Six students receive 2017 Distinguished Journalist Award

August 2017 … Healthy NewsWorks is pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Journalist Award, given each year to eighth grade reporters who have been leaders on their school newspapers, have participated in the Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities book project, and have gone above and beyond in their participation in the Healthy NewsWorks program.

The 2017 recipients are Julian Davis-Smith and Myles Jones from AMY Northwest, Solomon Abel from St. Martin de Porres Catholic School, and Dean Millard, Andrea Ritter, and Gabrielle Piccirilli from East Norriton Middle School.

Maria Dana, teacher at St. Martin de Porres and editor-in-chief of the Healthy Saint, praised Solomon’s commitment. “Solomon was a terrific asset to the Healthy Saint this year,” she said. “A highly gifted illustrator, he never declined a request—often at short notice—to create an illustration. His illustrations are bold and meticulously drawn, and he always captures the essence of a story’s theme. Moreover, he contributed to news stories in a meaningful way and probed further into other angles of a story without prompting.”

Julian and Myles both served on the AMY Northwest Healthy Bulldog for three years. PE teacher and newspaper editor-in-chief Joanne Kelly said she was honored to have worked with two of the finest and most dedicated reporters at the school. “They distinguished themselves by displaying the qualities of enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work. Both boys are organized, observant, punctual, and inquisitive. As they have grown, their critical thinking and active listening skills have sharpened.”

Ms. Kelly said she had asked Myles and Julian when they first felt “distinguished.” “Both said that they first felt distinguished when they interviewed Dorothy Johnson-Speight, the founder of Mothers In Charge, for Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2016. Dorothy’s personal story about her son’s life and eventual death was both tragic and inspirational.” Ms. Kelly said that both reporters felt important to be able to report on an average citizen who is now changing her community and the lives of countless mothers for the better.

Dean Millard, Andrea Ritter, and Gabrielle Piccirilli have all served on the staff of East Norriton Middle School’s Bulldog Bulletin. Teacher and editor-in-chief Victoria Strickland commended Dean’s confidence and strong leadership skills as an asset to the newspaper’s staff. “Dean is always composed and ready to tackle any story and is great at making interviewees feel at ease and ready to share information,” she said.

Ms. Strickland also spoke of Andrea’s abilities as an illustrator, who drew the cover illustration for Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2017. “She is such a talented illustrator and her visions are extraordinary. All she needs is a short description of a scene to turn around and sketch out something amazing.”

Gabrielle has a special gift with words, Ms. Strickland said. “Whether it is with conducting an interview or composing an article, her words weave such an intricate tapestry of whatever the topic. Gabrielle’s stories are always a great read.”


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