On 29 May 2018, the annual Toronto Star High School Journalism Awards (HSJA) celebrated Ontario’s top student journalists at the Toronto Reference Library in downtown Toronto. Students from sixteen different student newspapers across the province attended the event honouring student achievement in journalism.

The event opened at 2:30 pm, allowing students time to socialize with others from the various high school papers in attendance before the ceremony began at approximately 3:30 pm. During this period, students also got to experiment with technology, including a Virtual Reality headset and an interactive robot, provided by the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Innovation Hub.

Feature writer Amy Dempsey of the Toronto Star hosted the 2018 ceremony alongside guest speakers Wendy Gillis, a crime reporter for the Toronto Star, and Laura Howells, a journalism student at Ryerson University. Each offered insight into the field of journalism from their respective perspectives, from advice for conducting interviews to discussing high school journalism initiatives. Plaques were then presented to award winners.

Editor-in-Chief Varun Venkataramanan and Deputy Editor-in-Chief Julien Lin accept the runner-up plaque in the Best Newspaper – Over 15 Staff category. Image: Laura Lu.

This year, over six hundred and fifteen entries were submitted across twenty-one categories; entries were judged by Toronto Star writers. The Reckoner picked up two 1st-place awards and five runner-up awards, including runner-up for Best Newspaper – Over 15 Staff behind North Toronto Collegiate Institute’s Graffiti. Forest Hill Collegiate Institute’s The Golden Falcon picked up the award for Best Electronic Newspaper, and Thornhill Secondary School’s Eye of the Tiger edged out Off The Wall from St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School for Best Newspaper – 15 Staff & Under.

Commenting on The Reckoner’s success, Editor-in-Chief Varun Venkataramanan—who himself took home an award—said, “I’m very proud of The Reckoner’s accomplishments and all the awards people won. The HSJAs have always shown how exceptionally talented our staff is, and this year is no exception.”

Ms. Speirs, The Reckoner’s teacher advisor, also commended the award-winners on their achievements while adding that The Reckoner’s success is thanks to the efforts of its many members: “All the members of The Reckoner should be proud of this year’s accolades… I salute the young writers, designers, illustrators, and photographers who create this paper and give a voice to the students of Marc Garneau Collegiate.”

The Reckoner would like to recognize the following students for their exceptional contributions:

Jacqueline Huo: Reporting – Runner-up

Jasmine Zhu: Illustration – 1st Place

Laura Lu: Photography-Sports – Runner-up

Russell Ijaya: Layout & Design, Page – Runner-up

Varun Venkataramanan: Electronic – Layout & Design – 1st Place

Jim Wu: Electronic – Layout & Design – Runner-up