Reunions, Retinas and Rapper’s Delight: this week on Best of SNO

Best of SNO submissions have been rolling in and we’re loving it. This week, students at The John Carroll School surprise a peer by flying his mother in from Nigeria for graduation, a baseball player nearly loses an eye to a golf accident, and the kids at Kingwood Park are killin’ it on the music scene. Read on for our weekly picks, written and submitted by students just like yours.

Community helps senior reunite with mother – Grace Mottley and Caroline Cooney, The John Carroll School
“Their generosity and dedication surprised Tertsea, his mother, and the community, but their act of kindness has revealed the selfless and generous spirit of the community.”

Unforeseeable future – Hannah Ortega, Lovejoy High School
“Despite the fact that, for a time, Jacob experienced the prospect of not having a right eyeball at all and of never playing baseball again, he remained positive with the help of loved ones.”

Rock Stars of K-Park – Emily Humble, Sarah Martell, Kylee Wing, Kingwood Park High School
“A lot of people in Kingwood are making music,” Ponce said, “and we have something going on really.”

A powerful discussion – Blythe Terry, Starr’s Mill High School
“Even though part of her message involves the frustrating, saddening aspects of mental illness, she feels that it’s paramount to understand that there can be a happy ending.”

Day after encampment sweep, refugees return to central Paris – Allegra Knox and Tailor Liedtke, American School of Paris
“Before the Friday sweep, sidewalks near the metro station were carpeted with mattresses and tents. On Saturday, a garbage truck could be seen stuffed with mattresses that had been left behind.”

We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. Encourage your students to polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Wild, Loud and Dehydrated: this week on the Best of SNO

With the school year in full swing and submissions to Best of SNO now open, we’re already discovering the heavy hitters in this year’s journalism game. This week, a budding thespian pays homage to the late Gene Wilder, Westside High students wax poetic about slam poetry (and the dress code), and we learn what’s missing from those super-hot summer music festivals we all love: water. Read on for our weekly picks, written and submitted by students just like yours.

Wilder’s wild humor leaves lasting impact — Jaren Tankersly, Canyon High School
“Wilder’s hilarious breakdowns taught this pompous thespian that on occasion, even the best-planned sardonic zingers cannot serve comedy as well as clear, obvious, well-timed lunacy.”

Louder than a Bomb — Mitch Francis and Nick Henrichs, Westside High School
“Being able to channel my emotions into writing and performing them is a good way to get them out and really understand them.”

Can’t stand the heat, don’t stay in the . . . music festival? — Alexis Drevetzki and Althea Gevero, Southwest Career and Technical Academy
“Forgetting to hydrate could be deadly, and the rising temperatures leave one with little choice but to shell out $7 for a 20 ounce bottle of water.”

Shen becomes first male member to join Coppell color guard — Jessica Jun, Coppell High School
“Just do it. If it doesn’t work out or people tease you, it’s OK, but it shouldn’t affect you. Just be yourself and do whatever you find that you enjoy.”

Rabbi Segal calls for Orthodox schools to take action supporting LGBT students, including support groups on campusAlec Fields and Maayan Waldman, Shalhevet High School
“To put it plainly, ‘being nice’ cannot serve as the end goal,” said Rabbi Segal. “Basic kindness is but the starting point of human decency.”

We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. Encourage your students to polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

The SNO Report: Best of the Best of SNO

Well, we made it – another school year means another nine months of stellar Best of SNO submissions from so many supremely talented young journalists – and what better way to wrap up another fantastic season than to acknowledge our very favorite stories published on Best of SNO this school year? A huge congratulations to all of the writers and staffs below! If you don’t see your school listed here, don’t be discouraged – we easily could have selected enough favorites to come up with hundreds of award categories, if only we had the time to spare.

Without further ado, we present the 2015-2016 Best of Best of SNO!

Best editorial on a school or local issue:
Not-so-socially-acceptable mediaMimi Wright, Kirkwood High School

Best editorial on a national or international issue:
Tick-tock goes the…bomb?Summer Thomad, Southwest Career and Technical Academy

Best opposing viewpoints:
Versus: Pro-Choice and Pro-LifeRebekah Rosenstein, Michelle McDaniel, Legacy High School

Best use of infographic:
How should you spend your Thanksgiving season?Justin Sweeney, Mary Stuart Murray, Kirkwood High School

Best use of innovative design:
The New GenderationMadeline Bowne, Ashley Cooper, Sonia Kim, Lanxi Li and Jenna Myers, Cherry Hill High School East

Best sports coverage:
My life on the rinkCaroline Puckett, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Best news coverage, health edition:
Crickets become the new protein sourceJohn Bandek, Clark Magnet High School

Best news coverage, education edition:
Standardized redundancy: The failure of American testingHenry Dikeman, Apple Valley High School

Best political coverage:
Kanye graduates from hip-hop to politicsBria Blassingame, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

Best metajournalism:
Publications statewide must stand behind first amendmentKaylee Chamberlain and Hannah Bernstein, St. Louis Park High School

Best movie review:
The Force falls asleep in new Star Wars movieSophie Haddad, Carlmont High School

Best use of story page template:
Top 15 albums of 2015Henry Youtt, Liberty High School

Best investigative reporting by an individual:
Schools not notified of students with sex offensesZia Kelly, Lawrence High School

Best investigative reporting by a group:
Homelessness in Iowa: A hidden issueAndi Munford, Vivian Le, Waukee High School

Best feature in a series:
Kit-fox probe beginsJoe Bergman, Bakersfield College

Best technology exposé:
The social media maskLilly Stannard, John Carroll School

Best photojournalism:
A day at the shelter Minju Kang, West Ranch High School

Best student profile:
SongbirdAlex Walters, McKinney Boyd High School

Best alumnus profile:
Journalism students speak to ABC evening reporter Natasha BarrettKamryn Kobal, Cypress Ranch High School

Best creative editorial:
I didn’t know – Nicholas Smith, Lovejoy High School

Best informative journalism:
A breakdown of what it means to be transgenderRose Rodriguez, Sartell High School

The Logan Aimone best critter profile:
Meet the Geese 2: Geesepocolypse Hannah Hoffmann, Parkway West High School
(Honorable mention: Unique pets: four students share their crittersEmma Froseth, Benilde-St. Margaret’s)

And there you have it! As always, Best of SNO will be taking a break over the summer, but will resume publishing your fantastic work come August. Have a great summer, and we can’t wait to read more of your submissions next year!

Inclusive health classes, redefining gender roles, and sticking up for free speech: this week on Best of SNO

From fighting for new health curriculum to exercising First Amendment rights, the Best of SNO inbox made one thing clear this week – these journalists are standing strong when it comes to reporting the news that matters. These admirable students have started to challenge everything – gender norms, censorship, even their health classes – and we here at SNO headquarters couldn’t be prouder. Read on for our weekly picks.

Parkway approves new Healthy Relationships and Sexual Health CurriculumBetsy Wait and Shannon Anderson, Parkway West High School
“The current curriculum was compared with material outlined in the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) standards, which are used nationally, albeit inconsistently, to regulate information provided in sexual health classes. The new curriculum educates students as young as first grade on body awareness and interpersonal relationships.”

Broadway’s historical Hamilton reflects contemporary racial tensionsBria Blassingame, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School
“Miranda has brilliantly reframed the familiar narrative of the American Founding Fathers so that it not only focuses explicitly on the contributions of immigrants, but people of color as a whole. Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, Angelica and Elizabeth Schuyler and more – all white in reality – are here depicted as people of color. The only white lead character is, in fact, King George III, the common enemy of the entire cast as they recount their story of the struggle to found and succeed in America.”

Ever since I was a little boy….Vinh Tran, Southwest Career and Technical Academy
“Furthermore, my sister always liked playing with robots and watching television, but I spent much of my childhood in the kitchen with my mother. We had no idea what gender role classifications and gender stereotypes were—we were too busy living out our childhoods. No one in my family ever saw that anything was wrong with the two of us, but the second we arrived at school for show-and-tell, pointed fingers and derogatory words would fill the classroom. Why is it socially unacceptable for a boy to bake a cake or for a girl to watchBatman all day?”

Publications statewide must stand behind First AmendmentKaylee Chamberlain and Hannah Bernstein, St. Louis Park High School
“Despite the natural inclination to enclose ourselves in a bubble, students everywhere must resist. Without open-minded conversation and dialogue, change cannot occur. We believe one of our roles as a key news source in this community is to facilitate such discussions. Instead of harassing or shaming others for their beliefs, students must promote education and conversation. A democracy does not work when we bully those who have opinions different than our own.”

Oh, the places you could go: If you need to leave, here’s where you can liveKasal Smaha, Linganore High School
“In addition, the number of Google searches for “how to move to Canada” spiked after the Super Tuesday presidential primary elections. In a satirical jab, a Canadian island has even offered refuge to Americans if Donald Trump wins the election. For the average American hoping to flee to somewhere a little more sane, here are The Lance’s top ten selections for expatriates.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Fashion, civil disobedience, and the magic of 3D printers: this week on Best of SNO

While one student utilizes a 3D printer to bring his art to life, another group of innovators use 3D printing to create wearable fingers for disabled children in Nepal.  The submissions in the Best of SNO inbox this week do a fantastic job showcasing the many ways technology benefits society. Not feeling very tech-savy? We’ve got stories for you, too. Hearing how one high school student is determined to start his own fashion line should motivate you to get those creative juices flowing. Read on for our weekly picks.

Alec Pennell explores fashion through his lensNadia Koontz, Kearsley High School
“Pennell looks up at the sky before raising his Canon DSLR camera up to his eye and then smiles, holding still to take a picture. He takes a moment to glance at the photo taken and then his eyes light up — his next idea.”

From Saudi Arabia to Nepal and back again twice: Lending a hand can be as simple as download, print and sendSuvidhi Bhalgat, ISG Jubail
“Now, Bondurant and the students from the Nepal trip are working on 3D-printed wearable fingers. The premise is simple: There are five “fingers” with fishing wire threaded through them that connect them to the “palm”. Bhim Maya will fit her hand into an indentation on the bottom of the 3D-printed prosthetic hand and strap the wire to her wrist. Depending on how she bends her wrist, the fingers will furl and unfurl, letting her grab and hold things, like mugs.”

Printing his way to success: Daniel MontoyaJack Yan and Alex Gordon, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts
“It’s another way to express myself through a non-conventional medium of art,” Montoya said. “I felt like doing something different. Every time I print something people are like ‘whoa that is so cool’ and it feels good when other people appreciate my production of any art form such as this.”

The scary reality of civil disobedience in practiceOse Arheghan, Shaker Heights High School
“Trayvon did not give up his life; his life was taken. Wearing my hood up is my way of recognizing that. I like to think that I would be seen and respected, hoodie or no hoodie, but to me, this is about so much more than simply wearing an article of clothing.”

Junior transfer student spearheads first robotics teamBenjamin Zaghi and Rose Lipner, Shalhevet High School
“The new club has already qualified as a team in the FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – Robotics Competition league, which is holding a competition in Long Beach March 10. Participating teams got their assignments Jan. 9, giving them six weeks to build their robots.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Hidden homelessness, roller derby rinks, and true survivors: this week on Best of SNO

We’re always encouraging the amazing journalism programs in the SNO Network not to shy away from tough topics – and, judging by the Best of SNO inbox this week, some student journalists have been taking that suggestion seriously. With an in-depth feature on homelessness, an inspiring story about a girl who survived against all odds, and one student’s strength to keep living, the BoS submissions this week were heavy. But heavy stories are real stories, and honest, heartfelt journalism is what we live for. Read on for our weekly picks.

Homelessness in Iowa: A hidden issueAndi Munford, Vivian Le, Waukee High School
“Des Moines City officials have been evicting people from campsites, in some instances, giving a maximum of ten days notice for the homeless to pack their belongings. It leaves many people struggling to find another place to stay, possibly exposing them to danger. “How can this be a sensible action?” Joe Stevens, Joppa Co-Founder prompted. “Our city is putting additional hardship on people who are already down and out, which is keeping people homeless.”

Anywhere but hereLaura Godinez, Lewisville High School
“But as soon as I look at the board and see the video we’re about to watch, I freeze. And suddenly I’m not there. Suddenly it’s summer; suddenly it’s August. It’s the day that turned into a nightmare at 2 o’clock. A nightmare that lasted four days, and on that fourth day it turned into reality. All my friends were gathered together, but none of us wanted to be there. Because being there made it real, and none of us wanted it to be real.”

Adventure in the face of adversityReid Valentine, Coppell High School
“The three of them embark on adventures all over the country, such as riding a train through Canada. This is how they intend to take advantage of the time they have with Thomas. Through a Facebook page titled “The Adventures of Big T”, started in September 2014, Thomas’ travels are posted and shared with over 200 people who have liked the page.”

To be chosen and lovedKaris Skaggs, Francis Howell North High School
“She’s going to die, why waste our time?” Maria Michalski remembers her doctor saying while she was sick with Leukemia, a cancer of the blood. She was living as an orphan in Vladivostok, Russia, and she wasn’t expected to survive under her circumstances. On the other side of the world, Brent and Christine Michalski heard about her from some friends in a letter and knew they needed to do something to help.”

My life on the rinkCaroline Puckett, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
“I’ve seen the San Francisco Bay Bombers sling each other like rag dolls and show absolutely no mercy on the track; I’ve seen the broken bones and bleeding faces and bruised limbs women have in the movies. But, despite all the negativity and “Don’t do it”s I got, I decided to give it a try, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Barbies, bad blood, and ebola: this week on Best of SNO

One high school has us beaming with pride after ranking first place in an international journalism society, while another program in the SNO network was placed under unwarranted social media fire. It’s been an eventful week in the Best of SNO inbox — read on for our weekly picks.

Pony express ranks international first place, Quill and ScrollMary Burchill, Stillwater Area High School
“The Quill and Scroll is an international high school journalism honor society that focuses its awarding on high school writers and newspaper publications. 14,104 schools across the globe participate in the Quill and Scroll. After another successful year has passed, the Pony Express has been awarded first in the Quill and Scroll.”

Not-so-socially-acceptable mediaMimi Wright, Kirkwood High School
“Eden has nothing to do with our coverage– especially our decision to cover this issue that we felt was important to the community because it greatly affected our school. However, Miller chose to take to Twitter to attack Eden publicly about a sidebar on the same page as the staff editorial.”

Barbie becomes more beautifulIlisha Strassler, Santaluces Community High School
“I quickly became insecure and refused to go to the beach. Despite not even knowing what self confidence was, Barbie ruined mine.”

Anime plus ebola equals…genocide cult?Dane Dorius, Ames High School
“Now, there were certainly people only in it for the memes and the humor inherent in worshipping the anime version of ebola. But there were (and still are) people who took her seriously. This plague became the hope of mass genocide to these crazy folks. The reasons for the desire varied (and were often rooted in ignorance and stereotypes), but people wanted the entirety of Africa dead.”

Homeless Pete and the extravagant tattoo tentJordynn Zier, Cannon Falls High School
“Willing to take whatever risk, he bites his tongue and braces for what seems to be the opportunity of a lifetime. The buzz of the makeshift machine resounds throughout the tiny tent, and his decision is set in stone – or skin.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Good vibes, gradual growth, and true heart: this week on Best of SNO

Two students overcoming some serious health concerns, a club focused on the promotion of nothing but good vibes, and one high school’s visit from an ABC evening reporter:  the Best of SNO inbox has proved there’s no shortage of interesting events taking place in schools all over the SNO Network this week. Read on for our weekly picks.

Journalism students speak to ABC evening reporter Natasha BarrettKamryn Kobal, Cypress Ranch High School
“On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Barrett spoke to high school Journalism students from across CFISD while at the CFISD January Press Conference that took place at Cypress Falls High School. Barrett attended and graduated from Cypress Falls in 1996, which allowed her to reminisce on her teenage years while sharing her experiences as a journalist.”

Painted red for heart healthSydney Wong, Lovejoy High School
“The paramedics delivered three shocks to her heart to get it started again. She received three more shocks after being put into the ambulance. Once she arrived at the Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, the doctors there decided it would be best to put Meghan in a coma to protect her organs.”

I refuse to let cancer define meCourtney Brewer, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
“On July 28, 2015, I sat in a doctor’s office at Central Baptist Hospital and was told that my recent thyroid removal had come back with diffuse sclerosing papillary carcinoma, an extremely treatable but extremely aggressive form of thyroid cancer. My entire world was rocked; just when I thought my battle was over, I was facing an entirely new beast. Today I celebrate six months since my diagnosis, and six months of growth as a person.”

If dance were any easier, it would be called footballAnna Brooks, Tunstall High School
“Is dance a sport? The question that makes every dancer want to fan kick anyone who asks. I believe the only way to prove that dance is a sport is not by telling of all the sit ups, and pushups, and pull ups, and however many other “ups” there are that dancers complete during practice, but rather by giving the facts, or perhaps a play-by-play.”

Good VibesKelly Curtis and Logan Finney, Sandpoint High School
“The Good Vibes Clubs is an offshoot of the Human Rights Club and a response to recent suicides involving high school students. The club is a safe place for students to meet and talk about their life with their peers in a positive manner.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Singing success, designing dreams, and a Rubik’s robot: this week on Best of SNO

The Best of SNO inbox was chalk-full of seriously impressive students this week– from one student’s success on a popular singing-based television show to another’s construction of a rubik’s cube solving robot, these schools in the SNO Network aren’t wasting any time showcasing their spectacular scholars. And if that isn’t impressive enough for you, we’ve got one brilliant sophomore who’s developed an app for his school, and another talented student designing clothes for Project Runway. Read on for our weekly picks.

SongbirdAlex Walters, McKinney Boyd High School
“She begins to strum her guitar, singing tentatively at first. But as the music swells, she regains her confidence. Within the first 19 seconds, Pharrell Williams hits the red button and his chair turns. Gwen Stefani hits her button only a half-second later. Junior Madi Davis has made it onto “The Voice.”

Peytie Slater designs her destiny on Project Runway: JuniorAlyssa Slattery, Carlsbad High School
“While many high school students strive to fit in among the crowd, sophomore Peytie Slater expresses her originality through her clothing. Slater always had an interest in fashion design, and this year she had the chance to take it to the next level, participating in the first season of Project Runway: Junior.”

Senior Zack Gromko’s robot solves Rubik’s Cube; breaks Guinness World RecordIndre Zalepuga, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School
“He explained that the initial record-holding robot did not appear too complex, as it had four arms and one camera, leaving several adjustments to the cube. “I wanted the robot to at least be able to beat me, but after I got one of the motors, I saw it could make a turn in roughly 0.06 seconds; I was pretty confident I could take the record,” Gromko said.”

Sophomore develops school appShajid Hasan, Cypress Ranch High School
“With the hordes of techies here at Cy Ranch, it is about time that somebody made an app for the school. Not only was this techie able to create this app, but he managed to do this all while juggling schoolwork, band, and other clubs. This student was no other than sophomore Shrivu Shankar, the boy wonder.”

Six seconds of fame Izzie Ramirez, McKinney Boyd High School
“I mean, we’re basically nationally known now,” Lewis said. “We’re being seen all around the world for it. I’m in the UK, Switzerland, Germany. I just got a bunch of people from Argentina messaging me, it’s crazy. It’s pretty awesome.”

Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!

Famous alumni, brave students, and overcoming tragedy: this week on Best of SNO

The Best of SNO inbox seemed somewhat alumni-focused this week– from one high school graduate’s perseverance in the face of tragedy to another high school excitedly welcoming back a famous alumnus, it’s clear the amazing schools in the SNO Network have helped mold some pretty impressive people. Of course, we want to focus on the awesome students of these schools too; like the two extremely fortunate high school students who survived a terrible car crash, or the incredibly insightful student who opens up about what it means to be transgender. Read on for our weekly picks.

Award-winning journalist comes homeHannah Bernstein, St. Louis Park High School
“Friedman said he came back to St. Louis Park to revisit the place that not only introduced him to journalism, but profoundly affected his worldview.”

B-A grad overcame violence and tragedy to become a military heroNathan Davis, Bellwood-Antis High School
“I moved around the New York area a lot when I was young,” Comanche said. “The incident when I was a kid was definitely hard on me, but over the years I’ve come to terms with it, and I think it’s made me stronger as a person.”

A breakdown of what it means to be transgenderRose Rodriguez, Sartell High School
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it coming out. I would call it becoming me. For me, it was more of an inner struggle than an outer struggle. 99% of the people around me I knew would still love me and care for me the same way they had before. It was more inwards because I was the one who struggled with it the most. I would say that I had a more preferred experience than others.”

Sophomores survive car accident at Manchester Smoothie KingEmily Dickson, Parkway West High School
On the afternoon of Dec. 29, Eickmann and Crews were paying for smoothies at Smoothie King on Manchester when a car barreled through the front window of the store and hit them, pinning Eickmann against the counter, throwing Crews over the hood and injuring another employee.”

Steering in the right directionJuli Wright & Kahla Carmichael, Colonia High School
“In 2011 alone, 1.2 million people got arrested for driving under the influence. Every two minutes, a person is injured from a drunk driving incident.”


Want to see your own story featured on Best of SNO? We love featuring student journalism that’s interesting, well-written, and takes a unique angle on the stories we see every day. If you think you have what it takes, polish up that story (or video or multimedia piece) and submit it right here!