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Journalists prevail despite pandemic, win 35 awards

Overcoming challenges including the pandemic that closed campus for the entire fourth quarter, CVHS journalism students won 32 awards for writing, photography, videos and general excellence in the 2019-2020 school year. The journalism class of 27 students publishes The Olympian newspaper, web site, and social media pages.

Leading the pack in more ways than one were editors-in-chief Katy Siler and Derek Neyer who combined for 17 honors from California News Publishers Association, California Press Women and Journalism Education Association. The two seniors also oversaw production of The Olympian and shared its Editor of the Year award. 

Siler’s highlights included first place honors from CNPA for both column writing and sports writing and interviewing Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento. 

“I’m insanely grateful for the last two years,” said Siler, who’s heading to UC Santa Cruz in the fall. “Journalism is special in that it gives us real-life people skills … It’s the most passionate I’ve ever been about any class I’ve taken.”

Neyer claimed multiple awards for editorial writing, news writing, feature photography and sports photography. A three-year veteran of the program, he’ll study at UC Davis. 

Other notable winners include senior Milagros Aquino, another three-year journalism student who has served as business manager and opinion editor. She won two photography honors and the newspaper’s Hall of Fame award. 

Senior Myla Ogle, the paper’s sports editor and a star soccer athlete, won three sports writing awards including a first place from JEA. 

Senior Michael Tam developed great prowess at breaking news coverage, earning the paper’s Reporter of the Year honor. 

Sophomore Megan Baldwin took quick control of the program’s video productions, earning five honors and a Rookie of the Year award. 

In addition, the full staff won CNPA general excellence honors for its print and online editions and a JEANC commendation for its “Straight Outta Sacramento” news package.  

Even after the pandemic forced schools to close, The Olympian published more than 25 coronavirus-related stories, a special edition devoted to community volunteers and its annual graduation issue. 

Readers can find the students’ work at

A complete list of winners follows: 

Milagros Aquino: JEA, feature photo; CNPA, feature photo; Olympian Hall of Fame

Megan Baldwin: JEA, feature video; JEA, news video; CPW, video interview; CPW, video feature; CPW, news video; Olympian Rookie of the Year

Miguel Bernas: CPW, graphics 

Brittany Bin: CPW, editorial writing

Kayla Craft-Williams: CNPA, sports photo

Tiffany Ho: CNPA, writing; CPW, opinion writing 

Leo Lin: JEA, news video; CPW, video interview; CPW, news video

Elena Lottich: CNPA, feature photo; CPW, feature photo

Derek Neyer: CNPA, feature photo; JEA, editorial writing; JEA, sports photo; JEA, news video; CPW, news story; CPW, sports photo; CPW, video interview; CPW, news video; Olympian Editor of the Year

Myla Ogle: JEA, sports writing; CNPA, sports writing; CPW, sports writing

Rachel Schoenfeld: CPW, feature photo

Katy Siler: CNPA, column writing; CNPA, sports writing; JEA, feature video; JEA, news video; CPW, sports writing; CPW, opinion writing; CPW, video interview; CPW, video feature; CPW, video interview; CPW, news video; Olympian Editor of the Year

Alex Tam: CPW, feature writing

Michael Tam: CPW, opinion writing; Olympian Reporter of the Year

Ashley Tang: CPW, feature photo

Jeanette Wallis: CNPA, column writing

Andrew Watanabe: CPW, editorial writing