Bhattarai named Journalist of the Year


Bhattarai named Journalist of the Year
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
Peggy Miller
281-498-8110, ext.
[email protected]
Mitzi Neely
[email protected]
Lori Herbst
972-539-1591, ext.
[email protected]
Jan Cagle
[email protected]
Neva Hand
State Director
[email protected]
Pat Gathright
Convention Director
210-650-1100, ext. 366
[email protected]
Brenda Slatton
Convention Director
[email protected]
Cindy Todd
Past President
512-732-9280, ext.
[email protected]
Rhonda Moore
Executive Director
[email protected]
Bhattarai named Journalist of the Year
Connally High School senior named finalist for national award
hen her newspaper adviser pulled
her out of English class, Abha
Bhattarai braced herself to hear bad
news. The paper was due to the printer that
morning, and pages had been crashing, so
Bhattarai expected to hear that all of the
pages were gone.
What adviser Cathy Kincaid told her instead was that she had been named Texas
High School Journalist of the Year.
“I was excited, and the news was almost
a bit overwhelming,” Bhattarai said. “I’ve
met so many talented and versatile high
school journalists from different conventions
that I really had
no idea what to
I’m not even sure I
Bhattarai received
the award
realized I’d won
at the ILPC conuntil Ms. Kincaid
vention April 18
started screaming. in Austin. Two
weeks before
The award is as
that, she was
named one of the
much of an
four finalists for
inspiration to do
well in the future as
Journalist of the
it is a credit to my
Year. She rework in the last four ceived the $1,500
Bill Taylor Meyears.
morial ScholarAbha Bhattarai ship from TAJE
senior and a $2,000
scholarship as a
national finalist.
“[Being a national finalist] was one of those things I was
prepared to lose but hoping to win,” she said.
“I’m not even sure I realized I’d won until
Ms. Kincaid started screaming. The award
is as much of an inspiration to do well in the
P.O. Box 5554
Austin, TX
May 2004
Texas High School Journalist of the Year Abha
Bhattarai works at her computer. Bhattatai is a
senior at Pflugerville Connally High School and
plans to attend Northwestern University.
future as it is a credit to my work in the last
four years.”
Kincaid has taught Bhattarai since she
was freshman.
“She has really taught all the staff what
it takes to get a feature story,” Kincaid said.
“After her stories appear, I hear questions
from the rest of the staff like ‘How did you
find this person to interview?’ or ‘How did
you get them to tell you all this?’ She loves
the investigation for finding a story.”
Bhattarai first became involved in journalism in middle school.
“At the end of my eighth grade year, another reporter and I got an exclusive opportunity to interview the district’s new superintendent,” she said. “That was my first
‘real’ interview. I had to do background research and really understand the district’s
policies before composing questions. The excitement from that interview carried me
through the rest of my eighth grade year and
See ‘Bhattarai’ on page 4
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
Keeping the faith
May 2004
Advisers should work to overcome
student apathy, lack of financial support
With almost 24 years completed, tweaked over the summer.
funds to the high school and yet we
I’m counting down the years to retireI’m contemplating learning were still required to publish coverment. Unfortunately, hundreds, pos- InDesign and looking forward to age for the NGC in both the newspasibly thousands of teachers through- working with colleagues at the ATPI per and yearbook. It’s kind of like the
out our state and nation are taking workshop this summer. I’m also hop- smaller schools that have to cover Kthat leap this year so that they will not ing that I’ll win another digital cam- 12 in their publications, only there are
lose benefits paid by their spouses era to aid in our struggle with going over 1,200 kids just in our ninth grade
over the years. My
digital. And that and very few buy a yearbook. My
numbers don’t quite
brings another principal understands the frustraFrom the President
add up to 80, so I figconcern to mind: tions; I just hope he can find some
ure I’ll keep doing
funds to help us out.
Peggy Miller
what I do for a few
While GovI don’t intend for this to sound like
Alief Hastings High School
TAJE President
more years. I fear that
ernor Perry was a gripe session. I just want to say that
our students will pay the price for the
trying to find we are all in this together. In talking
greedy antics of our government funds for education, my staff was try- with two journalism teachers in the
when non-teachers enter the class- ing to sell yearbooks in a school where past couple of months, one young
rooms in the fall to fill the vacant spots many don’t know what a yearbook is adviser said that she is “through with
left by experienced educators.
or really do not care. In a school of this business.” She’s tired of dealing
The days of double dipping might 4200+, we struggle to sell 700 year- with kids who won’t follow through
also be over for those retire/rehire books, less than one-sixth of the popu- and get the job done, putting their
teachers who have actually been mak- lation. I talked to Anna Hodges, who work off on others or the adviser. A
ing a nice wage for the past few years. teaches at Cinco Ranch High School, more seasoned teacher is “burned
Our district just shocked possible re- and heard that she ordered 2,200 out” right now and needs a break
tirees with the news that no former books. She had parents calling to beg from the publications classroom, but
teachers will be rehired until after for the extra ones she might receive. I she said that her love for journalism
Sept. 1. I just hope that there are will wouldn’t know
would bring
be a nice crop of new, energetic teach- what that’s like,
her back.
ers ready to take the helm and fill all and probably the
While the
the open positions.
demands and
While the demands and
Hearing that five of the English schools in Texas
frustrations of
teachers I lunch with are retiring, my are more like my
the job somefrustrations of the job
first thought was jealousy, but then I school. In talking
times get us
thought about the house note and with yearbook
sometimes get us down,
“my kids,” figuring that I could not company repremake us quesI intend to keep the faith
abandon either. After surviving this sentatives, they
tion whether
school year with almost a totally new confirmed that
we are in our
and accept the
staff, I figure it can only get better.
sales were down
right minds or
Our school theme for TAKS testing in many schools,
in the right job,
challenges for another
this year was “It ain’t over ‘til it’s while only the
I intend to keep
over,” by the late, great Yogi Berra. more affluent
the faith and acAnd I think, how true this is. The re- schools, or those
cept the chalsponsibilities of being a yearbook/ rich in tradition,
lenges for annewspaper adviser are never over. We have maintained
other year. With
final one deadline and begin working high sales percentages.
only a few days
on the next. The end of May actually
Budgets for 2005 were due in April, left this school year, I encourage you
does bring closure for those with and I requested increased funds to to finish strong, then kick back with a
spring deliveries, but we still have to help finance our publications since good book, enjoy the 10 weeks or so
worry about planning a new adver- both the newspaper and yearbook of retirement, and then head back to
tising campaign, summer workshop were struggling to pay printing costs. class in the fall with a fresh attitude
and getting templates created for next When our Ninth Grade Center and a renewed passion for advising.
year ’s book so that they can be opened five years ago, the district cut Have a great summer!
May 2004
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
‘Why do we need this?’
School papers have opportunity to communicate
importance of curriculum to students, parents
What does a high school diploma ing 200 parents-is physically incamean?
pable of communicating purposes,
If education were really only “read- reasons and goals of her students’
ing, writing and arithmetic,” students memorization of the “Prologue” to
would finish their formal schooling “The Canterbury Tales” in Middle Enafter the sixth grade.
glish. The difficulty of the assignment
Many subjects taught in high is compounded by a lack of “vision”
school do not have visible immediate from parents.
practical applications. The one mostWhat better medium, then, to
asked question by parents of students handle such a daunting task than the
who are having difhigh school newsState Director’s Report
ficulty with an aspaper? Through an
signment is “Why
interview with the
Neva Hand
does he need that
physics teacher, the
Henderson High School
anyway?” Unfortunewspaper
reTAJE State Director
nately, the educaporter can commutional community is failing to answer nicate to students and their parents
that question to their satisfaction, if in- the purpose of a “marble machine”
deed it is bothering to answer it at all. project. He can explain why a freshOne of the greatest challenges to man science student must build a
regaining the respect the community three-foot freestanding tower out of
once had for its school system and its one sheet of copy paper and five strips
employees is communication. Parents of tape or why a sophomore must colstruggling with balking students may lect and scientifically identify 25 speknow what the project entails but do cies of native wild flowers.
not see the value of its completion
Newspaper advisers often overother than their children’s passing look opportunities to improve relagrade. They have no ammunition to tions with the community because
answer the “Why?” particularly if they bristle at the term PR. A high
they themselves were not strong high school newspaper is not-and should
school students. The result is half- not be-a PR tool for the school’s adhearted parental support.
ministration. But advisers should
Teachers see these problems but help their students search for ways to
have little time to work on their rem- better their communities by doing
edies. The English teacher responsible what journalists do best: communicatfor more than 100 students-represent- ing.
Time to renew membership
Invoices for TAJE membership
for the 2004-05 school year are enclosed in this newsletter.
Members should check the
invoice to see when their membership expires. Those who do
not need to renew TAJE mem-
bership this year may use the invoice to join JEA, ATPI or SIPA.
Members who only need to join
JEA may do so through TAJE.
TAJE receives a rebate from JEA
for each member who joins JEA
through TAJE.
named top
Dr. James McSwain, principal of
Lamar High School in Houston,
was named 2004 Administrator of
the Year at the ILPC convention in
In her letter of nomination, yearbook adviser Charlene Merchant
said Dr. McSwain has been very
supportive of the journalism programs at Lamar and has provided
the department with state-of-theart equipment and facilities to produce the publications and a daily
TV show.
“He has made a huge investment in the facilities that we
share,” she wrote. “Our Lamar
Cable Television studio has every
capability that any TV station has,
except for the ability to produce
live remote broadcasts. The recently reformatted news magazine
is a four-color publication, and Dr.
McSwain has supported the
change in format enthusiastically.”
McSwain was just as supportive
when the yearbook staff decided to
switch to a full-color book, Merchant said.
“Not only was he supportive of
our wish,” she said, “he also assisted us with equipment and
workshops, and even told me not
to worry about the money.”
Merchant said McSwain understands the importance of scholastic journalism.
“Dr. McSwain is a forward-seeing man who realizes scholastic
journalism is not just a class and a
vehicle for kids to capture their
high school memories,” she said.
“He knows that these students are
recording history while learning
valuable skills in technology, social
interaction, business, leadership,
writing, photography and graphic
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
named Texas
of the Year
Continued from page 1
into the newspaper staff in high
Bhattarai plans to attend
Northwestern University with
a double major in print journalism and statistics. She would
like to become a reporter for either a newspaper or a news
Kincaid said one of
Bhattarai’s most memorable interviews was with a homeless
man who was living near the
football field.
“She discovered that she
could cover him truthfully with
his discussion of his happiness
with his life or go for the emotional side with his discussion
of the people on the streets who
tried to help him,” Kincaid said.
“She combined both for a perspective look into a homeless
life. The story won her a second
place in CSPA’s Gold Circle
awards this year.”
Bhattarai said journalism
has taught her to tackle issues
that interest her.
“Interviewing has taught me
to think quickly, ask appropriate questions and to interact
with a wide range of people
without being judgmental,” she
said. “Not only have I become
a better journalist through my
interview experiences, I have
also become more courageous
and I’ve found I’m not afraid to
take risks when it comes to
writing. If there’s a story, I’ll
cover it, and I think that’s the
most important part of being a
May 2004
Regional representatives plan
workshops for next school year
Seven regional workshops are
planned for members in August and
The workshops will include lunch,
and participants will receive a certificate for in-service credit. For more information, contact your regional representative. The representatives and their email addresses are as follows:
Region I
Luinda Verden
Caprock HS
3001 E. 34th St.
Amarillo 79103
[email protected]
Region II
Leland Mallett
Big Spring HS
707 East 11th Place
Big Spring 79720
432-264-3641 - School
432-268-9599 - Home
[email protected]
Workshop date: Aug. 28
Region III
Susan Duncan
Pine Tree HS
P.O. Box 5078
Longview 75608
903-295-5031 ext. 265
[email protected]
Region IV
Peggy Ligner
El Paso Coronado HS
100 Champions Pl.
El Paso 79912
[email protected]
Region V
Sue Jett
Churchill HS
12049 Blanco
San Antonio 78216
210-442-0800 ext. 262
[email protected]
Region VI
Kim Hocott
Deer Park HS
710 W. San Augustine
Deer Park 77536
[email protected]
Region VII
Gay Vaughn
Mary Carroll HS
5301 Weber Rd.
Corpus Christi 78411
361-853-0151 ext. 228
[email protected]
In addition, a “roving” workshop
will be held in the Dallas area. For
information on this workshop, contact Cindy Berry or Kent Smith.
Cindy Berry
Decatur HS
1201 W. Thompson St.
Decatur 76234
[email protected]
Kent Smith
Gainesville HS
1201 Lindsay St.
Gainesville 76240
[email protected]
Regional representatives will meet
with the Executive Board in June.
Members with questions or concerns
for the Board should contact their area
representative by June 6.
May 2004
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
ATPI to host workshop
for advisers in June
ATPI’s annual workshop for teachers will be held June 16-19 at Texas
The $200 registration fee covers the
workshop, all lunches, dinner on Friday evening and the ATPI Curriculum CD. Teachers who have attended
the Summer Workshop in the past
who bring one new person with them
this year can register both individuals for $175 each.
Participants can choose to stay at
either at the Holiday Inn or the Holiday Lodge in Commerce, less than
five minutes from the campus. The
Holiday Inn’s rate is $59.99/night
plus 7 percent city tax. The rate at the
Holiday Lodge is $49.99/night plus 2
percent city tax. Rooms must be reserved by June 1 with a credit card.
Contact the Holiday Inn at 1-903-8864777 or the Holiday Lodge at 1-903886-3165.
Scheduled classes include the following.
This class, designed for teachers
who are switching from another page
layout program or who want a good
understanding of the software, will
offer hands-on instruction and answers to questions in how to use this
All computers and software will be
provided, but participants may bring
their laptops if they would like. The
class will be led by Rochelle Palmberg
of Hebron High School and Pat
Gathright of MacArthur High School.
On Friday, a trainer from Adobe will
join the group.
Idea Generator
Participants in this class will share
and create projects for the teacher and
student. Discussions will be held on
how to encourage creativity. Participants will share existing ideas and develop new assignments for others to
Participants will choose from a list
of new ideas developed by the class
and create images based on assignments as if they were students. Teachers should bring a 35mm camera or
digital camera and five current project
ideas to share. Film and developing
will be provided.
Participants should have basic
knowledge of film development and
darkroom techniques and/or digital
imaging techniques. Tom Delaney of
Fort Worth Country Day School and
Jeff Grimm of Trinity High School will
team-teach the class.
In this class, teachers utilize stateof-the-art multimedia programs to
develop interactive projects for the
classroom. All equipment and software will be provided for class participants unless they’d like to bring
their own digital video and still cameras to work with. Participants are
also encouraged to bring a CD-R to
take work home. The class will be led
by Jake Palenske of NCompass Media and Craig Coyle of Sam Houston
High School.
The Working Photographer
Participants will work with three
professional photographers in a digital environment to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day process
of photojournalism and editorial photography. They will develop story and
assignment ideas and then work
through the shooting and editing process with the help of the three instructors.
The class is limited to 15 participants who will each have an Olympus
E-1 digital camera to work with during the workshop, or participants may
bring their own digital cameras.
The class will be led by professional photographers John Isaac and
Jeffrey Aaronson along with John
Knaur from Olympus.
For more information, visit the
ATPI Web site at
Newsletter to be
available online
Members voted to change
distribution of the Upfront
newsletter beginning next year.
Newsletters will be put on
the TAJE Web site instead of
being mailed,with the exception of the August newsletter.
The August newsletter, which
contains convention information, will continued to be
mailed to members.
The other newsletters will
be available online. Members
will be notified by e-mail
when the newsletters are on the
Web site.
Clip contest
Certificates for clip contest
winners were distributed at
the TAJE business meeting
during the ILPC convention in
A complete list of winners
can be found on the TAJE Web
site at
Dates set for
2004 Fall Fiesta
The 2004 Fall Fiesta convention will be held Oct. 23-25 at
the Adam’s Mark Hotel in San
Hotel information can be
found online at
Speaker forms are also on the
Web site. Members are urged to
sign up to present a session at
the convention.
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
May 2004
Trailblazer Award Nomination Form
Purpose: To recognize individuals/staffs whose initial risk-taking efforts and
subsequent experiences (whether wholly successful or not) to expand the scope and capability of Texas scholastic journalism benefit others who follow their lead.
Eligibility: Those who endeavor to “push the envelope” of conventional scholastic
journalism to new venues or methods.
Entries must be postmarked no later than May 31, 2004.
Mail nomination forms to:
Rhonda Moore
P.O. Box 5554
Austin, TX 78763-5554
Name of Nominee:
Please explain this individual’s contributions to the field of journalism on a separate sheet of
paper. Include examples of how he/she has helped to improve scholastic
journalism in Texas and how these improvements have benefitted others. Attach this form
and send both to the TAJE address.
Signature of TAJE member nominating
May 2004
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
Friend of Journalism Award Nomination Form
Purpose: To note outstanding contributions to scholastic journalism by
persons/organizations not directly involved in the daily instructional process
(i.e., outside the classroom).
Eligibility: Those whose instruction, service and/or assistance, financial sponsorship or
personal dedication and advocacy toward the betterment of scholastic journalism in Texas
deserves recognition.
Entries must be postmarked no later than May 31, 2004.
Mail nomination forms to:
Rhonda Moore
P.O. Box 5554
Austin, TX 78763-5554
Name of Nominee:
Please explain the contributions of this individual/organization to scholastic journalism on a
separate sheet of paper. Attach this form and send both to the TAJE address.
Signature of TAJE member nominating
Texas Association of Journalism Educators
May 2004
Scholarships presented at ILPC convention in April
TAJE presented the
following scholarships at
the ILPC convention in
Austin April 18:
Marie LeBlanc
Stoney Point HS
Sherry Zhang
Cinco Ranch HS
Kelly Martens
Seminole HS
Simone See
Seminole HS
Alicia Roberts
Texas HS
Abha Bhattarai
Connally HS
$1,500 Bill Taylor
Memorial Scholarship
Ryan Miller
McNeil HS
$1,000 Jim Davidson
Memorial Scholarship
Other scholarships presented at the ceremony include the following:
Steven Zawilinski
Allen HS
DeWitt C. Reddick
Memorial Scholarship
Bianca Diaz
Seminole HS
$1,000 Julia Jeffries
Memorial Scholarship
Summer workshop
Jenny Jaeckle
MacArthur HS
P.O.Box 5554
Austin, TX 78763-5554
Maddy Gould
Hurst L.D. Bell HS
$1,000 ILPC Scholarship
Annie Marks
Austin Travis HS
Jostens Scholarship
Ashlea Majors
Cy-Fair HS
$1,500 Herff Jones
Megan Thomsen
Pflugerville HS
$1,000 Walsworth
The following scholarships were presented
by Partnership for a
Drug-Free Texas and the
Texas Commission on
Alcohol and Drug
Jeffrey Scott
McKinney HS
First Place
Large Schools
Kelsey Jukam
Second Place
Large Schools
Abha Bhattarai
Pflugerville Connally
Third Place
Large Schools
Danielle Folsom
Deer Park HS
Fourth Place
Large Schools
Jonathan Nowlin
Shallowater HS
First Place
Small Schools
Nell Millard
Comfort HS
Second Place
Small Schools
Beth Cantrell
Utopia HS
Third Place
Small Schools
Jaime Perez
Comfort HS
Fourth Place
Small Schools

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