at the North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute summer workshop at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Photo by Bradley Wilson

High School Journalist of the Year winners announced

The North Carolina Scholastic Media Association has announced First Flight High School journalist Mary Pat Thompson as the 2017 Rachel Rivers-Coffey North Carolina High School Journalist of the Year.

Thompson is the editor-in-chief of the First Flight (Kill Devil Hills) school newspaper, Nighthawk News, where she’s written stories on topics including the LGBTQ+ community, junior firefighters and a fellow student’s death.

Alternates for Journalist of the Year are Luke Buxton of Enloe High School in Raleigh, Maya Gacina of Riverside High School in Durham and Xenna Smith of TC Roberson High School in Asheville.

Buxton serves as Enloe’s first director of sports communications
and also serves as the sports anchor for the school’s daily news program, the ‘Loe Down. Gacina serves as head editor of Riverside’s newspaper, The Pirate’s Hook. Smith is the executive producer of TC Roberson’s news-broadcast, the GF Current.

Since 2001, the North Carolina Press Foundation (NCPF) has funded the annual scholarship award in memory of Rachel Rivers-Coffey, former N.C. Press Association president.

NCPF will award a $3,000 scholarship to Thompson. The three alternates will each receive $1,000.

The foundation will also award the winners’ journalism programs. The Journalist of the Year’s program will receive $500. The three alternates’ programs will each receive $250.

Thompson will now represent the state in the National High School Journalist of the Year scholarship competition. Winners will be announced April 9 at the National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle.

The Rivers-Coffey state scholarships and awards will be presented June 22 at UNC-Chapel Hill during the N.C. Scholastic Media Institute, a summer journalism workshop open to students and teachers across the state.


Donate to NCSMA

N.C. Scholastic Media Association is celebrating 75 years of service to high school journalism.

To commemorate the milestone, we are accepting unrestricted donations that can be used for need-based workshop scholarships, technology grants, substitute teacher pay (allowing journalism teachers to accompany students to workshops), workshop travel stipends and on and on. You may give your gift in honor of or in memory of your high school journalism teacher.

Please join us in supporting North Carolina high school journalists and high school journalism teachers.

The link to give online is here:

Thank you for your support of journalism education.


Advanced standards and scholastic journalism

N.C. Scholastic Media Advisers Association members have prepared this presentation illustrating how easily advanced standards may be applied to high school journalism classes.

Honors Journalism course materials

Thinking of developing an honors journalism course? Take advantage of North Carolina curricular materials collected for you here.