(Copyright 2000. The Bristol Press. All rights reserved.)

From The The Bristol Press

Student writers capture awards for journalism

March 15, 2000

The Bristol Press

The Scholastic Press Forum honored six student writers for
The Tattoo, the teen news page published in The Bristol
Press, with prizes for news, news features and cartoons
during a conference Wednesday at American International
College in Springfield, Mass..

Bristol Eastern High School senior Joe Wilbur and Bristol
Central High School graduate Amanda Lehmert each won in
the regional high school journalism contest for the second
consecutive year.

Will Hughes, head of the college's journalism program, said
more than 2,800 contest entries were received from 318
different high schools. He said he saw "some really good
work" from many of them, including The Tattoo.

Wilbur and Lehmert shared a news feature award with two
other students -- Eastern seniors Hila Yosafi and Merissa
Mastropiero -- for a story they wrote together for The Tattoo
raising questions about the "Lancer Lockdown" plan Eastern
plans to use during emergencies.

Lehmert, a freshman at Boston's Emerson College, and
Wellesley College freshman Jessica Majerus nabbed a prize
for a Tattoo story they wrote in May 1999 about the early
years of one of the Columbine High School gunmen in
Colorado. They interviewed students who had known Eric
Harris when he lived in New York.

Courtney Pendleton, a senior at St. Paul Catholic High
School, gained recognition for a cartoon she drew for The
Tattoo about the Columbine tragedy.

Wilbur also emerged with a prize in the news category for a
freelance piece he wrote for The Bristol Press last spring
about a wake held at Page Park after a fellow student died in
a car crash.

Wilbur said it was difficult to write about schoolmate Cassi
Boutwell's death "because of its sensitive nature." He said,
though, he felt better about his work after her friends and
family thanked him for his efforts.

Yosafi, who has written regularly for The Tattoo since the
start of her freshman year, said she enjoyed it.

"I want teens to understand what's going on and I like to help
voice other peoples' views and get the news out," said Yosafi,
who is heading for the University of Connecticut in the fall.
She plans to study business.

"I like writing for The Tattoo because I can write about
important issues that many people don't even know exist, but
in the end mean a lot to the citizens of Bristol," Mastropiero

Majerus, who graduated last year from Mayo High School in
Rochester, Minn., is the niece of Tattoo adviser Jackie
Majerus. Jessica Majerus contributed a cartoon and some
writing to The Tattoo last spring in the aftermath of the
Columbine shooting.

The Tattoo is a student-written page published in The Press
on occasional Mondays. 

During weekly Wednesday night sessions at the paper, The
Tattoo's volunteer members learn the ins and outs of
journalism from two veteran Press reporters who donate their
time, Majerus and Steve Collins.

Any high school age student with an interest in journalism,
writing or photography is welcome to participate. For
information, contact Majerus or Collins at 523-9632.

During the past six years, The Tattoo has collected a slew of
reporting and writing awards. They include prizes from the
Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists, the Quill and
Scroll Society and the Connecticut Committee for Youth
Suicide Prevention. Several students have also won
journalism-related scholarships.

The prize-winning stories, and much more, are featured on
The Tattoo's web site at www.ReadTheTattoo.com.

The only other Connecticut high schools to win prizes from
the group were Westhill High in Stamford, Conard High in
West Hartford, Jonathan Law High in Milford and Staples
High in Westport.

To read two of the winning stories, click on links below:

By Amanda Lehmert and Jessica Majerus

By Hila Yosafi, Joe Wilbur, Merissa Mastropiero and Amanda Lehmert