Jan. 6, 2019  

AP Mays and Seminole Ridge Win 2019 High School Newsroom Grants

In its second year, the SPJ Florida board is proud to announce that it is awarding two grants to two worthy high school newsrooms, Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts in Miami and Seminole Ridge Community High School in Loxahatchee.

Both newsrooms will receive $500 and will report back by the end of the school year how it helped them.

“We recieved double the number of applications in our second year of offering the High School Newsroom Grant, and the scholarship committee had the difficult task of choosing just two schools,” says SPJ Florida President Christiana Lilly.

The first grant will be awarded to AP Mays, a magnet school with a focus on the arts. Devin Marsh, the adviser for APMaysMedia.com, wrote in his application about how there is just one DSLR camera for all students from sixth to 12th grade to use for projects.

“We are a Title 1 school, so my underprivileged students cherish any of the equipment they can use from the program,” Marsh, a two-time FSPA Teacher of the Year winner, wrote. “Adding another camera would allow more students the opportunity to create the visions they are creating in their minds and afford them the chance to get one step closer to becoming professionals in the video world.”

The second grant will be awarded to Seminole Ridge Community High’s newsroom, which is starting from scratch after years of neglect.

“The newspaper program at the school seems to have long become an afterthought. What was once a class is now only a club with only two to three staff members,” adviser Eric Jourgensen wrote. “It’s a vicious spiral as the lack of funds don’t allow for any way to grow the program or site which then leads to poor visitation of the site which means no advertising.”

Adviser Eric Jourgensen wrote that with the money, he hopes to “get our newspaper re-established as a program that the students, school, and community can once again be proud of.”

SPJ Florida has offered scholarships for college students for years, including the newer Molly Turner College Scholarship for women in broadcast, and added its High School Newsroom Grant in 2018 to help at-need high school programs. The chapter believes that early exposure and support of journalism leads to a strong foundation in news reporting and the First Amendment.

“AP Mays and Seminole Ridge are just two stories of how high school journalism programs in our state are in a great need,” Lilly says. “Our board wants to help as much as we can, and we hope these grants can help give them a leg up. We look forward to seeing what these students are able to accomplish this semester.”

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