The Illinois Journalism Education Association, IJEA, holds an annual journalism competition. Advisers turn in the best articles written in the school year to be judged by professors at Eastern Illinois University and professional journalists. This year the winners included seniors  Larry Cornelio, Edwin Genchi, Samantha Lozano, juniors Kimmy Alvarado, Luciano Alvarez and Estrella Villa. The editors also won for Best Digital Publication and Best Website.

The win is a huge accomplishment for the students. In the competition, Phoenix competes against twelve other schools the same size as Phoenix.One article was  sent for evaluation per category. No matter if the submission won an award, the judges always provided feedback to improve the publication.


Journalism adviser, Katie Fernandez, submitted the articles to be evaluated for awards in different categories. Lozano’s article was accompanied by a  video by junior Luciano Alvarez. The video and article were about students volunteering at the VA. Alvarado’s article was a sports feature about wrestling, and Villa’s was a  serious commentary about students staging a walkout.


“My commentary article was about the student walk out and how they’re only focusing on the Florida student and not us the students of Chicago that go through gun violence every single day. The angle I took was focusing on how no one in our community is standing up for our rights, no one is giving us the students of Chicago a voice on gun violence,” said Villa.


The knowledge of their work being submitted was a surprise to some, but not all students.


“Some of them I did tell, but I didn’t get a chance to tell everyone,” said Fernandez.


But for those that did not have the knowledge, finding out their hard work was submitted and won a competition was a huge surprise.


“I didn’t know it was submitted. I found out last week when Mrs. Fernandez announced the winners. I felt happy and excited, but also surprised,” said Lozano.