Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

John Hopkins Middle School paper wins top national honor

The J. Hop Times student newspaper of John Hopkins Middle School has been named best in the country for the second consecutive year by Weekly Reader, a national education magazine.

The student-run publication was honored Thursday in Washington, D.C., during an awards luncheon held at the Association of Educational Publishers summit.

The J Hop Times was one of 60 middle school papers from across the nation in the competition.

J. Hop Times staffer Brooke Cooley and Melrose Elementary student Kimberly McEntegart were also presented the best individual nonfiction student writing award for middle and elementary school categories, respectively.

Cooley, who will attend Tampa's Sickles High School this fall, said the awards are always morale boosters for the J. Hop Times staff.

"Just working there, it makes you feel good because you know you're working for the best," Cooley said. "It keeps everybody going. It's more than something we do for fun. It's to entertain and it's to inform."

Cooley earned the individual award for an article about a girl attending John Hopkins with alopecia, an ailment that causes hair loss. She said she will donate half of her award's supplemental $500 prize toward a special waterproof wig for the student with alopecia.

"If it wasn't for (her), I would not have been able to win this award," Cooley said.

Jenny Butkus, a third-year journalism coordinator at John Hopkins, said the newspaper staff comprises 120 students enrolled in journalism courses. The curriculum and newspaper, she said, are part of the Midtown Journalism Project, which has former and current journalists serving as teachers. The program began at Melrose Elementary and since expanded to John Hopkins four years ago.

Butkus said her role as an instructor is simple.

"For me, it's just holding the kids to high standards," she said. "The bar has already been set. I believe if you set the standards high, they will rise up."

Maureen Thornton, John Hopkins principal, said an administrator can always think of what articles should be in the paper, but she allows students to choose what articles they feel are best.

"I'm proud, to say the least," said Thornton, who played a part in bringing the program to the school. "The principal doesn't always agree with everything, but I understand. Those are the voices of the students. I don't censor."

In fact, she grants access to the student journalists and there was a day-in-the-life feature article on her in the awarding-winning issue.

"I wondered, 'Do I do all that,' " Thornton said of the article. "The kids couldn't keep up with me. I had to stop and let them regroup. I thought it was kind of neat."

Ira Wolfman, senior vice president of editorial at Weekly Reader, said both the publication and individual awards are a testament to the two schools' journalism programs.

"They're wonderful students," Wolfman said of the variety of articles submitted.

"My editorial staff was struck with these beautiful pieces on students with disabilities. Both (Cooley and McEntegart) were thoughtful and extremely insightful. It is also very exciting to see students using print to communicate."

Butkus said the awards and recognition may inspire some students to pursue careers in journalism, but she said the pleasure is in seeing the students learn life skills, such as how to introduce themselves and conduct adult conversations.

"All in all, we feel the skills of journalism will help them out in many aspects of life," Butkus said.

Eddie R. Cole can be reached at ecole@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8779.

John Hopkins Middle School paper wins top national honor 06/07/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 1:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  2. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  3. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  4. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  5. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.