Lucia Bermudez, co-editor-in-chief of Odyssey Media Group at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia, has been named the 2018 Georgia Champion Journalist by the Georgia Scholastic Press Association at Grady College and the Journalism Education Association. The award recognizes the top high school senior journalist in the state.
Fellow Odyssey Media Group co-editor-in-chief Aneesa Conine-Nakano was the runner-up in the competition. Haley Burke, editor-in-chief of the Calvary Beacon at Calvary Day School in Savannah, Georgia, placed third.
The winners were selected from a pool of 11 entrants, each with portfolios packed with academic achievements and journalism accolades. Portfolios were scored in the following categories: candidate background; news gathering; writing; editing; design; multimedia broadcast; photojournalism; web; law and ethics; leadership and team building; news literacy; entrepreneurship; and candidate reflection.
The nomination of Bermudez included comments about her ability to recognize the unique power she possesses as a Latina journalist, “evident in her journalism work and in the various ways she speaks up for her community to ensure they have a voice.”
Bermudez demonstrates a commitment to her community that extends beyond the pages of the Odyssey. She tutors students at Clarke Middle School. She serves as vice president for her school’s Hope Club (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education), organizing fundraising projects and monthly meetings. She is co-president of her school’s Interact Club, which runs an annual event – DreamFest – to promote awareness of undocumented students in the community. She also founded the Latinx Student Union at her school, an organization that celebrates Latino culture and promotes volunteerism.
Bermudez will receive a $100 prize and be recognized at the GSPA Workshop and Awards April 17, 2018. She also moves on to represent the state in the Journalism Education Association’s National Journalist of the Year competition.
In addition to the senior Georgia Champion Journalist of the Year, the GSPA honors the top high school junior journalist in the state. Ana Aldridge was named the junior winner and Valeria Garcia-Pozo was the runner-up. Both are on staff with the Odyssey Media Group.