Healthy NewsWorks honors its 2021 Distinguished Journalists

The cover of our 2021 book was drawn by award recipient Maribel.

June 2021 … Healthy NewsWorks is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of its Distinguished Journalist Award, given each year to eighth grade reporters who have been leaders on their school newspapers, have participated in our Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities book project, and have gone above and beyond in their participation in the Healthy NewsWorks program.

The 2021 recipients are Maribel Quino from AMY Northwest Middle School; Alexandra Carpenter from East Norriton Middle School; Siani Wright, Aritra Kundu, Mya Tyler, and Haalah Amar from Laura Waring Elementary School; and Nashiya Morant, Desmond McCann-Roberts, Joshua Harris, and Jehiel Ferrell from The DePaul Catholic School.

In addition to her writing and reporting, Maribel drew the cover art for our 2021 book, Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2021: Doing the Undoable in a Pandemic. “During this unprecedented, trying year, Maribel has gone above and beyond in all aspects of her life — in academics, in her personal and family responsibilities, and with her dedication to the Healthy NewsWorks program,” said Stephanie McKenna, an English Language Arts teacher at AMY Northwest. “Mature beyond her years, she kept a constant positive mindset, and spread that message of support to all. We are so proud of her here at AMY, and are excited for her next chapter!”

The realities of the pandemic meant that students had opportunities that went beyond a printed newspaper.

“Alexandra is an incredibly creative and dedicated student who has produced engaging and in-depth stories and videos for Healthy NewsWorks,” said Victoria Strickland, a teacher at East Norriton Middle School. “Her attention to detail and her ability to look at story topics from different perspectives give her writing a unique edge.” 

The four students from Waring have made significant contributions to the Waring Healthy Times over the past two years. This year, they interviewed Dr. Howard Stevenson, a University of Pennsylvania professor and a national expert on how racial stress and racial trauma can affect every stage of life. The reporters asked great questions and handled the interview so well that Dr. Stevenson wrote afterward: “They were delightful, and I could spend another hour talking to them. The light in their eyes was worth every minute of it.” 

The honored students from The DePaul Catholic School helped launch their school paper, DePaul Healthy Trailblazer Journal, during a pandemic, and published two issues in the spring. Additionally, Nashiya, Desmond, and Joshua had the opportunity to interview Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, asking him questions about his role as Merck’s CEO; his views on business and politics; his upbringing in North Philadelphia; voting rights; and Merck’s pandemic response. 


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