Apr. 15, 2023  

2023 Grant Winners

Five schools in four cities spread across 400 miles win $500 each.

By Christiana Lilly

The SPJ Florida scholarship and grant committee awarded five $500 grants to high school journalism programs for 2023, thanks to the board voting to increase funding to the program.

The winning schools are…

  • Sumner High School in Riverview
  • MAST Academy in Miami
  • Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland
  • Jefferson High School in Tampa
  • Kathleen High School in Lakeland

One of the most frequent requests for the high school journalism grant is to use the money to purchase camera equipment. Often, students must rely on their camera phones or borrow a single camera. At Sumner High School in Riverview, they will be using the grant to purchase camera equipment to be able to photograph fast-paced sporting events.

At MAST Academy in Miami, the student newspaper had to rely on the yearbook staff or using students’ camera phones to take photos. Adviser Matthew Bunch shared that with the grant, the class was able to purchase an EOS Rebel T7, two lenses and a carrying bag

“We were able to capture images of senior graduating events and share them through social media, as well as complete our senior Issue and ensure that every senior was included, even those that were not able to take senior photos for our yearbook,” he said.

Oftentimes, advisers inherit a failing journalism or yearbook program and have the daunting task to revive it. This was the case at Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland and Jefferson High School in Tampa, which is why the committee decided to award the grant to those teachers. “It’s exactly what this grant is for,” one judge said.

To further their journalism education, the students at Kathleen High School in Lakeland were raising money to be able to attend the annual Florida Student Press Association conference. A judge noted, “They put in legwork and just need a little help crossing the finish line, and several students will benefit.”

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