The Stanner newspaper of Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood, swept this year’s Tablet High School Press Awards May 4 by earning 10 awards, including first place in General Excellence.
“We have been very impressed with the quality of the writing all year,” said newspaper moderator Joseph Sommo. “We’ve been very impressed with the topics they’re able to tackle without being afraid to upset anyone. We’re just proud of the overall quality that they’ve produced. It’s certainly up to the standard of what we think are real newspapers out there and that’s what we’re looking for.”
A total of eight high school newspapers from around the diocese went head to head with one another in order to earn a top spot in one of the 12 selected categories.
Every year, The Tablet invites all Catholic high school newspapers in the diocese to participate in a friendly competition. The editorial staff reads all submissions and chooses winners based on the quality of the work and how it serves the student body.
The school newspapers all take a different approach to their mission. Some focus on hard news, while others rely more heavily on features and sports. However, all schools have student staffs, which include reporters, photographers, editors and graphic designers.
The ceremony was a chance to honor the work of the young journalists as they strive to promote the values of truth and justice through student journalism.
Newspaper staff and moderators from seven of the high schools were welcomed at the Diocesan Chancery in Park Slope.
The inspiration for this year’s awards came from an excerpt of Pope Francis’ message for the 2018 World Communication Day.
“Communication is part of God’s plan for us and an essential way to experience fellowship. Made in the image and likeness of our Creator, we are able to express and share all that is true, good and beautiful.”
Practical Reporting Skills
The Press Awards were also a chance for the young writers to tackle practical reporting skills with students their age, but this time, from different schools.
The morning icebreaker, “Getting to Know You Bingo,” was a game the challenged the students to meet new people and ask questions that would meet the requirements of the particular “Bingo” square, such as being the only child, speaking another language or playing a musical instrument.
Not even five minutes into the game and Sarah Rodriguez from Archbishop Molloy H.S. shouts “Bingo!” across the auditorium. Two other students, one from Molloy and another from The Parmentier at St. Joseph H.S., Downtown Brooklyn, also join Rodriguez as winners of the “Bingo” challenge.
Afterwards, Tablet reporter Matthew O’Connor and Jorge Dominguez, Nuestra Voz editor-in-chief, shared tips with the students that included their wisdom and experience when it comes to reaching out to sources.
Devotion to Facts
Before the awards presentation, the students heard from author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Paul Moses, who was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
Moses began his journalism career writing for his Brooklyn Catholic high school newspaper, Excalibur at Nazareth Regional H.S., Flatbush.
During his presentation, he shared newsroom insights working for Newsday, where he served as religion reporter, City Hall bureau chief, Brooklyn editor and city editor.
After sharing advice and practical tips, the floor was opened to a press conference style ‘Question and Answer’ session.
A question about the “assault on journalists” was asked by a student from The Current at Cathedral Prep. Moses replied with his description of a
journalist’s ultimate role: holding the government accountable along with upholding the freedom of the press.
He shared that the integrity of a true journalist lies in the capability to maintain a devotion to facts – such a devotion would outweigh the capacity to be labeled “fake news.”
After the presentation of awards, the student journalists had the opportunity to network, read the winning entries and compare notes during a luncheon.
For St. Agnes Academic H.S. senior Briana Stephenson, she will take the lessons she learned serving at Veritas with her as she pursues her undergraduate studies at Molloy College, Rockville Centre. She and co-editor Montana Aquino have been staff writers since their freshman year.
“We knew we wanted to become editors one day and we knew that we wanted to change the paper up,” said Stephenson.
“We wanted to bring more news in and more student opinions, things that people would really want to read. So being recognized for being able to bring joy to our school is really amazing.”
And the Winner’s are…
Best Front Page
- The Stanner, Archbishop Molloy
- 2.The Parmentier, St. Joseph H.S.
- Tie: Mariel, The Mary Louis Academy and The Sentinel, Msgr. McClancy
Best News Story
- “Student Activism On The Rise” by Sarah Rodriguez and Diana Diaz, The Stanner, Archbishop Molloy
- “Blood Drive 2018” by Marie Fernandez, The Sentinel, Msgr. McClancy
- “Monster Maria” by Emma Sasso, Mariel, The Mary Louis Academy
Best Feature Story
- “W.O.W. The Four Women of Work” The Parmentier, St. Joseph H.S.
- “Lady Crusaders B-ball Charity Walk” by Ashley Petrasovic, The Sentinel
- “Could There Be Mandarin At Molloy?” by Juliana Giacone, The Stanner
- “Is This The End of Education As We Know It? Why We Need Net Neutrality” by Daniella Rodriguez, Skyline, Saint Saviour H.S.
- “SAT= Success? Are Standarized Tests Accurate Indicators of College Success” by Daniella Rodriguez, Skyline
- “New and Old Eyes on Dating” by Montana Aquino, Veritas, St. Agnes Academic H.S.
- “Enough is Enough” by Lauren Klein, The Stanner, Archbishop Molloy
- “Response: President Trump and the State of the Union” by Joseph Foley, The Current, Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary
- “Fire and Fury: Armed Teachers?” by Sebastian Germosen, The Stanner
- The Roger Payne Memorial Award for Best Column: “John’s Reel Reviews” by John Schilling, The Current, Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary
- “Taking the Lead,” Veritas, St. Agnes Academic H.S.
- “Senior Spotlight” The Stanner, Archbishop Molloy H.S.
Best Sports Story
- “Miracle on 31st Avenue” by Megan Heerey, The Sentinel, Msgr. McClancy Memorial H.S.
- “Stanner in the Hunt” by Peter Paolo, The Stanner, Archbishop Molloy
- “Running to the Finish Line” by Melanie Tazzi, The Sentinel, Msgr. McClancy Memorial H.S.
Best Personality Profile
- “Teacher Spotlight: Dr. Maria Wenglinsky – Teacher, Scholar, Hero” by Daniella Rodriguez and Isabella Wagner, Skyline, Saint Saviour H.S.
- Tie: “Teacher’s Spotlight: Mr. Kilkelly & Ms Pizzo!” by Linet Jacome, Sarah Rodriguez and Stephanie Nath, The Stanner, Archbishop Molloy H.S. and “Superstar Senior” by Hannah Pierre-Louis, The Parmentier, St. Joseph H.S.
- “From St. Agnes Alumna to Baking Star: An Interview with Elyse Fonseca” by Arianna Alfano, Veritas, St. Agnes Academic H.S.
- “Faculty Takes The Win” by Guitry Germain, The Stanner, Archbishop Molloy
- “Company Ready at Open House” Mariel, The Mary Louis Academy
- “Summer of Service” Veritas, St. Agnes Academic H.S.
Best Multi-Photo Display
- “Sock Hop With Your Pop” by Jillian Beauchamp and Sara Gomez, Mariel, The Mary Louis Academy
- “Juniors’ Jaunt in Boston” by Nina Kropf and Zariya Johnson, Mariel, The Mary Louis Academy
- “Winter Wonderland” The Royal Times, Christ the King H.S.
Best Editorial Cartoon
- “Newton’s 4th Law” The Sentinel, Msgr. McClancy Memorial H.S.
- “Through the Years” Skyline, Saint Saviour H.S.
- “State of the Union” The Current, Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary
- The Stanner
- The Current