Marist High School senior Solomon Davis was named 2016 Chicago Student Journalist of the Year by the McCormick Foundation and the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago (SPAC) at the foundation’s annual high school media awards luncheon at Roosevelt University on Thursday, March 10, 2016.
The foundation describes the award as a “most valuable player” award to honor the senior student who has done the most for his or her school publication each year. The McCormick Foundation provides SPAC with a $1000 scholarship for the winner.
Students, who are nominated by their journalism teacher and/or newspaper adviser, have completed work that has meant all the difference to the school’s paper as a copy editor, a photographer, a reporter or a writer.
The judges for the Student Journalist of the Year Scholarship are professional journalists and journalism educators, and consider the nomination form and writing samples from the nominee.
Davis is a two-year staff member of Marist’s newspaper The Sentinel, and credits his fellow staff for part of his success.
“It’s an amazing thing to have done journalism for so many years and to receive recognition for it,” he said. “But I couldn’t do it without [Sentinel adviser] Mr. [John] Gonczy, who has been a great mentor and supporter of everyone in the journalism class.”
In addition to his work at Marist, Davis has been a three-year member of Columbia Links, a news literacy, journalism skills and leadership program for Chicago teens and teachers, housed at Columbia College Chicago.
Davis has narrowed down his college search to three formidable Midwestern schools, and plans to major in journalism or digital interactive media.
“What’s important about journalism is that it allows us to take the stories of individuals and bring them to masses,” Davis said of what he enjoys about the industry. “Someone from one neighborhood can hear the story of someone form another part of country. And, it also offers the opportunity to bring the story of the disadvantaged to the spotlight.”
Davis, along with seniors Caroline Roeper, Kara Keating, Miranda Insley, and Taylor Allison, junior Faith Laughran, and sophomores Michelle Lenz and Marie Weber also received certificates of excellence in journalism at the event. The Sentinel also received certificates of excellence for overall newspaper and layout.
Marist will expand its journalism program during the 2016-2017 school year with the addition of broadcast video studio where students will learn all aspects of news and video production. The studio will be built during the summer.