Toronto Star honours top high school journalists
Photo of high school newspaper award winners by Star photographer Keith Beaty.
By Brendan Kennedy
Paniz Moayeri was grounded for writing about Iran’s tumultuous elections and a family member’s attempts to subvert government oppression.
The Toronto Star, however, gave her the highest award for a high school journalist.
“It feels incredible,” said Moayeri, 18, editor-in-chief of North Toronto Collegiate Institute’s Graffiti newspaper. “I’m happy that people realize how important it is to get your voice out."Ontario’s top high school journalists were honoured Thursday at the Toronto Star’s 15th annual High School Newspaper Awards, held at the Vaughan Press Centre.
Moayeri, whose newspaper took home the most prizes, was individually acknowledged with the Brad Henderson Award, given to a student who shows “outstanding journalistic potential and strength of character.
A former Star photographer and editor, Henderson founded the high school newspaper awards in 1995. He died of cancer in 2008.
Star reporters, editors, photographers, designers and illustrators judged more than 750 entries, in 22 different categories, from dozens of high schools across Ontario.
Moayeri’s co-editor, Alex McRobert, 18, Graffiti’s staff set high goals this year, but they never imagined winning so many awards. “It’s a great team feeling.”
The day included speeches by Ottawa Bureau reporter Joanna Smith — one of the first journalists to travel to Haiti in the aftermath of January’s earthquake — and op-ed columnist and community relations director Bob HepburnHepburn lauded the students for telling their schools’ stories from a critical perspective.
“Keep on doing that investigative work,” he said. “That’s the stuff that counts.”
Diana Vecchiarelli, editor-in-chief of The Mary Ward Planet — which took home the second most awards — said she was proud that “the Star acknowledged the contributions we made to our school.”
Vecchiarelli, 17, who worked for The Planet throughout high school and is getting ready to graduate, said her favourite part about working for the paper was holding a fresh issue after months of hard work.
“It’s great just to see the expression on students’ faces when they’re reading it and showing it to their friends."
Brendan Kennedy is a one-year reporting intern at the Star.