Placing second in the Yearbook Sweepstakes and third in the California All-Stars for print editions, the El Camino Real yearbook and The Matador newspaper staffs brought back awards from the 2018 Southern California Journalism Education Association (SCJEA) State Write-Offs held at Rancho Dominguez Prep High School on March 17.
With over 300 participants in the competition, both publications competed against different high schools, including Beverly Hills, Irvine, and Walnut. The Matador newspaper competed in Critical Review, Editorial Writing, Editorial Cartoon, Feature, News, News Layout, Novice News, Photography, Quiz Bowl, and Sports Feature, while El Camino Real yearbook competed in Yearbook Copy and Design, Theme Development, and Photography.
“[My] event was Theme Development, so I got to write an opening copy and explain how the hypothetical given school would organize their yearbook,” senior Sydney Tran, co-editor-in-chief of the yearbook, said. “Writing the opening copy for [the] yearbook is always an enjoyable thing to do since it’s so descriptive, dramatic, and quirky.”
From The Matador newspaper, junior Lucas Jorgensen placed 13th in Critical Review; senior Carlos Carrillo placed third, junior Eileen Ong, fifth, and junior Echo Dieu, sixth in Editorial Writing; juniors Angela Lu placed fifth and junior Kelly Lac placed 11th in Editorial Cartoon; junior Kenny Lam placed 14th in News; junior Brianna Huynh-Tong received a superior rating and junior Clara Quach received an excellent rating in Novice News; senior Karina Matias placed 14th in Newspaper Layout.
“I was really pleased with SCJEA this year, especially winning a California All-Star rating, ” Carrillo, co-editor-in-chief of the newspaper, said. “We had a lot of people who placed, and it was helpful to compete against the best schools in Southern California and see where we stand and in what we can improve.”
From the El Camino Real yearbook, seniors Patricia Lipana and Rou Wen placed third in Yearbook Copy; seniors Jacob Rodriguez and Sydney Tran placed third in Yearbook Theme. Their combined scores were high enough to win second place in Yearbook Sweepstakes.
“I felt the same sense of passion and excitement for sharing people’s stories as I did when I first came into yearbook, and that’s why I was so happy to receive an award,” Lipana said. “I write because I’m passionate about it, and in those moments, I was so immersed in all of the possible story angles I could’ve taken that I completely forgot that it was even a competition.”
With this being their last high school journalism competition, the competition was bittersweet for some current senior participants.
“For SCJEA, I had a realer, stronger sense of urgency to win,” Tran said. “For SCJEA, it really was do or die since I’m a senior. If I didn’t place at SCJEA this year, I’d never place there.”
Overall, the annual event gave both publications an opportunity to explore their strengths and weaknesses while bonding as a team.