Irvine High’s El Vaquero wins OC journalism competition, looks to defend state title

For the second straight year, Irvine High School’s student newspaper has taken top honors at the Orange County Journalism Education Association Write-Offs.

El Vaquero once again took home the sweepstakes championship and earned first place honors in Division I Best of Show. The annual contest for student newspaper reporters, yearbook staffs and broadcast news teams was held Feb. 25 at Fullerton College.

Individual Irvine High winners included seniors Emily Chen, Trisha Nguyen and Karen Wen in news; Nicole Kim and Lynne Liu in sports; Edwin Huh and Johanna Lee in editorial; and Crystal Huang and Stephanie Wang in feature writing. Juniors Max Chen, Juhi Dalal, Ivy Lin and Janaki Nakum and sophomores Tracy Nguyen and Alex Thompson also earned honors in the novice news category. Seniors Peter Niu and Selina Serosh placed in editorial cartooning, and Cassandra Chow placed in critical review.

El Vaquero Adviser Julie Braun said this year’s contest was the largest in the history of the OCJEA, with 19 newspapers and 285 students competing. Among the participants were fellow news hounds from Northwood High’s paper, The Howler, which won Best of Show in Division II for its 12-page publications.

Fountain Valley, Troy, Oxford Academy and Sunny Hills high schools placed second through fifth in the sweepstakes, according to Braun.

News, sports, editorial and feature winners are now set to advance to the Southern California Journalism Education Association Write-Offs, which will take place April 28 at Cal State Long Beach. We should point out that the El Vaquero has won the SCJEA event four of the past five years, including the 2011 competition.