Talon Talent


Youth Journalism International 2015 Excellence in Journalism engraved crystal trophies at YJI headquarters, West Hartford, Conn. Photo from YJI Website.

By Executive Editor Louinn Lota

The Talon won its first international competition, setting school history.

Talon featured artist, junior Bailey van Tassell’s “Jesus Mosaic” won First Place for Illustration in the Youth Journalism International 2015 Excellence in Journalism contest. A May 7 announcement made at YJI headquarters in West Hartford, Conn., also stated The Talon took second in Graphic Design, while Editor-in-Chief Shreya Yepuri ’15 earned Honorable Mention for “Boy Sports vs. Girl Sports.”

Student journalists, photographers and content designers from 23 U.S. states, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Egypt, Italy, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria and the United Kingdom, competed for awards. The annual contest, in its sixth year, recognized writing, reporting, art, photo and multimedia skills in more than two dozen news, sports and opinion column categories. It covered work published in English between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014. Those eligible were 19-years-old or younger and not working professionally.

“This year the field of entries was the strongest I’ve seen,” contest judge Joe Killian, a daily newspaper reporter in Greensboro, N.C., who got his start through Youth Journalism International, said on the YJI Website. Another judge, Lynn Abrahamson, a Maryland public health official, agreed “it was especially hard to choose winners this year.”

“It was inspiring to see so many well-crafted pieces on so many diverse topics,” Mr. Killian added. “It becomes more obvious each year that the talent level is increasing,” added another contest judge Frank Johnson, leader of the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut.

“Many of these writers are far better than those who report local news in Connecticut or elsewhere,” Mr. Johnson added.

Dr. Mariechen Puchert from East London, South Africa, also a contest judge, found the feature writing impressive. “It was a pleasure to see that young journalists are not shying away from addressing serious topics that have a direct impact on their peers.”

Youth Journalism International, founded in 1994, formally incorporated in 2007 as an educational non-profit public charity. A compilation of Chaminade’s winners in each category and judges’ comments listed below:


FIRST PLACE: Bailey van Tassell ’16 of Chaminade College Preparatory, West Hills, California, for “Jesus Mosaic”


FIRST PLACE: Hannah Knotts of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for redesign

SECOND PLACE: The Chaminade Talon, Chaminade College Preparatory, West Hills, California

HONORABLE MENTION: Lydia Bradley of Eaton High School, Eaton, Colorado, for “Keeping Score on the Mascot”


FIRST PLACE: Jake Barnes of California High School, San Ramon, California, for “Tackling concussions head on”

Stated premise early on … strong supporting quotes … careful job making sure there are balanced quotes offering the varying points of view and good framework to conclude the story appropriately. A good read. I learned something for sure. Well done.

SECOND PLACE: Holly Fredericksen, Mona Shores High School, Norton Shores, Michigan, for “Shores caps season as state runner-up”

I really liked how you set up the multiple goals and then followed up by laying each one out individually. Additionally, in using quotes to support each section, you effectively chose to get different sources (several different people) so reader(s) recognize you were thorough.

HONORABLE MENTION: Shreya Yepuri ’15 of Chaminade College Preparatory, West Hills, California, for “Boy Sports vs. Girl Sports”

I liked how your opening graph framed the rest of the story. Always attempt to grab the reader with a strong first graph. Nicely done.