Two Robinson journalists nominated for 2018 Writer of the Year
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Lillian Martin (’18) and Anna Thomas (’18) entered journalism in sophomore year and freshman year respectively. And after their years of experience, both are now up for the 2018 Writer of the Year award to top off their last years on staff.
Martin and Thomas started from humble beginnings as staff writers. They rose to their editor positions with their minds set on doing what they can to help the newspaper.
Since they first stepped foot into the journalism room, they have not only grown as people, but as writers. And their efforts have paid off this year as they are among the top three seniors who were nominated for this award.
Writer of the Year is a title awarded to a senior student-journalist in the state of Florida through the Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA). The contest is open to all seniors whose school publication is a part of FSPA. Schools may only have one nominee per publication, and Martin and Thomas applied individually through the two news publications at Robinson; RHSToday.com and the Knight Writers newspaper.
This award is highly sought after and with two nominees from the same school, the journalism program must be doing something right.
“This is more than just a class I take,” Martin said. “Journalism has made me a better person and has made me notice so many more things. Whenever I go out I look around and I’m like, that’s a story, this is a story; it’s enlightening.”
FSPA hosts a yearly conference in Orlando that draws student-journalists from all over the state. All Robinson journalists, from the news and yearbook staffs, are encouraged to attend the conference where they will participate in workshops and contests meant to improve and celebrate their journalistic skills. A banquet is held at the end, where attendees watch as awards are given out, including the announcement of the Writer of the Year.
“I am proud to be representing Robinson. We’ve come so far from when I first started this program sophomore year,” Martin said. “It is so great to be nominated along with Anna, she’s worked so hard and she has something to show for it.”
Martin has been in journalism since her sophomore year and was named News Editor her senior year. She credits journalism with influencing her to come out of her shell and become more confident in herself. She intends on minoring in communications and working on the newspaper staff at Florida State University.
Like Martin, Thomas was able to find her niche as a journalist at Robinson.
“Room 112, the journalism room, has become my safe haven and I know that I’m okay here,” Thomas said. “The best part about seeing my name was seeing Robinson next to it.”
Thomas started journalism in her freshman year, before transferring to Robinson her junior year. She is now Editor-in-Chief of the online and print publications. She wants to continue journalism in the future and says her success stems from the help of her peers. Thomas credits journalism with expanding many of her personal relationships, both in and outside of school.
“It has totally evolved my relationship with my dad. All the recognition that I’ll ever receive, I just trace it back to him,” Thomas said. “Everything I’ve learned goes back to him and the people before me.”
Thomas and Martin have worked alongside each other for two years now, as they strive to improve the newspaper in anyway possible. Although competing for the same award, they are both rooting for each other and won’t let the decision change affect the support they have for one another.
“I will forever believe Lillian is a better journalist than I am,” Thomas said. “I’m proud I can work at her side.”
Regardless of the outcome, journalism teacher and publication advisor Nancy Oben is still proud of the work that’s been accomplished as editors.
“I knew Lillian would be a great news editor because she’s not afraid to get the story,” Oben said. “Anna does a great job in really inspiring people to lead and want to do well for the newspaper. I’m going to be very upset when they leave.”
Martin and Thomas have come a long way since their first year of journalism. Not only have they grown into themselves, but they have become leaders and writers who aren’t afraid to take charge.
The FSPA banquet will be held on April 13, where Robinson will find out who will be named the Writer of the Year.