Posted on March 28, 2022 by Julie Funasaki Yuen
This month, Mid-Pacific senior and Na Pueo student newspaper co-editor-in-chief Chelsee Sawai '22 was recognized as the Hawaii High School Journalist of the Year. Each year, the national Journalism Education Association (JEA) recognizes the top student journalist from each state. Winning portfolios from state Journalist of the Year competitions are sent to the national level. In April, Sawai will represent the state of Hawai'i at the Journalism Education Association/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention where the top national winner receives $3,000 to the winner's college or university account.
Under Sawai's guidance together with co-editors and staff, Mid-Pacific's Na Pueo student newspaper earned 15 state journalism awards in 2020, including two best-in-state, even though most of the students were in their first year of journalism.
"I am so incredibly honored to hold this title not only as a Mid-Pacific student but also to represent the state of Hawai'i," says Sawai. "This is not only an award that I have earned, it is a huge reflection on my time in high school and why I'm passionate about journalism. I hope this win represents the importance of journalism and how essential it is to stand up for student opinion and freedom of speech."
"Chelsee worked hard, not only on her own stories for the newspaper, but as a supportive leader on the news team," says Mid-Pacific Journalism Teacher, Kara Hisatake. "Her portfolio speaks for itself-her years of experience in journalism, the many different types of stories she's written, photos she's taken-and Chelsee's work shows that journalism introduces students to various skills.I hope that Chelsee's work and her win inspires a curiosity in other students about journalism, and a pride that the Na Pueo news team has for the work we put out."
"I would love to thank Dr. H for being such a great and supportive advisor for me over this past school year," shares Sawai. "She has supported me in and out of the classroom and I would not be where I am as a journalist without her guidance, support, teaching, and knowledge."
Sawai's award-winning portfolio may be reviewed online.