Clarion Staff Collect Multiple Awards at Annual Journalism Event

By Adrianna Iorio, Clarion Staff

The Clarion staff and advisors gathered for a group photo as the 7th Annual Journalism Awards Dinner ended. Pictured (L to R) First row – Sarif Morningstar, Saeri Plagmann, Chris Wong; Second row – Karissa Jones, Jianna Beasley; Back row – Mr. Hanzlik, Dominic Larsen, Brandan Wong, Joe Temblador, Makayla Smith, Mrs. Hanzlik

On May 9th, nine members of the Clarion staff attended the 7th Annual Journalism Awards Dinner hosted by the Sacramento High School Journalism Network at (SCOE) Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center. At the event, John F. Kennedy students received a total of ten individual awards, two more than last year and more than any other high school. The Sacramento High School Journalism Network recognizes excellence in journalism among 11 high schools in the area and also publishes The Sac County Breeze, a quarterly compendium of students’ submissions.

The night began with a speech from Sharon Ito, a writing coach for The Sac County Breeze, who discussed the importance of journalism. Ito, who currently works at Sacramento State University’s College of Continuing Education following 30 years as a broadcast journalist, spoke of the importance of journalism as skill that can be used in many other professions.

Honored guests David W. Gordon, SCOE Superintendent of schools, and Matt Perry, Assistant Superintendent, gave impassioned and informative speeches regarding the journalism industry and need to continue to support journalism education.

The night’s keynote speaker, Regina Wilson, Executive Director of California Black Media, and the daughter of two successful journalists shared her career path in journalism with the assembled group.

As tradition continues, the dinner for the night was presented by the Culinary Cafe located at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr High School. It consisted of Hispanic dishes such as fajitas and yellow rice, with desert being chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.

The top award of the evening, Journalist of The Year, was presented by the McClatchy Company Regional Editor, Lauren Gustus, to Camryn Dadey, a senior at Laguna Creek High School.

The top Clarion award-winners, chief editor Chris Wong, and features editor Saeri Plagmann shared special recognition for their service as student editors of The Sac County Breeze.

At the event, Clarion students placed in all but one category. Christopher Wong, The Clarion’s chief editor, won two individual awards for best feature “SCUSD Board Member Mai Vang Comes to Kennedy” as well as best column and personal opinion writing for “Observations on the Evacuation“. Saeri Plagmann, Clarion features editor, earned two awards for her best feature “Link Crew Brings Students Back Together at JFK” and best sports writing “Kennedy Soccer Struggles With Upheaval From Coach Scandal.” Wong and Plagmann together received recognition at the event for their outstanding service as student editors for the Sac County Breeze.

Other Clarion Editors, Dominic J Larsen, and Sarif Morningstar received recognition for their hard work and dedication to journalism.  Morningstar, Clarion photo editor, collected two awards for his photography his winter concert and senior sunrise photos. Larsen placed for best news writing, “Sex, Lies & Uber.” Other Clarion staff winners included Jianna Beasley for her best graphic design “Meme Timeline,” Brandon Wong for his best edit art/cartoon “K-House, Planet Earth”, and Makayla Smith for her photography for Dominic’s winning article.

In the span of just three years, The Clarion has risen from a club of minimal status in the back of an art room to an award winning journalism class committed to printing four issues a year and managing an active and well-populated website. In that time, students from all backgrounds have collaborated, bringing together their artistic talents, and created a media program to be proud of. The Clarion looks forward to the years to come, may they be filled with chances to best their rival C.K. McClatchy, expand the paper, but most importantly present the stories that need to be brought to the front.

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