Central Ohio Journalism Contest Honors 15 Students

Julanne Hohbach
This year's winners of The Martys high school journalism contest are (top row, from left): SeRaye Bray, Delaney Brown and Natalie Conrad; (bottom row, from left) Carolyn Eliot and Maxine Giller. Also pictured is the contest's namesake, Martin L. Rozenman.

Fifteen Central Ohio students have been honored in the ninth year of a local contest recognizing outstanding high school journalism.

The Martys, co-sponsored by Dispatch Media Group and the Central Ohio chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, seeks to recognize outstanding work being done by high school journalists in our region.

The contest was started in 2011 to honor Martin L. Rozenman, the longtime editor of Suburban News Publications, which merged with ThisWeek Community News in 2012. He also was a reporter with The Columbus Dispatch and a freelance writer for other Dispatch Media Group publications.

Rozenman was a nine-year member of the Central Ohio SPJ board of directors and was passionate about mentoring young journalists. He died in 2010 after a lengthy battle with a rare blood disorder.

For the contest, high school journalism teachers are invited to submit their students’ best published work, which is reviewed by a committee of judges. A winner and runner-up are named in each of the five categories: Best Feature Writing, Best News Writing, Best Opinion Writing, Best Photography and Best Sports Writing. Category winners compete for the top honor, known as The Marty.

This year, The Marty went to SeRaye Bray of Dublin Coffman High School. Her winning entry, “Being a Minority in the Majority,” was named the Best Feature Writing winner. The story explores the lengths to which some black students go to assimilate into a majority white school.

Bray was recognized at the Central Ohio SPJ’s annual Founders’ Day banquet, held April 17 at the Amelita Mirolo Barn in Upper Arlington. Bray received her award from Nancy Richison, Rozenman’s widow, who attended with their children, Henry and Laurel Rozenman.

Category winners and runners-up each receive a certificate, and first-place entrants also are awarded $100 from SPJ.

This year’s honorees and their schools are:

Best Feature Writing

Winner: SeRaye Bray, Dublin Coffman High School, The Perspective, “Being a Minority in the Majority”

Judges’ comment: “Bray’s story brings to light the lengths to which some black students go to assimilate into a majority white school. It examines issues of self-esteem and identity within the crucial context of social status. Brave work that deserves to be amplified loudly and often.”

Runner-up: Hallie Underwood, Maya Mattan and Josie Stewart, Upper Arlington High School, Arlingtonian, “Not All ‘Booksmart,’ Never One-Dimensional”

Best News Writing

Winner: Maxine Giller, Bexley High School, The Torch, “Tornado strikes Cassingham Complex, damages landscape”

Judges’ comment: “Solid news reporting told the best way: straight up. Full of facts and all the right voices—an eyewitness, the superintendent and even the district’s business manager. Great nuance including how much of the damage insurance will cover.”

Runner-up: Dylan Carlson Sirvent, Sophie Yang, Katherine Dominek and Sammy Bonasso, Upper Arlington High School, Arlingtonian, “Lunch on Lockdown”

Best Opinion Writing

Winner: Carolyn Eliot, Bexley High School, The Torch, “School resource officers unnecessary, detrimental to students”

Judges’ comment: “Effective opinion-page pieces generally tackle issues that are directly tied to the local community. That was the case with this editorial, which takes a stance against the Bexley school district’s proposal to hire a school resource officer. The writer stakes out a position and supports that opinion with credible outside facts and statistics as well as alternative ideas to help make schools safer.”

Runner-up: Jordyn Love, Rutherford B. Hayes High School, The Talisman, “Schools should have inclusive sexual education classes for all students”

Best Photography

Winner: Delaney Brown, Olentangy Liberty High School, The Cannon, “The Crowd Goes Wild”

Judges’ comment: “Delaney captured a textbook example of the ‘decisive moment.’ Showcasing the raw emotion of the fans against a clean, uncluttered background. A viewer can almost hear the crowd.”

Runner-up: Maya Morita, Rutherford B. Hayes High School, The Talisman, “Photo spread: Delaware Christmas Parade”

Best Sports Writing

Winner: Natalie Conrad, Dublin Coffman High School, The Perspective, “Tracking Recovery”

Judges’ comment: “I really enjoyed this story; it was balanced and informative. Getting perspective from athletes, coaches and trainers gave the story impact and showed how all three need to work together in the recovery process.”

Runner-up: Mia Citino, Dublin Coffman High School, The Perspective, “Girl Meets Mat”