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Notebook event draws nearly 300

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Jeniffer Valdez

The Notebook celebrated 17 years of publishing with its annual Turning the Page for Change event Tuesday, giving awards to student journalists and celebrating the work to support equity and quality in Philadelphia schools with close to 300 attendees.

Students, advocates, teachers, administrators, parents, city and District officials, and others came to the event, held at the University of the Arts’ Hamilton Hall. Mayor Nutter and his chief education advisor Lori Shorr stopped by after spending a day in Harrisburg lobbying for more state funds for the District. Councilman Bill Green, School Reform Commission members Joseph Dworetzky and Johnny Irizarry, and Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch also attended.

A string quartet from GAMP (Girard Academic Music Program) serenaded the arriving guests, and students from the High School of the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) drew caricatures.

The Notebook also honored Spanish translator Milly Suazo-Martínez for more than a decade of service.

The evening’s highlight was the presentation of the Notebook‘s annual journalism awards to eight outstanding students from the Academy@Palumbo, Esperanza Academy Charter School, and Furness, Sayre and Bodine high schools, most of whom wrote for their school newspaper. The winners from Sayre and Bodine wrote articles for The Union Rep, a publication of the Philadelphia Student Union.

"This year the Notebook received more entries than ever and noticed a marked increase in the quality of the reporting and writing," said editor Paul Socolar. "We’d like to congratulate all the entrants, their teachers, newspaper advisers, and principals for remaining committed to independent journalistic expression and inquiry."

The awards were co-sponsored by the Spanish-language newspaper Al Día.

This year’s award recipients:

  • Column writing: Antwan Currie, Fashion Flash,” Griffin Gazette, Academy @ Palumbo
  • School news: Paul Benavidez, various articles including “The Suits Are Back: District Walkthroughs” and “What Do the Budget Cuts Mean for Furness?” The Falcon
  • Commentary: Jaileah Gibson, “Building Power: Youth Power Summit Ignites the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools,” The Union Rep
  • Data reporting: Esperanza Post, Amy Rivera and Yesenia Ortolaza, co-editors-in-chief, for its graphical representation of student survey results on various topics, Esperanza Academy

Honorable mentions:

  • Column writing: Isaiah Banks, “Let the Preacher Preach,” The Falcon
  • Sports Writing: AJ King, various articles especially "Moody’s Elite Talent Taking him Places," Griffin Gazette, Academy @ Palumbo
  • Commentary: Shaina Richards, “The Way They Represent Us,” The Union Rep

Fourteen publications entered the competition. They were: The Centralizer – Central, CHS Chronicles – Constitution, The Eagle Eye – George Washington, Esperanza Post – Esperanza Academy, The FalconFurness, The Griffin Gazette, Academy @ Palumbo, KCAPA News – Kensington Creative and Performing Arts, Kensington Culinary Voice – Kensington Culinary, Lincoln Log – Lincoln, Masterman Voices – Masterman, Northeast Megaphone – Northeast, The Union Rep – Philadelphia Student Union, Randolph Rant – Randolph Tech, Youth Study Center School Centerfold – Youth Study Center.

The Notebook also welcomed more than 30 people who signed up to become new members.

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