High school scholarships

The Northern Illinois Newspaper Association honored three outstanding student journalists in spring in the association’s 18th annual Northern Illinois High School Journalist of the Year scholarship competition.

The scholarship competition is open to all graduating high schools seniors in northern Illinois and recognizes outstanding achievement by high school students in the field of print and/or online journalism.

NINA awarded a total of $1,800 in scholarships

John Etheredge, NINA scholarship coordinator, said he and other scholarship judges look forward to receiving the students’ scholarship applications and portfolios each spring.

As in prior years, Etheredge said NINA judges had a difficult time selecting this year’s winners.

“It’s always inspiring to see the passion and commitment that these students have for their student newspapers, news magazines and websites,” he said. “Like good professional journalists, these students are already using their talents to seek the truth and better inform their readers.

“As an organization, NINA is proud to be able to help these students further their journalism education at the college level,” he said, adding, “We look forward to seeing these students in our newsrooms in the future.”

Etheredge said he appreciates the NINA Board’s continued financial support for the scholarship program.

NINA has received over 550 scholarship applications and awarded more than $26,000 in scholarships over the past 18 years.

Revenues for the scholarship program come from NINA member dues and proceeds from NINA training seminars and programs.

Prospector Managing Editor Aungelina Dahm, NINA's 2015 first-place scholarship winner, poses with Jason Block, faculty adviser to The Prospector, and the staff of Prospect High School’s award-winning student newspaper.
Prospector Managing Editor Aungelina Dahm, NINA’s 2015 first-place scholarship winner, poses with Jason Block, faculty adviser to The Prospector, and the staff of Prospect High School’s award-winning student newspaper.
First Place
Aungelina Dahm
Prospect High School
Scholarship: $1,000

NINA judges selected Aungelina Dahm as the association’s first-place scholarship winner based on her work as managing editor of “The Prospector,” Prospect High School’s award-winning student newspaper.

Dahm cited a “love and passion for journalism” that extends far beyond the classroom as her chief reasons for applying for the NINA scholarship.

Jason Block, faculty adviser to The Prospector for the past 11 years, said he has never seen a student as passionate about journalism as Dahm.

Block described Dahm as an incredibly gifted reporter and writer.

“She has the ability to ask the tough question of the important source, and she is so diligent that she will go back to those sources countless times to ask the necessary follow-ups to get the full story,” Block said.

“From profiles of race car drivers to investigate pieces on club drugs to light-heard sports columns to pointed staff editorials, Aungelina has proven to me – and more important to her readers – that she is no journalistic one-trick pony. She is truly a jack of all trades, one who we can call trust to cover any story that might break, regardless of topic or medium…”

Dahm will attend the University of Kansas this fall where she plans to double major in political science and news and information at the William Allen White School of Journalism.

Second Place (Tie)
Zoe Davis
Whitney Young Magnet High School
Scholarship: $400

NINA judges awarded Davis a second place scholarship based on her work as a copy editor and opinions editor for “The Beacon,” Whitney Young’s student newspaper. Davis also designed The Beacon’s website.

Davis plans to continue her journalism education at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism this fall.

In her autobiographical essay, Davis acknowledged that she has heard people question her decision to seek a career in journalism.

Davis, however, said she remains convinced of the importance and continuing need for professional journalism.

“The Internet and social media have transformed journalism to allow it to be conveyed through multimedia outlets. I find digital journalism a very interesting field because it encompasses writing, photojournalism and cinematography,” Davis said.

Second Place (Tie)
Riyah Basha
Hinsdale Central High School
Scholarship: $400

Basha was selected by NINA judges for a second scholarship based on her work as a reporter, copy editor and section editor for the “Devil’s Advocate,” Hinsdale Central’s student magazine.

Ultimately, Basha, would like to “write as a force for change through the media.” She explained, “As a young Muslim woman, I represent an intersection of different identities, ones that I’d like to fairly portray through my reporting. I mainly see myself working in print, but won’t limit myself to solely one mode. Journalism is a rapidly changing field, and I’m excited to be on the cutting edge of media in the digital age.”

Basha plans to major in journalism at the University of Illinois.