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Past Winners

2017

News Story

First Place

Keven Ariel Munoz

The Crusader

Archbishop Riordan High School

San Francisco, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton

"Food Debris in Hallways, Classrooms Prompts Eating Ban in Building"

 

In this clear, well-sourced story, Munoz skillfully covers a topic that affects all students at his high school — where they can eat.

 

Judge’s Comment: "Munoz's article is engaging and well-executed, and features an abundance of memorable quotations and humorous descriptions."

            — Jimmy Flynn, '18, current Editor-in-Chief of The Santa Clara newspaper.

 

Finalist

Jennifer Cheung
The Matador

San Gabriel High School

San Gabriel, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Jennifer Kim

"April Lockdown: A Look Across Campus"

 

Finalist

Emily Mottern

The Aardvark Dig

Oregon Episcopal School

Portland, Oregon

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Lindsey Zanchettin

Therapy Behind Bars

 

Finalist

Sara Barkouli

The Aardvark Dig

Oregon Episcopal School

Portland, Oregon

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Lindsey Zanchettin

What Makes an American: Islamophobia in the Greater Portland Area

 

Feature Story

First Place

Isabel Mitchell

Scotlight

Carlmont High School

Belmont, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Just Raisner

“‘Great ‘Sex’pectations: The Effects the Media Has on Your First Time

 

Mitchell explores the myths and reality of teenage sexuality in a comprehensive story that draws on candid interviews, academic studies, and medical research.

 

Judge’s Comment: “Isabel does a great job taking a sensitive subject like sex, and making it accessible through a mix of personal stories and scientific studies. Sex can be difficult to talk about, especially in high school, but Isabel's story shows why it's an important subject to address outside of popular culture."

            — Kurt Wagner, '12, former editor of The Santa Clara and current business and technology journalist with Recode.

 

First Place

Anna Levine

The Express

Blue Valley Northwest High School

Overland Park, Kansas

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Jim McCrossen

"Breaking Down Barriers"

 

Levine captures the topic of gender identity with breath and depth with compelling quotes that enable students to tell their own unique stories.

 

Judge’s comment: “Anna Levine’s well-reported story nicely weaves his subjects’ personal stories with important context from school experts. I love that she takes you inside one of the student’s homes by talking to a parent, too.”

            — Jeremy Herb, '08, former editor of The Santa Clara and current CNN national security reporter covering Congress and the Russia investigations.

 

First Place

Ilena Peng

El Estoque

Monta Vista High School

Cupertino, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Julia Satterthwaite

Taking the High Road

 

Peng presents a compelling, in-depth profile of a former student and her struggles with drug addiction.

 

Judge’s Comment: “Ilena's story addresses a difficult topic, student drug use, intimately and sensitively, balancing her subject's rich personal narrative with context from experts and other sources.”

            — Joe Tone, '01, former editor of The Santa Clara, and current freelance journalist and author of Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream.

 

Finalist

Michael Jaurigui

The Crusader

Archbishop Riordan High School

San Francisco, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton

"The Mission: A Cultural Enclave Forever Changed"

 

Sports Story

First Place

Om Khandekar

El Estoque

Monta Vista High School

Cupertino, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Julia Satterthwaite

Keep Tahoe True

 

Khandekar chronicles the changes in the skiing and snowboarding scene in Lake Tahoe as large corporations buy up more resorts.

 

Judge’s Comment: “Khandekar's rich, well-reported story dives into how a Bay Area holiday staple is transforming into a high-priced luxury jaunt. Khandekar nails down hard facts on the prohibitive costs while elevating the story with color and quotes from locals — all packaged into a smart, attractive layout.”

            — Jack Gillum, '06, former editor of The Santa Clara and current reporter on the investigative team of The Washington Post.

 

Finalist

Jacob Taylor

The Crusader

Archbishop Riordan High School

San Francisco, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton

"Move to Remove Native American Mascots Advances"

 

Finalist

Lucas Schwartz

The Aardvark Dig

Oregon Episcopal School

Portland, Oregon

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Kara Tambellini

Hell on Wheels: Portland's Rose City Rollers


2016

News Story

First Place

Amairani Roman

Pony Express

San Marin High School

Novato, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod

“Freshmen Break Closed-campus Lunch Rule”

Roman reports on student dissatisfaction with cafeteria food and the practice of leaving school for lunch in this well-sourced investigation of how rules are enforced — or not — on campus.

Finalist

Andrea Schlitt

El Estoque

Monta Vista High School

Cupertino, California
Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Michelle Balmeo

"After the War: Cupertino Veterans Share Stories of Return and Adjustment"

Finalist

Elise Kuechle

The Aardvark Dig

Oregon Episcopal School

Portland, Oregon

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Sarah Grenert-Funk

“A Second Simplicity: Death with Dignity in Oregon”

 

Sports Story

First Place

John Vavuris

Pony Express

San Marin High School

Novato, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod

“Run, Williams, Run: The Story Behind the Strides”

Vavuris explores the role running plays in the life of teacher Adam Williams in this in-depth, well-written profile.

 

Feature Story

First Place

Choha Kim

The Wildcat

Brea Olinda High School

Brea, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Alexander Koers

“Culture Shock to the Max”

With a compelling and highly personalized style, Kim chronicles her year in the United States after moving from Suwon, South Korea, describing the rewards and challenges she and other ESL students faced.

Finalist

Collin Moore

Pony Express

San Marin High School

Novato, California

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod

“Minorities Speak Out on Racial Acceptance and Diversity”

Finalist

Julia Witteman

The Aardvark Dig

Oregon Episcopal School

Portland, Oregon

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Kara Tambellini

“Hot Rods: A Cultural Phenomenon”


2015

News Story

First Place

Naomi Zhao

Oregon Episcopal School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Rick Rees

“Genetic Engineering: Creating babies with three parents”

Writing for The Aardvark Dig at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, Zhao examines the use of genetics to prevent birth defects, as well as the ethical implications of DNA research and funding.

Second Place

Vikul Gupta

Oregon Episcopal School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Rick Rees

“Evaluating the Aid-Givers: How a Portland lab and its commercial counterpart are revolutionizing third-world aid”

Gupta presents an in-depth portrait of how non-profits and commercial enterprises are partnering in the developing world.

Honorable Mention

Collin Moore

San Marin High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod
"Leadership Strives for Lights”

Moore examines the efforts of the student government at San Marin High School to secure lighting for a campus sports facility.

 

Feature Story

First Place
Calla Slayton

Oregon Episcopal School
Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Robin Schauffler
"The Dividing Line"

Slayton movingly captures the reality of mental illness with a compelling profile of an art gallery where artists and their work are showcased in a positive light.

Second Place

Isabella Waldron

Oregon Episcopal School
Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Rick Rees
"A Case Study of a Contemporary Singer-Songwriter"

Waldron’s profile captures the life of a singer-songwriter, but also provides a primer on musical styles and creativity.

Honorable Mention

Kate Pippenger

Oregon Episcopal School
Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Robin Schauffler
"Becoming Gods"

Pippenger’s portrayal of Portland Taiko is a history of the Japanese drum and a portrait of a group of musicians dedicated to their craft.

 

Sports Story

First Place

Nick Corbani

San Marin High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod
“NFL Taking a Hit for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse”

Corbani reflects on the behavior of professional athletes and the NFL’s response to domestic violence in the San Marin Pony Express.

Second Place

Skyler Goldstein

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

"A Return to Glory"

Goldstein breaks down the decline of soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona and offers a prescription for improvement.


2014

News Story

First Place

Sabrina T. Leung

Carlmont High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Justin Raisner
"Flushing Out the Gender Separation" 

Writing for the Scot Scoop News at Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, Leung covers the challenges transgender students face when using public restrooms. She provides in-depth reporting on the emotional aspects of the issue, as well as insight into the inconsistent legal patchwork of city, county, and state laws in place

Second Place

Ben Rosenbaum

San Marin High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod

“Traditions Altered for Gender Equality”


Honorable Mention

Arianna Bayangos

Carlmont High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Justin Raisner
"Bullying on Social Media"

 

Feature Story

First Place
Lillian Massaro
Oregon Episcopal School
Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Robin Schauffler
"Just Say Hello"

Massaro captures life at a homeless encampment with a long-form approach that is sympathetic, clear-eyed, and meticulously researched. The story was published in The Aardvark Dig at the Oregon Episcopal School in Portland.

Second Place

Teo Calvario

Jefferson High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton

“Fans Bid Final Farewell to Candlestick Park”

Honorable Mention

Olivia Lamont

San Marin High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod
"I Need to be Buff"

  

Sports Story

First Place

Elia Chen

Monta Vista High School
Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Michelle Balmeo

"Four-foot-two MVHS Alumnus Ran Boston Marathon"

Chen profiles Danh Trang, a runner with far more ambitious goals than just finishing the Boston Marathon. The result is a compelling portrait of an athlete, a race, and a dream that appeared in El Estoque at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California.

Second Place

Elaine Luong

Capistrano Valley High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Tara Razi

"Divers Commit to Top Colleges"


2013

News Story

First Place

Vijay Edupuganti

Oregon Episcopal School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Kara Tambellini

"The Few. The Proud. The Pained."

Edupuganti, writing for Blowfish, an online student publication, explores the mental health challenges faced by war veterans and profiles the healthcare workers trying to provide care and outreach in this compelling story.

Second Place (Tie)

Laura Darken

San Marin High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod

“Teaching to the Test”

Second Place (Tie)

Julia Raven

San Marin High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod

“Bridging the Academic Gap”

 

Feature Story

First Place

Natalie Lerner

Oregon Episcopal School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Alana Kaholokula

"Sex in the City Schools"

Lerner describes the evolution of sex education in Portland schools in a heavily reported and well-written story that appeared in Blowfish.

Second Place (Tie)

Anna Hardcastle

North Shore Hebrew Academy High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: April Zabinksy

“R.I.P. Amanda Todd”

Second Place (Tie)

Chloe Cheng

San Marin High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Scott MacLeod

“Things to Know Before You Go: College Myths Exposed”

Second Place (Tie)

Lauren Gabrio

Oregon Episcopal School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Robin Schauffler

"A Room for Mercy"

 

Sports Story

First Place

John Truong

San Gabriel High School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Jennifer Kim

"Team Rituals and Cheers Increase Overall Confidence"

Writing in The Matador, Truong describes pre-game sports rituals with great detail and insight.


2012

News Story

First Place

Miranda Roethler

Oregon Episcopal School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Kara Tambellini

"Shelving Books"

Roethler, writing for Blowfish, an online student publication, examined the fate of independent bookstores and the printed word in the age of digital publishing. Judge Jeremy Herb, a reporter for The Hill, commented: "The author is clearly a talented writer and has a style that's both sophisticated and easy to read."

Feature Story

First Place

Camille Gacoscos

Jefferson High School

Daly City, CA

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton Callahan

"Holocaust Survivor Shares Painful Past"

In Tom-Tom, the Jefferson High student newspaper, Gacoscos movingly detailed the life of George J. Elbaum and his struggle for survival during World War II. Judge Mick Normington called it a "compelling story that captured a compelling life."

 

Sports Story

First Place

Sam LeFeber

Oregon Episcopal School

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Kara Tambellini

"Real Racing, Real Tracks, Real Drivers, Real Cheap Cars"

LeFeber describes the world of amateur auto racing in a fast-paced story that appeared in Blowfish. Judge Max Garrone praised the story's "incredible and compelling" use of quotes, and the author's ability to capture the racing scene.


2011

News Story

First Place

Maru Arellano

Jefferson High School

Daly City, CA

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton Callahan

"Citizenship dreams dissipate with end of DREAM Act"

Arellano, writing for the Tom-Tom student newspaper, chronicled the failure of an immigration reform bill to pass the Senate. Judge Jeremy Herb, a Washington correspondent for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, wrote: "Very nice reporting that explains and localizes a national issue."

Feature Story

First Place

Jamie Brown

Jefferson High School

Daly City, CA

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton Callahan

"Ocular enthusiasts go gaga over new contacts"

Brown explored the latest Lady Gaga-inspired fashion trend for theTom-Tom student newspaper. Judge Katie Powers, a freelance journalist, praised Brown's "strong voice" in a story that was "engaging, crisp and fun to read."

Honorable Mention

Olivia Ly

KIPP San Jose Collegiate

San Jose, CA

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Keely Sweeny Gabbert

"Samantha Alberto on Call of Duty"

 

Sports Story

First Place

Clarence Ramirez

Jefferson High School

Daly City, CA

Journalism Teacher/Adviser: Susan Sutton Callahan

"Softball season strikes out"

Ramirez reveals the real reason there will be no softball played at Jefferson High this year. Judge Max Garrone, an online media consultant, wrote: "Excellent quotes reflect your strong reporting in this story."


2010

News Story

First Place

Andrew Sulayao

San Lorenzo High School

"Budget Cuts Affecting SLZUSD for 2010-2010"

Sulayao, editor-in-chief of the Rebel Record student newspaper, chronicled how budget cuts would affect San Lorenzo schools. Judge Will Harper, managing editor of SF Weekly, commented: "Budget stories are difficult because they can be boring and confusing. But this was clear and it captured the conflict over what would be cut."

 

Feature Story

First Place

Naomi Cohen

Mountain View High School

"Speaking Habits Based on Surrounding Culture"

Cohen explored the enduring popularity of the "Valley Girl" lingo and its cultural implications. Judge Chris Colin, a freelance journalist who has written for The New York TimesMother Jones, and Smithsonian commented: "I love that Cohen takes a strong opinion right from the start, and doesn't dilute it with equivocal language; when she finds something disturbing, she says so. What's more, she doesn't just coast on her own impressions. She seems driven by a genuine curiosity."

Sports Story

First Place

Janel Johnson

Jefferson High School

"Going, Going, Gone! Budget Cuts May Strike Out Baseball Team

Johnson detailed how budget shortfalls endangered the school baseball team. Judge Jeremy Herb, who is a reporter for theMinneapolis Star-Tribune, commented: "Clear, concise writing style that's easy to follow. Nice story!"


2009

News

First Place

Katie Garcia

“New Program Pays Graffiti Snitches”

Jefferson High School

Daly City, California

Honorable Mention

Michael Remedios

“A Powertrip”

Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory

San Francisco, California

 

Feature Story

First Place

Ali Solon

“A Cinderella Story”

St. Margaret’s Episcopal School

San Juan Capistrano, California

Honorable Mention

Katrina Ramos

“Isn’t It Bromantic?”

Jefferson High School

Daly City, California

 

Sports Story

First Place

Sandra Bernal

“Players Limp Off Field, Hang Up Cleats”

Jefferson High School

Daly City, California

Honorable Mention

Carlos Orellana

“Trading Pompoms for Football Pads”

Jefferson High School

Daly City, California