Brahmas triumph in first online Write-Offs

The Brahmas managed to secure the second place slot in the Super Sweepstakes due to their high placements in multiple categories during the Eastern Los Angeles Journalism Education Association write-offs last month. 

In the first online ELAJEA write offs, Diamond Bar High School’s journalism and yearbook students competed against students from eight other high schools. The top ten competitors for each category went on to participate against 27 other high schools in the Southern California region last Saturday, where DBHS tied for fourth place in the newspaper sweepstakes.

“Even though we had a smaller than normal group of students competing, I thought we did well, with three first place winners,” journalism adviser Doug List said via email. 

The contest included the categories News and Novice News, Critical Review, Sports, Opinion, Yearbook Design, Editorial Cartoons and Feature. 

Competitors in these sections listened to a presentation from a guest speaker, followed by a brief question segment before getting started on their story or design submissions. 

Participants in the News, Novice News, Opinion and Editorial Cartoon sections during the ELAJEA write-offs listened to a presentation by Gabby Galvan, founder of LA Donuts, who described the financial struggles she faced as a small business owner due to the pandemic. 

In the News section, junior Anika Yatawara secured seventh place. As for the Novice News category, freshmen Maia Pak, Jianlan Busteed and Taylor Joe, all students in Journalism 1,  placed first, eighth and 10th, respectively. One month later, Pak received an “excellent,” placing in the top seven for the Southern California Journalism Education Association write-offs. 

Focusing on inequities of governmental funding distributions in the pandemic, senior Camille McCurry secured first place in Editorial writing with her article. McCurry said she was excited once she heard about her placement, since she felt unsure about her story due to being pressed for time.

“The biggest challenge actually ended up being time,” McCurry said via Instagram. “I had to do a lot of a last minute planning and idea formation.”

Last week, she participated in SCJEA, claiming first place once again in her editorial discussing Los Angeles’ decision to use tiny home communities to address the homelessness crisis. 

For Critical Review, senior Josh Chou earned second place for his piece about Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio, the curator of the Latinx culture section of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. 

Additionally, sophomores Rachel Lee and Kyle Hong placed first and 10th in the Feature section, covering humanitarian and musician Nithin Parthasarathy’s efforts to reduce food waste. 

A month later, Lee earned fourth place for her feature submission during the SCJEA write-offs. 

The DBHS yearbook teams were challenged to design two-page spreads in their ELAJEA submission. Their layouts, which they placed second for, were submitted separately by two teams. One group consisted of seniors Aileen Park and Samantha Rivera and juniors Catherina Tao and Julia Zhou. The second team included seniors Grace Xiao and Stephanie Pan, along with juniors Abby Kottke and Elisha Chung.

“It was not surprising when we saw ourselves come in second to Walnut,” Park said via Instagram. “Next time, we hope to take the first place spot.”

Though they did not place first for their SCJEA yearbook submission, the DBHS yearbook still managed to tie for third in the yearbook sweepstakes for their excellence in both layout and theme development. Pan, Xiao, Kottke, and Park collaborated on the spread for both events, securing them a third place spot in layout and copy and a fourth place tie in theme development and copy.