On 27 May 2019, twelve members of Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute’s The Reckoner attended the annual Toronto Star High School Journalism Awards (HSJAs) at the Toronto Reference Library. This award ceremony recognizes the accomplishments of Ontario high school journalists and encourages excellence in student journalism.

The event began at 1:00 pm with lunch provided for attendees. A one-hour period allowed the students to socialize with other young journalists, take pictures at the Photo Booth, and experience virtual reality at the Digital Innovation Hub.

At 2:00 pm, the ceremony began with a warm welcome and a peek into the field of journalism from emcee Jennifer Pagliaro, who is part of the City Hall Bureau of the Toronto Star. She briefly explained why students should consider going into journalism in the future. This was followed by a brief presentation by guest speaker Wendy Gillis, a crime reporter for the Toronto Star who described her life as a journalist. Jennifer Pagliano then awarded plaques to the winners. Members of The Reckoner earned five runner-up awards.

Award recipients pose with their plaques. Image: Russell Ijaya

This year, the contest saw over seven hundred entries across twenty-one categories which ranged from news photography to feature writing. Toronto Star writers judged the entries and chose the winners. Out of all categories, reporting had the largest number of entries.

North Toronto Collegiate Institute’s Graffiti won Best Newspaper – Over 15 Staff while BSS Press from Bayview Secondary School took Best Newspaper – 15 Staff & Under. The award for Best Electronic Newspaper was won by La Silhouette from St. Robert Catholic High School.

“I’m very happy that some of our members were recognized for their work. It’s always nice to celebrate the student contributions that make The Reckoner as strong as it was this year and in years past,” said editor-in-chief of The Reckoner, Emma Wai. “Even so, I’m sure there is room to improve and grow in the future, both at the awards and generally as a paper. I’m very excited to see it happen.”

It is always a pleasure to sit in the audience and see members of The Reckoner receive recognition for their contributions to the school’s newspaper,” said Ms. Speirs, The Reckoner’s teacher advisor. “The Reckoner has set the standard for excellence in high-school journalism, and it is obvious that other schools have been influenced by the professionalism of The Reckoner. Kudos to Emma Wai and the Eighth Guard.”

Aiman Altaf, the incoming editor-in-chief of The Reckoner, said, “It was definitely very inspiring to see that the hard work our members put in this year paid off. Although we didn’t win an award for the overall newspaper, I don’t think that’s a reflection of the quality of our paper but rather the subjectivity of the contest and the increased competition from other schools.” She added, “I am very excited to work even harder next year and see what new heights The Reckoner can reach.”

The Reckoner would like to acknowledge the following members for their outstanding accomplishments:

Andrew Liang: Runner-up, Editorial Writing

Evan Woo: Runner-up, Photography – News

Justin Ye: Runner-up, Layout and Design, Page

Rena Liu: Runner-up, Reporting

Tina Ma: Runner-up, Sports Writing – Feature