Last year, after the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the school editors of The Eagle Eye student newspaper dedicated an issue for the seventeen lost lives of classmates and faculty members, detailing each of their obituaries.
What began as a personal written tribute for the purpose of honoring and mourning their peers and teachers transformed into a nationally recognized memorial. After it was published in their community as an article for their school newspaper, the staff submitted the work as a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Although Parkland did not win the prize, an announcer honorably mentioned and recognized their work at the Pulitzer award ceremony. According to the New York Times, the administrator of the Pulitzer awards stated, “I want to break with tradition and offer my sincere admiration for an entry that did not win, but that should give us all hope for the future of journalism in this great democracy…These budding journalists remind us of the media’s unwavering commitment to bearing witness, even in the most wrenching of circumstances, in service to a nation whose very existence depends on a free and dedicated press.”
The students combined their passion for reporting with the desire to remember the heartbreaking day on February 14th, 2018. After years of literary contribution, seizing upon their personal connection to a tragedy finally has brought light to the power of words for young journalists.
The Pulitzer Prize is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the literary community. For a small team of high school editors to achieve such attention is a huge step for inspiring deliberation and purpose among the next generation of writers. This honorable feat has proved there is hope for noticing a small school with a big voice.
Featured Photo: The front page (Photo courtesy of the NY Times)
By: Caroline Kinkella, Editor in Chief