Last Friday, 8 out of 10 students from our journalism class went to Cal Lutheran University (where I’m going to college!!!) to attend the TCJEA event which is a very competitive and large journalism competition. There were 15 schools at the event in total and we were the smallest school there hands down. Many other schools had around 20 or even 30 writers with them to compete in all different categories. It was intimidating, yes, but the experience was so awesome that it hardly mattered how small our group was.
We had writers enter almost every category available, including photography, sports writing, feature writing, news writing, and editorial writing. I was in the feature category, and we had such an interesting speaker named Cyrus Nowrasteh wrote and produced a many films including a mini-series titled “The Path to 9/11”. We listened to his story about the controversy over his series and the attempted sabotage of his career by people trying to cover up their mistakes. Then, we had about an hour to write an article on him and submit to be scored against all other works in that category.
Now, Mr. Alvarez is the best journalism teacher I could ever ask for. He has taught me so much – I was a terrible writer when I first stepped into his classroom. Regardless of his immense encouragement and preparation, I was still not confident that I could compete with others in programs much bigger and more well-known than our little “On The Hill” paper. But I was sure that we were a small but mighty force and had a great change of winning awards.
There were so many awards handed out. Each category had 1st through 3rd places and 2 honorable mentions. There were also awards for online newspapers, print newspapers, and overall best team called “sweepstakes”.
In the feature category, there were over 30 students that wrote an article for submission. My fellow feature writer Emmy Addison took a 2nd place in the feature category, and I received an honorable mention! I couldn’t believe it. I was recognized as a top 5 writer in my category. I was ecstatic. Another writer Jack Marcus also received 2nd place in the news writing category. Our online publication of the newspaper took 4th place overall, with is astounding considering it had only been officially up and running for less than a month. Overall in the competition, we placed 4th, receiving an honorable mention in the sweepstakes category.
It is just amazing to me how such a small group of students was able to go to that competition and practically dominate. We really proved to the other schools that even though we may not seem like much, we have an amazing, dedicated, and hardworking group of writers. I am so proud to be a part of this team, and the event was more amazing than I could have imagined. Congrats, journalism class!