Glen A. Wilson High School’s (GAWHS) Paw Prints Weekly (PPW) competed and placed at the Southern California Journalism Education Association’s (SCJEA) Media Contest hosted at Maywood Center for Enriched Studies (MACES) on Mar. 12.
A total of 21 schools and nearly 200 students competed at SCJEA. For GAWHS, Renee Wang (12), Rani Chor (12), Charlie Snyder (11), Axel Mondaca (11), Amber Lau (11), Angela Xu (11), Gary Lee (11), Lauren Villacorte (11), Halo Kwok (10), Allen Feng (10) and Rachel Wong (9) all represented PPW at the competition. There, a number of categories awaited them, including Editorial, Sports, Critical Review and News Layout and more, for which they received several awards.
Snyder placed 5th in Sports; Kwok was awarded 7th in Editorial; Xu a 5th in Sports Photography; Lau a 7th in News Photography; Villacorte, Wong and Feng each an Honorable Mention in Novice News; and Chor won the Carol Hallenbeck Scholarship Award, one of the few scholarships SCJEA offers to promising journalists.
Axel Mondaca is one of them. He delves into what he enjoyed most about the competition.
“I think my favorite part of the competition was for sure the comradery with our team after the writing part ended. I really enjoyed my lunch with Charlie and us cheering our SCJEA Bowl teammates!” Mondaca said.
Mondaca also reflects on his performance at SCJEA and details his plans for future competitions.
“I plan to definitely work on my writing techniques—this year was a very eye-opening experience. The tiniest details matter in this competition; I got very positive marks but did not even place in the top 10, showing the great crop of students competing,” said Mondaca. “Competing at SCJEA was a very exciting opportunity; I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to compete at the event. I hope next year I can go back and make a bigger impact!”
Amber Lau, another GAWHS contestant at SCJEA, placed 7th in News Photography. She recounts the experience.
“I had pre-submitted work, as I competed in photography, so I was listening to a speaker instead [of actively competing],” Lau said. “It was very educational, as the speaker was very knowledgeable about photography, and gave some good tips I will be sure to follow.”
But SCJEA examined more than just students’ writing and photography skills. They also tested their journalism knowledge by hosting the J-Bowl, a small, fun trivia game. Allen Feng, along with Lee, Villacorte and Wong, were the students who played for PPW. Feng reflects on the experience.
“I was feeling a little nervous before the competition because it was my first time there, and pressured since I wanted to get a good placement or reward to show to my parents,” Feng said. “But the quiz bowl was fun, with Gary coming up with random names when we did not know the answer. Still, I also thought it was a little dumb since many of the questions were based on events from a long time ago, not really ‘current’ events.”
Rachel Wong was another one of the students who competed in the J-Bowl. She had also performed well in her category at SCJEA. She gives some advice for fellow writers.
“I plan to prepare better and to listen to the feedback the judges gave me. I will use that feedback in order to write a better article during competitions next year,” said Wong. “But it is also important to just have fun with what you are writing. It is still important to stay focused and complete articles by the deadline, but it is also good to treat it as a fun opportunity, so it can be more enjoyable.”