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Student Journalists Receive Prestigious Awards

The student journalism programs at Columbia Heights Public Schools received several state journalism awards from the Minnesota High School Press Association last week.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) journalism students moved their previously printed newspaper the “Heights Herald” to a digital format and the School’s TV news network (“Hylander News Network” or “HNN”) is now a podcast. Despite these major shifts, student journalism work placed seven times.

“I'm incredibly Proud of my students for accomplishing so much in such a difficult time,” said CHHS English, Journalism, & Film Studies Teacher Chris Polley, who serves as an advisor for both the “Heights Herald” and “HNN.” “Everyone's had their own obstacles during the pandemic, but to suddenly pivot from print newspaper to news website, and from broadcast video program to podcast, and still be awarded for our efforts feels really satisfying.”

Awards received include the following:

2nd Place -- Photo Illustration: Heights Herald staff celebrates at Annie's Parlour
The Heights Herald: Molly Wilson (Class of '20) & Gissel Inamagua (Class of '21)

2nd Place -- Newspaper Page/Spread Design: Cancel Culture (Correct or Corrupt?)
The Heights Herald: Peter Heryla (Class of '20)

4th Place -- Broadcast Feature: In Memory of Kobe & Gianna
Hylander News Network: Mubarak Hassan (Class of '20), Maddy Lourey (Class of '20), & Kevin Taylor (Class of '20)

5th Place -- Editorial Cartoon: Maximize the minimum wage
The Heights Herald: Sol Schindler (Class of '21)

5th Place -- Feature Story: Reading as pastime enjoys resurgence during quarantine
The Heights Herald: Sol Schindler (Class of '21)

5th Place -- News Photo: Marimba ensemble performs for country stars
The Heights Herald: Molly Wilson (Class of '20)

7th Place -- Best in Show: Newspaper Website
The Heights Herald Staff: HeightsHerald.org

“The students put in the work and channeled their passion, and it's thrilling now that it's paid off,” Polley noted. “We're looking forward to continuing to produce high-quality scholastic journalism in multiple formats again this year.”