Issues, Indie Films, and Independent Study: this week on Best of SNO

It’s getting cold in Minnesota, land of SNO, but we’re cozying in with some fantastic student journalism. This week, Sally Calengor discusses new affinity groups at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, a Lambert High student profiles three independent films that examine violence against women, and the kids at St. Paul Academy and Summit School are doing some super cool stuff with science. Read on for our weekly picks, written and submitted by students just like yours.

Students meet in affinity groups to tackle issues at school – Sally Calengor, Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School
“I believe that the most important part is for kids to have their voice, get results from their voice and then grow from that.”

Films: a platform for gender empowerment – Mahima Siripurapu, Lambert High School
“In a movement to shed light against the atrocities committed against women, budding filmmakers across the globe have created emotionally provocative films that create a push for change within the masses.”

Advanced Science Research grants scientific freedom and flexibility – Javier Whitaker-Castaneda, St. Paul Academy and Summit School
“While the results of the lab may be useful, students definitely gain valuable skills for possible future scientific endeavors.”

The bees’ last buzz – Lauren Becker, The John Carroll School
“They serve a major purpose in terms of maintaining the way that we, not just we as humans, but the way that nature works. They’re a pretty massive keystone species.”

Over 100 Students Potentially Save More than 300 Lives in Central Fall Blood Drive – Hannah Walker and Kimberly Merfert, Chattanooga Central High School
“Most first timers were pretty nervous before, but realized soon after what they were doing was for a good cause.”

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!

Protest, Pilot, Protest: this week on Best of SNO

Ah, the glorious sandwich weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. Your mission is to eat as much as you can between now and the end of the year, and we’ve got some great reading to go along with all that food. This week, protests are the thing for the kids at City High and Glen Rock High, and Sarah Castillo profiles a young woman with her head in the clouds and her hands on the yoke. Read on for our weekly picks, written and submitted by students just like yours.

As Hate Crimes Spike Nationwide, Students Lead Silent Protest – Sofie Lie, City High School
“In both protests in the past two weeks, administration has not intervened: such expressions of free speech are fundamental to school-wide unity, asserts Principal John Bacon.”

Head in the Clouds: Zoë Lief – Sarah Castillo, West Ranch High School
“Although the school’s students are typically older men in their 40s and 50s, Zoë is intent on receiving her pilot’s license at the youngest age possible, 17.”

Students protest outside Trump Tower; “Let the New Generation SpeakMichelle DeMaria, Glen Rock High School
“Being surrounded by such a vast group of people and knowing that they shared similar ideas with many of the other protesters eased both the students and prompted them to get in the mix.”

Southern Lehigh High School Addresses Issues of Acceptance and Diversity – Talia Trackim, Nicole Schroy, Allison Borelli, Townsend Colley, Quinn Schmitt, Bridgette Lang, Sarah Jacobson, Southern Lehigh High School
“It’s not everybody, but it is there and it should be addressed,” sophomore Mariama Sohna said. “It doesn’t matter how small the intolerance is.”

Sophomore art student displays her artwork in New York City – America Moreno, Vidal M. Trevino School of Communication and Fine Arts
“It was the poster for the Wonder Woman movie, but I kind of made it look like more of a silhouette like. Just so when you see it you don’t only see Wonder Woman, but maybe any woman that empowers you.”

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!

Fresh Fish, Family Gains, and Ink Stains: this week on Best of SNO

It’s been a shocking week to say the least, but we’ve had some excellent reading material to carry us through. This week, Taylor Hoover profiles an alumnus teaching grade school in remote Alaska, a Lake Zurich High student finds challenge and growth in caring for his sister, and Ariette Reynaldo inks her way through the entire month of October. Read on for our weekly picks, written and submitted by students just like yours.

Alumni Spotlight: Teaching on the Last Frontier – Taylor Hoover, Tyrone Area High School
“Every day holds numerous wonders that you just can’t get anywhere else.”

The unknown stories of an LZ student – Danna Tabachnik, Lake Zurich High School
“I have learned a lot from her, my family has, and I think we are all better people because of it.”

Inktober paints the world – Ariette Reynaldo, Clark Magnet High School
“If you’ve ever asked about how to improve your drawings, then you’ve most likely heard “draw everyday” as an answer.”

Overcrowding becomes danger, no solution in sight  – Anna Rath, Harrisonburg High School
“There’s just a point where Harrisonburg is going to have to accept the growth that it’s having.”

In the dark – Brendan Johnson, De Smet Jesuit High School
“We need to continue these deeper discussions so that we can begin to understand why we do the things we do and the effects our actions have on other people.”

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!

Choices, Cherished Moments and Challenging Gender Definitions: this week on Best of SNO

Wow. It’s hard to believe it’s already November, but it’s even harder to believe how truly outstanding the Best of SNO submissions have been over the past seven days. This week, Jillian Cheney explores the choices made by teen parents, an Iowa City West student tells a story of enduring memory and strength in the face of loss, and Michael Moonjely discusses the struggle to define gender at the 2016 Olympics. Read on for our weekly picks, written and submitted by students just like yours.

Dealing with the unexpected
Jillian Cheney, Texas High School
“After the birth of his child, Ragland has devoted much of his time and dedication to raising her. He knows that not a lot of teen dads take responsibility for their children, but he is determined to make her a part of his life.”

The story of a miracle
Fenna Semken, Iowa City West High School
“After learning the news of her daughter’s condition, the focus of the pregnancy shifted from dreaming about little pink clothes to praying for just two hours with her daughter.”

Defining the female Olympian
Michael Moonjely, Iowa City West High School
“As Semenya kept getting faster, the debate surrounding her only got bigger.”

Exclusive: Oxford resident, Holocaust survivor speaks out for first time
Davis McCool, Oxford High School
“My dad was an optimist,” Puttman said. “He thought none of it was going to amount a hill of beans. But then, within a few months, the writing was on the wall.”

NFL Quarterback’s Protest Draws Attention to Police Brutality
Sarah Trebicka, Southern Lehigh High School
“As long as unarmed black Americans continue to be disproportionately killed by police, it is unlikely that protests such as Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem will falter.”

Racist incidents spark action at Ashland Shakespeare Festival
Adam Dean, Sacramento Country Day School
“Lally, a Sikh who wears a turban, was walking in the town to get food with two of his friends when three men in a truck pulled up beside him and told him to go back to his country.”

*Correction: Last week, we featured this story by American School of Paris students Susie Pieper, Jess Schot and Hugo Ward, but we credited the wrong school. Our apologies to ASP and these fantastic student journalists.

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!

New Starts, First Evers, and Slippery Slopes: this week on Best of SNO

Wow. We’re a few weeks into the school year and the kids are bringing it: Best of SNO submissions are blowing our minds.This week, City High students tell the engrossing story of a classmate and Congolese refugee, Amanda Galvan becomes the first American to place in the Adobe Certified World championship, and Staples High students expose Xanax abuse at their school. Read on for our weekly picks, written and submitted by students just like yours.

In the Middle: A Refugee’s Journey From Congo to IowaMolly Liu and Nova Meurice, City High School
“Nyamadorari called to her mother to wake her, but heard no answer. Her father, hearing her cries, confirmed her fear: her mother had been shot dead.”

World champion web designer: Meet Amanda Galvan Althea Gevero and Maggie Shepard, SWTCA
“In middle school, Galvan began experimenting with picture editing and Adobe Photoshop for the simplest reason–it was fun.”

Xanax permeates Staples student body – Molly Libergall, Staples High School
“Standing there in a friend’s apartment, with Kygo playing in the background and crowd chatter fading to white noise, she broke off one quarter of a two milligram bar of Xanax and palmed the small, “X”-labeled drug, pausing before swallowing it like a pill and chasing with Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey — straight from the bottle.

Students Sit to Protest Racial Discrimination – Kate Casey, Glen Rock High School
“While some people see abstaining from participating in the Pledge as an act of peaceful protest, others see it as blatant disrespect.”

New club presents volunteering, leadership opportunities – Akila Muthukumar, Coppell High School
“‘Unlike any other club, we plan to keep our members on their toes throughout the school year,’ he said.”

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!

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!