Anna Logan of Brookstone School won the most prestigious award and Robert Harris of Jordan Vocational High School won the first-place teacher trophy Tuesday night during the 39th annual Page One Awards in the Bill Heard Theatre at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
Anna received the $1,500 Tucker-Wilder Scholarship, given to the top local high school senior in the journalism category. Harris received the Sara Spano Top Teacher Award.
The awards program, conducted by the Ledger-Enquirer, honors outstanding high school seniors and teachers in the Chattahoochee Valley. The judges are community leaders who assessed the candidates on their scholarship, leadership, service and character.
This year, 198 students from 19 high schools were celebrated at the ceremony for being nominated by their schools to compete for the winner and runner-up awards in 13 categories. Seventeen teachers also were nominated for the Sara Spano Top Teacher Award, named after the late editor of the L-E's food page, columnist and former school board member and teacher.
Harris County was the most-awarded school with six first-place trophies and two runners-up. Columbus High was next with three first places and four runners-up.
Anna impressed the judges in the journalism category by leading the revival of her school's newspaper. She also has been a Brookstone Writing Fellow, writing tutor and contributor to In the Game magazine. Her academic achievements include several honor societies as well as awards for her proficiency in French. Among her extracurricular activities, she has participated in varsity cheerleading, Youth Leadership Columbus and Cuts for a Cure.
Ledger-Enquirer president and publisher Rodney Mahone read an excerpt from the judges comments about Anna: Our winners passion for news and information is contagious. The future of the news media is secure in emerging journalists such as her, who not only understand the value of the printed word but also use new media in connecting and engaging audiences.
Anna said she was in disbelief when she heard her name announced as the winner.
I know that I worked really hard in the past couple of years to get where I am, she said, but I thought everyone else in my category was just amazing at journalism.
She wants to pursue a career in the field because I love people and I love telling stories, and I feel like journalism is a way for me to continue that but also inform people all over the world about whats happening.
In addition to teaching automotive technology, Harris is the head golf and softball coach at Jordan. He is a lead teacher support specialist, Skills-USA adviser and chairman of the Jordan Champion Auto Show.
Ross McDuffie, the Ledger-Enquirers sales director, read an excerpt from the judges comments about Harris: Students became better students by not accepting excuses.
Harris said, Its awesome, just an awesome feeling to be lifted up by your peers and community.
His lessons are more than about cars. For example, he requires his students to use SAT words in their written stories and tests them on that vocabulary every other week.
Even in the automotive field, he said, you still have to be able to communicate on a much higher level these days.
Tuesday nights winners received trophies and $1,000, except Anna, who received $1,500 for winning the Tucker-Wilder Scholarship, named after three former Ledger or Enquirer editors: W.H. Tucker, W.C. Tucker and Bruce Wilder. The runners-up received $300 along with their plaques. In the 39-year history of Page One, more than 7,000 students and teachers have been recognized and more than $515,000 has been awarded.
Columbus Regional Health returned as the program's presenting sponsor this year.
The 2014 winners, followed by the runners-up, in each category are:
Art: Johanna Blair (Harris County), Jacob Dixon (Marion County).
Athletics: Ethan Calhoun (Central), Xavier Woods (Hardaway).
Career/technology: Jacob Hairston (Shaw), Alexis Kelly Barber (Harris County).
Citizenship: Christopher Keough (Harris County), Korie Elizabeth MacDougall (Columbus).
Drama: Mikayla Ryan Cypert (Harris County), Nicholas Bryan Rulon (Columbus).
English/literature: Madison Elizabeth Johnson (Columbus), Jessica Anne Browder (Hardaway).
Foreign language: Leanna McKenzie (Shaw), Isabella Zapata Nunez (Harris County).
General scholarship: John Daniel Faught (Columbus), Reid Austin Byrd (Smiths Station).
Journalism: Anna Logan (Brookstone), Austin Leigh Seidel (Columbus).
Mathematics: J. Penton Clark Hollist (Harris County), Syed Hamzah Ali (Columbus).
Music: Rachel Lynn Mayo (Harris County), Nicole Antoinette Williams (Marion County).
Science: Julia Marie Clark (Harris County), Mihir Sunil John (Brookstone).
Social science: Yelim Youm (Columbus), Nick N. Jackson (Central).
Sara Spano Top Teacher Award: Robert Harris (Jordan), Pierre Coffey (Carver) and Dolly McLain Baker (Spencer).
-- Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.