Irvine High newspaper takes first and Northwood is second in county journalism competition


For the second straight year, high school newspapers from Irvine have taken first and second place at the Orange County Journalism Education Association Write-Offs.

Irvine High School’s El Vaquero won the overall Division 1 sweepstakes at the Feb. 22 competition for student newspaper reporters and yearbook staffs. The Howler, which is Northwood High’s student newspaper, finished in second place, and Oxford Academy in Cypress placed third.

Julie Braun, the El Vaquero adviser, said more than 200 students from 15 schools traveled to Fullerton College to compete in this year’s event. Her students now have their sights set on the Southern California Journalism Education Association State Write-Offs, which will be held March 15 in Long Beach.

Interestingly enough, Northwood took the county sweepstakes last year, with Irvine High finishing second. But El Vaquero has historically been a force to be reckoned with at the SCJEA Write-Offs, winning in 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and 2012. (In sports we’d call that a dynasty.)

Contributing team points to the county win and advancing to the state contest are: Alex Williams, news; Clara Baik, Melanie Sakurada and Alex Thompson, sports; Tracy Nguyen, Sally Oh and Jennifer Shin, editorial; and Joseph Kim, features.

Other El Vaquero staffers to earn honors include Avrita Brar, Carissa Chow, Prosperity Fields, David Hsiou, Angela Lee and George Parampathu in novice news; Anissa Govind and Saieashwar Mukund in cartooning; Sreyas Samantula in critical review; Jenny Seo in photography; and Jillian Kido and Jessica Lin in newspaper layout.