Healthy NewsWorks is pleased to announce the 2022 recipients of our Distinguished Journalist Award, given to eighth grade reporters who have been leaders on their school newspapers, have participated in our Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities book project, and have gone above and beyond in their participation in the Healthy NewsWorks program.
The 2022 recipients are Jordan and Sara from East Norriton Middle School. In addition to their work on the Bulldog Bulletin, Jordan and Sara were also among the group of Healthy NewsWorks journalists who participated in our film, “How We Heal.”
The realities of the pandemic meant that students had opportunities that went beyond a printed newspaper.
“Both Jordan and Sara were among a handful of my students also involved in several interviews shortly after the pandemic hit in 2020,” said Victoria Strickland, the East Norriton Middle School teacher who oversees the school newspaper. “… I would post links to these pressers on Google Classroom and students would join. … This gave students not only an opportunity to have something to do, but I believe it helped give a sense of comfort as it educated students about Covid-19 and what was going on from an expert’s point of view. Sara and Jordan were both only wrapping up their sixth-grade year of school at this point, but both were key players in being part of these interviews, asking thoughtful and insightful questions.”
Sara and Jordan worked on the Bulldog Bulletin during each of their four years at East Norriton.
“Jordan came to East Norriton Middle School in fifth grade already a seasoned pro, since he was involved with Healthy NewsWorks at his elementary school,” Ms. Strickland said.
Over their years with the program, the two were able to participate in numerous interviews, speaking with experts including Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Dr. Duriel Hardy, a pediatric neurologist and a fellow in pediatric neuroimmunology and neuroinflammatory disorders at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who competed in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2020.
“Jordan is a very personable young man, well liked by others and always willing to work. I learned not to question whether Jordan wanted to be involved or work on a story, as he would always step up and deliver,” Ms. Strickland said. “Jordan has great drive and intelligence and I am confident wherever his journey leads him, it will be successful.”
“Sara is a force to be reckoned with and I learned that the second she stepped through the doors at East Norriton,” Ms. Strickland said. “Sara is an amazing young lady with incredible motivation to figure things out. When conducting interviews, Sara reminds me of a veteran journalist, who knows all the right questions to ask and is always ready and willing with follow-up questions. Not only that, but Sara’s writing is top-notch and well above her age level. Sara is also not afraid to accept constructive criticism and use it to her advantage to improve. I am excited to see where the journal of life takes this remarkable young lady.”
Sara and Jordan are heading to Norristown Area High School in the fall.