The Lane Warrior, a monthly newspaper for the students and community at Lane Tech High School, and broadcasting students at Lane were recognized this year with 18 awards by the Robert R McCormick Foundation of Chicago. Both activities are English Department extracurricular activities.
The awards and the student recipients:
- The Warrior- Superior Overall Newspaper (Full-sized)
- Lane Tech- Superior Overall Web Site
- Ben Palmer- Superior News Story
- Katarzyna Barnak – Superior General Feature Story
- Deema Karamen, Ofelia Pineda, Sandra Ramirez, Martha Plaza- Superior Broadcast Feature Story
- Sofi Kerpan- Superior Personality Profile
- Ben Palmer- Superior Editorial Column or Opinion
- Troy Daquioag, Jessica Ziolkowski- Superior Broadcast Sports Story
- Aleks Pauloure- Superior Sports News Story
- Johnny Stacewicz- Superior Sports Feature Story
- Bill Fenton- Superior Non-Sports Photo
- Charlie Kim- Excellent Original Editorial Cartoon
- Edwin Cho- Excellent Original Drawing or Comic
- Katarzyna Barnak – Excellent Computer Graphics
- Ben Palmer- Superior Humorous Article
- Airis Cervantes- Excellent Community Story
- Allison Pinscak- Superior Broadcast PSAs
- Ben Palmer- Editorial Write-off
“Year in and year out Lane sets a standard of journalistic excellence in Chicago,” Clark Bell, the Journalism Program Director of the McCormick Foundation said. “They have a gung-ho attitude and terrific teachers. They create a first-class newspaper.”
The foundation offered more than 24 awards to high schools for media efforts. Other area recipients include Taft High School, North Side College Prep, Steinmetz High School and St. Scholastica High School.
Palmer told The Bulldog he won the award for Superior News Story for his coverage of protests held by members of Westboro Church on campus in November 2010.
The story begins “3:30pm and the silence is deafening at the corner of Western and Addison. Among dozens of signs reading, “God hates Fags” and “God hates America,” the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, Shirley Phelps, clings to a young member of the flock.”
“I came up with the idea because the day of the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest outside my school, I received a text from a friend about them being there. That night I saw a Facebook “movement” for counter-protest, and I immediately knew there was a story to all of this. I researched the church and attended the counter protest the following afternoon. I found a very diverse group, in terms of grade-level, religion, ethnicity, and sexual preference. I wrote and rewrote the story multiple times to make sure that my opinion remained out of it, considering how easy it is to have an opinion on this radical church. The story gives basic background on the church, gives information about their protest (and their reasoning behind it), but primarily focuses on the students’ response, and the general feeling of love among the counter-protesters of Lane.”
Sofi Kerpan received the award for Personality Story, an obituary writen about Abraham Mendoza, a Lane Alum. “He graduated in 2009 and studied at Bard after high school. While on a retreat with his RA group last summer in upstate New York, he fell off a cliff and died.”
Kerpan says she was saddened by the story.
Mendoza harbored a love of expression. He found outlets for his voice and his sentiments in theater, photography, and writing. Those who knew him well can hardly speak of him without mentioning this talent.
“He loved art. Art finds beauty in everything, which is what he always did,” said Eric Campos, a close friend, Class of ’09. “His writing and acting, and his photography… that is where the beauty of everything really manifested itself.”
“He was such an exceptional student that embodied the ideal of the Lane Tech student,” Kerpan said about the obituary.
“The Lane kids are so tightly bound,” Bell said. “They have camaraderie and spirit.” Bell praised Lane for creating an organization that supports and encourages the students working for The Warrior.
Kerpan, a 2011 graduate, was listed by The Warrior as headed to Boston College. She told The Bulldog she would probably be concentrating on Communications with a focus on film.
“We’ve had several great stories published this year,” faculty adviser Seth Johnson said. “I don’t know that I could point to just one as being a highlight of the year.” Johnson said the school has won the top category in each of the last four years.
Johnson notes the paper is among the oldest high school papers in the country. In the typical year 20 students take part in the newspaper. Another 20-25 contribute stories. At one point, when the vocational classes were more important, the school printed the paper on its own presses, Johnson said.
The Warrior and the Morning Broadcast are part of extracurricular activities offered by Lane’s English Department. Other activities include the Tech Prep, an annual student literature and art magazine, the debate team and the Arrowhead, the yearbook.
Bell said concerns that traditional journalism jobs are decreasing in number are true, but thinks journalism provides a broader understanding of the world than many other disciplines. “The field of journalism helps students become better readers, writers and critical thinkers. They are better prepared in a global economy,” Bell told The Bulldog. “It is a degree that equips you to be versatile,” he said.
“There are opportunities in communications,” Bell said. He said in the near future the graduates from Lane would be using their journalism skills to communicate in ways we can not yet imagine.