserves the first-place award for Best News Section.

Second Place: The Westside Story, West Boca High

Third Place (tie)The Outlook, Palm Beach Gardens High
The Legend, Suncoast High

Honorable Mention (tie)The Squall, Atlantic HighThe Wave, Wellington High

NEWS WRITER

First Place (tie) Emily Cassulo, Jupiter Community High, The War Cry
Melissa Bernadel, Atlantic High, The Squall
Both contestants submitted well-written and well-developed news stories about issues affecting their own schools, as well as Florida public education in general. The articles explained each topic clearly and made good use of quotes.

Second Place (tie)Richard DeRosa and Lara Jones, Atlantic High, The Squall
Richard DeRosa and Lara Jones did a fine job of zeroing in on a new media center that was being shunned by students and explaining the problem to readers.

Brittany Jacobs, Park Vista Community High, The Cobra Chronicle
Brittany Jacobs effectively tackled two big topics: the impact of fast food on our health and the issues facing the new Congress in Washington, D.C.

Third Place (tie)Sheba Lawrence, Atlantic High, The Squall
Aimee Allen, John I. Leonard High, The Knight Times
Sheba's article on school safety and Aimee's stories on the gubernatorial battle and Florida's education ranking were examples of good, solid journalism.

Honorable Mention:Jennifer Lieberman, Jessica Stallone and Stephen Ratner, Spanish River High, The Galleon
Andrew Kener, Willie Smith and Raul Espinoza, Palm Beach Gardens High, The Outlook
Sarah Schlein, Sam Shapiro and Morgan Piven, Wellington High, The Wave
Kelsey Pinault, Lori Warsett, Allen Levin and Karen Sullivan, West Boca Raton High, The Westside Story
Raffaele Tropeano and Kiersten Tobiassen, John I. Leonard High, The Knight Times
Laura Hersch, Lindsay Calhoun and Jordan Morrell, Suncoast High, The Legend
Shadoe Stein, Jupiter Community High, The War Cry
Natassia Miller and Jarret Mayo, Park Vista High, The Cobra Chronicle
Michael Wunderlich and Marilyn Pavon, Forest Hill High, The Talon

FRONT PAGE

First Place: Suncoast High, The Legend
By placement of stories and headline size, The Legend's staff makes it easy for readers to navigate through the issue's news. The pie charts at the bottom of the page illustrating student polls are a nice touch. And a lot of work goes into the refers too, drawing readers inside.

Second Place: Spanish River High, The Galleon
The Galleon's front page is clean and straightforward -- with a unique refer package at the bottom.

Third Place: Wellington High, The WaveThe Wave's front page presents the news with, well, a wave of exuberance.

Honorable mentions:West Boca High -- Colorful, lots of refers to stories inside.
John I Leonard High -- Colorful, interesting use of photos.

MOST IMPROVED

First Place: Suncoast High, The Legend
Not only did Suncoast adopt a cleaner presentation, but the student newspaper staff came up with a more consistently interesting selection of stories to present. The themed coverage in the feature focus, and the "double vision" opinion page were strong ideas and executed well. The newspaper retained its strong focus on the students, and left the state/national/foreign news to other media forums.

Second Place: Atlantic High, The Squall
This newspaper also retained a focus on the students, choosing entertaining news that appealed to the student base. The paper was much more readable (good selection of stories) in the current year, with a good use of the center spread of the newspaper.

Third Place: Wellington High, The Wave
The paper created a much cleaner presentation while keeping some of the best features from the year before, specifically the gray-toned "quick hit" news briefs. A center spread was added to this newspaper as well, which provided a themed focus, and more interesting content choices.

BEST OVERALL

First Place (tie)Spanish River High, The Galleon
The Galleon's front page is very newsy and well-designed. The staff covered a broad range of topics, from school violence to a piece on the world's dictators. I also really liked the article about the school's new theater and the newspaper's "Around Town" feature. Their coverage of school clubs is top-notch.

Suncoast High, The LegendAnother well-designed newspaper, with probably the best school news coverage of any of the newspapers submitted in the county. I liked features such as their resource guide for Suncoast students, which talked about getting involved in school activities, tackling stress and preparing for the SAT.

Second Place (tie)West Boca High, The Westside Story
The staff covers the school well. They have great sports pages, and interesting news articles. I liked their photo pages.

Wellington High, The Wave
The Wave is another newspaper that does a good job of covering the school and their fellow students. I particularly liked a feature they did on students from other countries. The staff found interesting school stories that I haven't read elsewhere -- the kind of content that school papers should strive to provide.

Third Place: John I. Leonard High, The Knight Times
Another school that provides great coverage of school sports and activities. The key to a good school paper is providing stories that students can't get elsewhere -- the Knight Times does that.

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