By Pulse Staff
Youth Journalism International awarded The Pulse Editor-in-Chief Rachel Heller two first places, one second place, and one honorable mention last Monday in its annual Excellence in Journalism contest.
The contest awarded work published in English during 2017 by student journalists aged 19 and under from across the globe. Youth Journalism International recognized “some of the best teen journalism in the world,” according to its website.
Heller won first place in the profile writing category for “Josh first, disability second: raising a child with Duchenne and autism,” and in the opinion writing category for “Gender and expectations: through the eyes of a preschool teacher.” Her review, “Concert Review: Animal Collective play sold-out show at DC’s 9:30 Club,” earned second place in the music reviews category. Heller also earned an honorable mention in the news story, individual entry category for “Changes to AP funding spark concern and reflection.”
She joined The Pulse in the second semester of her junior year and has been the editor-in-chief since the start of her senior year.
Heller’s first place-winning entry for the opinion writing category is the first article she wrote for The Pulse. It details the gender stereotypes she has witnessed during her time as a preschool teacher. A judge’s comment for the article described it as “startling,” and that “The reader is allowed into a teachable moment that will fuel a lifetime of passion and courage for the writer; the reader feels gratitude for such willing foot soldiers who brave the current of ignorance.”
For her first-place winning profile piece, a judge noted that “The simplicity of the writing style was handled gracefully and added depth to the story.” The article discusses a mother and her son who challenge the stigma behind living with a disability.
Heller’s second-place winning music review describes the concert experience of the experimental band Animal Collective. A judge labeled the article as “totally professional,” and added that it brought the concert scene alive.
Her news story that earned an honorable mention covers last year’s federal and state budget cuts that caused Anne Arundel County Public Schools to no longer offset the costs of registering for AP tests for most students.
Heller’s recognized articles can be found below. Click this link to see the full list of contest winners.
“He’s just so kind and so sweet, and I do think that’s a common thing among kids with disabilities. I think there’s a natural kindness to them,” she said. “He’s a happy kid.”
I refuse to stand idly by while children as young as 3 are conditioned to believe that there’s a right and wrong way to express themselves.
As the lights dimmed and the venue emptied, the intoxicating escape from the humdrum of everyday life came to an end.
“I find it interesting how our education system, which is so focused on standardized testing, gets to pick and choose which tests are and are not important to fund.”