The Reckoner knocked their competition flat onto their backs at the 18th Toronto Star High School Newspaper Awards on 22 May 2014. Out of the twenty-one categories, members of The Reckoner staff earned either first place or runner-up in twelve different categories. The results are as follows:
Best Newspaper – Volunteer (1st Place) – The Reckoner Staff
Best Electronic Newspaper (1st Place) – The Reckoner Staff
Electronic Newspaper Layout & Design, Special Feature Page (Runner-up) – The Reckoner Staff
Humour (Runner-up) – Kasra Koushan
Photography – Feature (Runner-up) – Sabrina Bertsch
Illustration (1st Place) – Mara Gagiu
Editorial Cartoon (1st Place) – Susie Liu
Editorial Writing (1st Place) – Susie Liu
Critical Writing (1st Place) – MJ Chen
Feature Writing – Long (Runner-up) – Vasili Manikas
Reporting (Runner-up) – Sabrina Bertsch
Sports Writing – Reporting (1st Place) – Eric Su
This year was a competitive one, with a total of seven hundred and sixty two entries.
The winners and their representatives were invited to a luncheon at the Toronto Star Vaughan Press Centre. There, they were treated to a guided tour of the factory, where they watched massive one-tonne rolls of paper turn into fresh newspapers hot off the press.
Afterwards, the winners were treated to lunch, followed shortly by some speakers to open the awards ceremony.
Alison Uncles, associate editor at the Toronto Star, gave the welcoming speech. She spoke about the power of journalism, and joked about her delight at seeing high school students preferring writing newspaper articles over completing homework.
“This dedication that you folks have isn’t something they teach in journalism school,” said Uncles. “The fact that you have this already is a great sign. You have it right down to your bones.”
Jayme Poisson was next to take the podium. Poisson is a writer renowned for her work in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, her article on Storm the genderless baby (possibly the most viewed article on the Toronto Star website), as well as her work on the Rob Ford crack scandal. Poisson addressed what it is like to be a journalist, what the rewards are, and how she goes about asking the hard questions.
“It is my duty to give voice to those who don’t have the power to speak out for themselves,” said Poisson.
One of the most prestigious awards is the Brad Henderson Award, given to a student who shows “outstanding journalistic potential and strength of character.” Daniel Henderson, Brad Henderson’s son, presented the award named in his late father’s honour. This year, the award went to Jolson Lim from Riverdale Collegiate Institute.
The awards ceremony concluded with Alison Uncles quoting a line from the film Akeelah and the Bee:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
Following the awards, members of The Reckoner’s staff as well as co-founder Mahan Nekoui and former teacher staff advisor Ms. Helen Brown were interviewed by Nicholas Keung, a writer from the Toronto Star. The Toronto Star’s article may be found here.