(Copyright 1999 by The Bristol Press. All rights reserved.)

May 24, 1999

City teen adds top journalist award to list

Feted for Tattoo work


BRISTOL -- Four years ago, a Bristol Central
High School freshman named Amanda Lehmert
struggled for months to write, with a friend, a
forgettable little tale about skateboarding in the
Mum City.

It was her first story for The Tattoo, the student-
written page focused on teens and published in
The Bristol Press on occasional Mondays.

In the years since, Lehmert pounded out dozens of
stories and opinion pieces that described
everything from the scene at the 1996 presidential
debate in Hartford to the dusty air at Central last
fall that made teachers and students sick.

Her wide-ranging, hard-hitting reporting ability
recently earned her the title of Connecticut's "High
School Journalist of the Year" from the state's
Journalism Education Association.

The 18-year-old Lehmert, who graduates next
month, said  Sunday she never expected to be cited
for "anything of the year" and finds it "very cool"
to win the honor.

Lehmert, who is heading for Emerson College in
Boston this fall,  captured a number of journalism
prizes during the four years she's written for The
Tattoo. She plans to pursue a career in the press.

In today's paper, on page A-6, The Tattoo devoted
an entire page to Lehmert's pictures and writing
about the upcoming Balloons Over Bristol festival.
She said it is "very exciting" to have her work
showcased so prominently.

Today's Tattoo page, said Lehmert, "is just great
because I do a lot with writing but I also love
taking pictures."

Lehmert is a four-time National Gold Key award
winner for high school journalism from the Quill
and Scroll International Honorary Society for High
School Journalists and the National Newspaper

She also won a second place award for in-depth
journalism from the Connecticut Society of
Professional Journalists for her work on a teen
suicide package that ran in The Tattoo in 1996. It
was the first time high school students had ever
won anything in the statewide professional contest.

The Connecticut Committee for Youth Suicide
Prevention also cited Lehmert and The Tattoo for
its annual Distinguished Service Award for the
1996 stories on teen suicide.

The Tattoo staff -- all teenagers -- works under the
supervision of volunteer advisors Steve Collins and
Jackie Majerus, both veteran reporters for The Press.

The Tattoo is in its fifth year and is accepting new
members. Any teenager interested in writing or
photography is welcome.

Questions or comments about The Tattoo, or
inquiries about joining the group, should be
directed to Majerus or Collins at 589-5316 or via
e-mail to SteveJackie@prodigy.net.

Nearly all of Lehmert's stories -- though not yet
her skateboarding piece -- can be found on The
Tattoo's web site at: 

The Kansas-based Journalism Education
Association, Inc. is an independent national
scholastic journalism organization for teachers and
advisers. It is 75 years old.

Click here to reach The Tattoo's writers' index, where all of Lehmert's stories are linked.