PSPA also extends commendation to Rylan Bassett of Emmaus High School in Emmaus, PA; Leah McNear of Freedom Area High School; Samuel Shelenberger of Saegertown High School in Saegertown, PA, and Kathleen Taranto of Emmaus High School.
Guo is a four-year staff member of The Spoke, Conestoga High School’s monthly news publication. This year, she serves as co-Editor-in-Chief of The Spoke. She previously served as Opinion Editor and Student Life Editor. In 2018, Guo was selected to be one of 42 students nationwide to participate in J-Camp in Detroit, Michigan, a six-day intensive journalism scholarship program led by professional journalists sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association. She will attend Yale University in fall 2020.
In her recommendation letter, co-adviser Cyndi Hyatt wrote, “Claire has the tenacity of a pit bull and when an important story is due and obstacles stand in her way, she kicks into Wonder Woman mode digging in to finish and to finish strong.” Co-adviser Susan Gregory agrees. “Because this is a student newspaper, she is mostly self-taught. Claire is motivated and tenacious,” she wrote. “Add intelligence and creativity to the mix, and you have an award-winning student journalist.”
All SJOY candidates assemble digital portfolios that include examples from the eleven categories of the Journalism Education Association’s curriculum. Judges provide specific feedback on candidates' portfolios. One judge, upon review of Guo's extensive portfolio, noted, “An already-strong publication has helped Claire to grow into herself, while she has made outstanding contributions to make that publication even stronger. This portfolio was a joy to review, and could be used as a model of how to celebrate student journalism.”
Guo’s portfolio moves on to national SJOY consideration, where her work will be judged alongside 2019 SJOY winners from other states. The national winner and runners-up will be announced at the National High School Journalism Convention, currently scheduled in Nashville, TN from April 16-18.
“All the administrators in our district can attest to both the challenge and the honor of a Cole Skuse interview,” Freedom Area High School Principal William Deal wrote. “Cole comes to an interview with hard-hitting questions and thorough research. He is willing to call out inconsistencies and obfuscation. He will not shy away from a controversial topic. Instead, he seeks to report facts from all sides of issues and provides information to our school stakeholders to help them make educated and informed decisions.”
The Pennsylvania Student Journalist of the Year award was named for Dr. Jane Blystone in 2011, and includes a $500 scholarship for the winner, as well as $100 awards for runners-up. Competition standards and rubrics align with the Journalism Education Association's Student Journalist of the Year competition. The annual competition is open to senior student journalists.
Please visit the JEA SJOY page for information about preparing a portfolio. Sample portfolios from last year's state winners are posted on JEA's site. Portfolios for the 2021 Student Journalist of the Year will be due in early spring 2021.