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  • WSF Staff

Grant Highlight: West High Journalism

With funding from a Waterloo Schools Foundation grant, a group of West High journalism students, accompanied by their teacher, got the opportunity to attend the Journalism Education Association National High School Convention in Kansas City. This convention takes place biannually and is the largest gathering of high school journalists, advisers, and journalism teachers across the country. Individuals can participate in hundreds of instructional breakout sessions, hear keynote speakers from nationally recognized newsmakers, and interact with dozens of media critiques. 

Nicole Goodman, the journalism instructor at West High, felt as if this was something her students, who have worked tirelessly over the years to revive the program, must take part in. Earlier this year, West High senior Ali Parkhurst was named Iowa High School Journalist of the Year for her work with the Wahawk Insider.

“As I go on to college to study journalism, the networking opportunity during the trip has allowed me to get to know other journalists around the country,” said Ali. “I also learned many skills that I can apply to my work in college and my career. I learned a lot of tips and tricks that I can pass down to next year's yearbook editor-in-chief!”

As Ali said, this conference allows students to learn many different skills and lessons that can be used inside and outside of the classroom. Our Wahawks walked away with new photography skills, a deeper knowledge of designing grids, theme development, and how to effectively lead within the journalism field. This event not only benefited the publications program at West but also shaped these students for their future careers and pathways after high school. 

As the Wahawk Insider team has spent countless hours rebuilding the yearbook program at West and restarting their student-run newspaper, the ultimate goal of this experience was to recognize students who have gone above and beyond and set the standard for future high school journalists. The Waterloo Schools Foundation saw the passion, persistence, and talent of this group, and couldn’t help but support the traction of the Wahawk Insider. Although this was a spring convention, our Waterloo West students were eager to return and apply all they had learned to their journalism outlets before the school year draws to a close. 

“I am truly grateful for being allowed to go on this trip,” said Lucy Prescott, the current Wahawk Insider Print Co-Editor-In-Chief. “I will forever hold onto the skills and memories that came from this convention. This experience was very eye-opening and only made me more excited about what I have planned for the future. I am very proud and forever grateful for being a Waterloo student because of opportunities like this!”

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