2015 Story of the Year


1. Madie Whalen
Following — and watching
Eye of the Tiger
Roseville HS, Roseville, California

2. Bryce Newberry
Bus trip assault chaos caught on video
The Apple Leaf
Wenatchee HS, Wenatchee, Washington

3. Annabel Thorpe
Students, Teacher Witness Collapse of Framework for New Indoor Athletic Complex
The Talon
Argyle HS, Argyle, Texas

4. Alli Baden, Joshua Lee
Flirting with disaster: A public look at a private life
The Booster Redux
Pittsburg HS, Pittsburg, Kansas

5. Joseph Kim, JoyAnne Ibay
New online state testing brings technical difficulties, turning three days into four weeks
The Lowell
Lowell HS, San Francisco, California

HM. Hailey Pecic
Sex ed debate goes viral
The Viking Longboat
Haslett HS, Haslett, Michigan

HM. Emma Censky, Abby Schilly
Homelessness in Rockwood: Rockwood students defy sterotypes of homelessness
Marquette Messenger
Marquette HS, Chesterfield, Missouri

HM. Faith Harron
Secondhand smoke: E-cigarettes and the proposed legislation
Century Star
Century HS, Bismarck, North Dakota


1. Chris Roussell, Josh Jean-Marie
No Home for Homework: Examining child homelessness within JCPS
The Crimson Record
duPont Manual HS, Louisville, Kentucky

2. Morgan Carothers, Alice Koltchev, Jonathan Kay, Ewan Whittaker-Walker, Gillian Weatherford
Trickle Down Tales
Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School, Santa Cruz, California

3. Sarah Asch
Curing our culture
The Tam News
Tamalpais HS, Mill Valley, California

4. Julia Poe
A New Rhythm
The Harbinger
Shawnee Mission East HS, Prairie Village, Kansas

5. Trisha Vasquez
The Fosters
El Camino Real
San Gabriel HS, San Gabriel, California

HM. Anna Nakai, Gabriela Rossner
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Exploring the dynamic between police and race
Palo Alto HS, Palo Alto, California

HM. Mariam Jiffar
Free minds: The healing brotherhood of a book club behind bards
Silver Chips
Montgomery Blair HS, Silver Spring, Maryland

HM. Colleen Grablick
One year later, mom not found
The Stinger
Emmaus HS, Emmaus, Pennsylvania

HM. Nyssa Kruse
Dark side of the rainbow
The Hawk
Hendrickson HS, Pflugerville, Texas

HM. Antonija Antunovic, Kennedy Huff
Kindness Matters
Panther Prowler
Pflugerville HS, Pflugerville, Texas


1. Sophie Tulp
In a heartbeat
The Harbinger
Shawnee Mission East HS, Prairie Village, Kansas

2. Nina Brillhart
For the love of the game
Lakota East HS, Liberty Township, Ohio

3. Nathaniel Bolter
Gay athletes still battle locker room culture
The Lion’s Roar
Newton South HS, Newton Centre, Massachussetts

4. Ned Weingart
Will Shaker ever let there be light?
The Shakerite
Shaker Heights HS, Shaker Heights, Ohio

5. Alex Nicoll
Athletes face pressure on, off the field
The Sidekick
Coppell HS, Coppell, Texas

HM. Becca Meyer, Dominic Balesteri-Fox
Running with Edward
The Little Hawk
Iowa City HS, Iowa City, Iowa

HM. Josh Lee, Miranda Moore
The weight of success
The Booster Redux
Pittsburg HS, Pittsburg, Kansas

HM. Andrew Kalmowitz
The other half
Pilot’s Log
Hasbrouck Heights HS, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey

HM. Kylie Ruffino
The most dangerous games
The Hawk
Hendrickson HS, Pflugerville, Texas

HM. Irvin Zhang
‘Old Man Pete’
Mountlake Terrace HS, Mountlake Terrace, Washington


1. Staff
District let down Lomond students
The Shakerite
Shaker Heights HS, Shaker Heights, Ohio

2. Staff
Why arguments against gun control are flawed
Mountlake Terrace HS, Mountlake Terrace, Washington

3. Joslyn Carrell, Haley Guardino, Seienna Papini, Carlie Reader
Royalty selection process full of flaws
Eye of the Tiger
Roseville HS, Roseville, California

4. Greta Rainbow
Teaching the arts
The Talisman
Ballard HS, Seattle, Washington

5. Breanna Cooper
Change can be good
Ben Davis HS, Indianapolis, Indiana

HM. Lucy Tantum
Parental drinking inadvertently influences teenagers
Redwood Bark
Redwood HS, Larkspur, California

HM. Ophir Cohen-Simayof, Danielle Flores
What’s right and wrong with the anonymous Facebook page ‘Lowell Confessions’
The Lowell
Lowell HS, San Francisco, California

HM. Staff
We the students
The Standard
American School in London, London, England

HM. Akash Borde
Securing our school with a student resource office
West Side Story
Iowa City West HS, Iowa City, Iowa

HM. Anne Rogers
School policies misleading
Black & White
Johnston HS, Johnston, Iowa


1. Staff
Blurred Lines
Lakota East HS, Liberty Township, Ohio

2. Isabel Ratner
More than a survivor
Comm. HS, Ann Arbor, Michigan

3. Raqshan Khan
I Belong
The Tam News
Tamalpais HS, Mill Valley, California

4. Joshlyn Thomas
Students needle little something more
Kingwood Park Times
Kingwood Park HS, Kingwood, Texas

5. Jaycie Sabala
Hargis brings home medals
Red and Black
Jefferson City HS, Jefferson City, Missouri

HM. Erin Woggon
Peering Past the Prejudice: Muslim students face discrimination in school
The Crimson Record
duPont Manual HS, Louisville, Kentucky

HM. Brenda Diazdelvalle
Escape: Central American Teens Flee Violence in Home Country
The Rampage
Rockville HS, Rockville, Maryland

HM. Irene Ryan
McCaskill proposes bi-partisan anti-rape bill
Webster Groves HS, Webster Groves, Missouri

HM. Laura Yuan
Figuring it out: Sophomore student keeps skating and academics in sync
The Glen Echo
Glen Rock HS, Glen Rock, New Jersey

HM. Dorrian Murphy, Desiree Castillo
‘Give the kindness people aren’t willing to give you’
Panther Prowler
Pflugerville HS, Pflugerville, Texas


News Story (First Place): This story offers an interesting look into a controversial subject – administrators monitoring students’ posts on social media. The story shows the reporter had a good grasp of the subject and the finished product displays some solid reporting. Great investigative story with a strong news angle. One note: Headline probably should not include the word indict since this infers that the story is about something else.

News Story (Second Place): A complex, controversial story that includes a great deal of shoe leather reporting and that shows some real initiative. This story would benefit greatly from some reorganization of the facts, but nevertheless, it deserves accolades because of the initiative shown by the reporter.

News Story (Third Place): Strong hard news story that includes eye witness accounts of a tragedy at Argyle High School. Artwork included with the story helps strengthen the presentation.

News Story (Fourth Place): Great story about a controversial topic involving many high school students. The story could be improved on two levels: One, the headline is vague. It is does not give a clear idea about the topic of the story. Second, reporting in the story seems to be based on composites. If this is the case, this should be made clear to the reader. The published story contained short, vignettes with an asterisk. Does this signify that the names were changed? If so, this should be noted in the published story.

News Story (Fifth Place): Good, solid job of reporting the challenges related to state online testing, an issue that affects both students and faculty.

Feature Story: Some common traits made the best stories stand out: Reporters who conduct interviews in person ALWAYS get a better story than over the phone or the Internet. I admired students who got a story even when sources declined to comment. It was great to hear voices not often heard in journalism: Young people in unconventional families; students who overcame bullying about sexual orientation; homeless students; young workers at dead-end jobs. Reporting conflict between teachers and administrators shows that some of these students will make great local muckrakers. Stories of students who overcame family tragedy revealed the human condition. Students exploring racial profiling and the criminal justice system are confidently stepping into the world outside high school. Speaking to both sides of a local minimum wage ordinance battle and looking at the economics of raising the minimum wage show these students have the big picture but are looking for local confirmation.

Sports Story (First Place): Sophisticated story covering social, legal and medical angles of a not uncommon medical problem affecting athletes. Pubs across the country ought to pick this up.

Sports Story (Second Place): Smart story on athletes who compete in more than one sport. Great sources, thoroughly and thoughtfully reported.

Sports Story (Third Place): Thoroughly reported package on homophobia in high school sports. Great quotes. Nice vignettes on a different side of the high school experience.

Sports Story (Fourth Place): Interesting look at the costs and benefits of playing HS games at night. Nice angle. Liked the use of a survey. Good graphics.

Sports Story (Fifth Place): It’s not easy being a HS athlete. Well-written look at the pressures on these athletes, including  learning to cope with attacks on the Internet.

Editorial/Opinion Story: There were a lot of tough competitors in this category. The winning entries are on topics of importance to the readers, explain the subject well, take firm stands, offer suggestions, and are well written.

Diversity Story: Of the entries, I believed that these were the best of the best. They were well-written, but I was drawn to these because they grabbed me right away. In addition to being interesting and newsworthy, I thought that these entries were engaging. A few were a bit lengthy, but I found myself reading all the way through because of the relevant content. Writing about €œDiversity€ can be tricky and can even come across as offensive if not written with a general sense of compassion. The stories above were told in a way such that I really wanted to get to know the subjects AND the authors. Thank you and good luck!