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Illinois Journalism Education Association, 2501 Chatham Road, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62704

Illinois JEA

Illinois Journalism Education Association, 2501 Chatham Road, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62704

Illinois JEA

Illinois Journalism Education Association, 2501 Chatham Road, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62704

Illinois JEA

2022 IJEA All-State Journalism Team

Meet Our Honorees for 2021-22

ABOVE: We honored our 2022 All-State Journalism Team members as well as our Illinois Journalist of the Year and IJOY runner-up on June 4 in Springfield. Thank you to the Illinois Press Foundation for making this event possible and to film critic Matt Fagerholm for serving as our keynote speaker. And thank you to all of the families who made the trip! This was one of our best year-end celebrations yet! Pictured in top row from left: All-State members Julia Benkendorf, Jared Juenger, William Tong, Anna Olp, Jacob Siciliano, Julia Hanson and Bridget Nelis. Picture in bottom row from left: All-State members Téa Tamburo and Alyssa Schulz, Illinois Journalist of the Year Olivia Kim, and All-State members Emma Fudacz and Catherine Anderson. Not pictured: Ellie Armstrong and Emma Guarni. Congratulations to all! (IJEA photo by Dave Porreca) 

The Illinois Journalism Education Association is proud to announce the members of the 2022 All-State Journalism Team. The 13 students selected for the honor were nominated by their advisers in recognition of the indispensable contributions they made to their publications during 2021-22:


Senior, McHenry High School, social media coordinator, Warrior Weekly newspaper


Senior, Huntley High High School, editor-in-chief, The Voice newspaper and news site


Senior, Saint Viator High School, editor-in-chief, Viator Voice newspaper


Junior, Downers Grove South High School, managing editor, Blueprint newspaper


Senior, Oswego East High School, editor-in-chief, Wolf’s Eye yearbook


Junior, Downers Grove North High School, arts and entertainment editor, Omega newspaper


Junior, Okawville High School, co-editor-in-chief, Launch Pad news site


Senior, St Charles North School, editor-in-chief, Stargazer newspaper


Senior, Kaneland High School, design executive and photography executive, Kaneland Krier newspaper


Senior, Prospect High School, co-editor-in-chief, Prospector newspaper


Senior, Prospect High School, editor-in-chief, news site


Junior, University of Chicago Laboratory High School, deputy managing editor, U-High Midway newspaper


Senior, Naperville Central High School, co-editor-in-chief, Central Times newspaper

In addition to being nominated by their advisers, the students also submitted work samples, reflective essays and other supporting material for consideration by a panel of judges. For more information about each of our 2022 team members, please scroll down to the section titled “Meet Our Honorees for 2021-22.”

About the IJEA All-State Journalism Team

The first All-State Journalism Team was announced in the spring of 2005, after the IJEA recognized a need to honor those students who have proven themselves indispensable to their respective school media, including but not limited to yearbook, print or online newspaper, print or online newsmagazine or broadcast media.

The students named to the All-State team are considered by their advisers and fellow publication members as “most valuable players” — those students whose leadership, energy, dedication and expertise not only make their publications possible, but whose main contributions often occur behind the scenes.

This award elevates student journalists who’ve put their publications ahead of themselves. They’re the ones who are willing to sacrifice their spare time to make sure other people’s stories are well edited. They’re the ones who make sure a publication’s pages are smartly designed, the headlines witty, the photos well composed, the website up to date and easy to navigate, the videos smoothly produced and the information in every story accurate. They’re the ones who don’t seek recognition but deserve it most of all.

To be eligible for the honor, students must be nominated by their respective publication advisers. A panel of judges consisting of experienced journalism educators makes the final selections.

Congratulations to all who were named to this year’s team — and to all who were nominated!

Meet Our Honorees for 2021-22

Catherine Anderson

McHenry Community H.S. | McHenry, McHenry County | Dane Erbach, adviser

Senior Catherine Anderson is social media coordinator for The Warrior Weekly at McHenry Community High School in McHenry.

Catherine is responsible for posting and promoting all broadcast packages on YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter.

In addition to her social media duties, her adviser, Mitch Stengel, said: “Catherine is the head of my leadership team – this team is responsible for making all decisions for our weekly broadcast inside and outside of the classroom.

“She is the pivotal decision-maker within the walls of our classroom. … she is a consistent presence in the life of our Broadcast Journalism class, a promotional member of our newspaper, The McHenry Messenger, and our yearbook, The Warrior.”

Catherine said: “When I heard of a new broadcast class offered at McHenry High School, I jumped at the opportunity. I am now in my second semester of this course, and … I have discovered numerous skills I did not know I had.”

Mr. Stengel describes Catherine as “one of the most accomplished, lead-by-example, driven and complete student journalists I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Ellie Armstrong

Huntley H.S. | Huntley, McHenry County | Dennis Brown, adviser

Senior Ellie Armstrong is editor-in-chief of The Voice and at Huntley High School in Huntley.

During her junior year, she was one of two editors-in-chief and won multiple writing awards and was IHSA state champion in copy editing. Her Voice colleagues twice selected her as Journalist of the Year.

Her adviser, Dennis Brown, said Ellie was integral to a major change this past year: Huntley offered three classes of News Media Production instead of two, something required because nearly 100 students signed up for the class.

Mr. Brown noted that Ellie “produced 20+ templates for pages for layout, came up with detailed plans for all of our print cycles throughout the year, and helped train the other editors; she even hosted her second editor meet/greet/get-together in her back yard in August.”

Ellie said: “Good journalism is understanding all angles, including the human one; I am so proud of what we’ve done as a team….”

Mr. Brown said of Ellie: “She is simply the best editor in chief to come out of Huntley High School.”

Julia Benkendorf

Saint Viator H.S. | Arlington Heights, Cook County | Chris Paolelli, adviser

Senior Julia Benkendorf is editor-in-chief of Viator Voice newspaper at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights.

Her adviser, Chris Paolelli, says that this year Julia “has done everything: write stories in almost every section, shoot stunning photos on short notice, write or assign the staff editorial, meticulously edit stories and fine-tune layouts, and unleash her encyclopedic knowledge of AP style and journalistic practice in the service of excellence for her staff.”

In addition, Mr. Paolelli said, “She is so mature that she can navigate the complex waters of prior review in a private-school journalism setting, never shying away from sensitive topics and finding ways to thread the needle between her reportorial ambitions and the limitations imposed.” Julia, he said, has “found her true calling” in journalism.

Julia said of the Voice, “I am proud to work for the Viator Voice because we have highlighted underrepresented groups within the school and enacted concrete change through our work.” Of her own participation in journalism, she said, “I have found an inextinguishable passion for telling meaningful stories which deeply resonate with my community.”

Emma Fudacz

Downers Grove South H.S. | Downers Grove, DuPage County | Mary Long, adviser

Junior Emma Fudacz is managing editor for Blueprint at Downers Grove South High School in Downers Grove.

Emma runs the club component and makes sure freelanced writing is edited and published online. Her adviser, Mary Long, says that Emma helps cultivate the young writers, many of whom end up in journalism classes the following year.

Ms. Long said: “Emma is an eloquent writer…. She attacks a written assignment with confidence and grace. … Emma is a fantastic editor. She can coach a novice writer better than many experienced teachers. She doesn’t just feed them the ideas or corrections. She truly has them engage in learning in a fun way with a peer.”

Emma, who will be editor-in-chief next year, said: “Building up our Newspaper Club has been the most exciting part of my entire experience within the newspaper program at my school. It’s always fun to work with other students who are already involved in the program, but bringing in younger students and helping them grow by sharing a passion of mine has been an extremely rewarding experience.”

Emma Guarni

Oswego East H.S. | Oswego, Kendall County | Colleen Calvey, adviser

Senior Emma Guarni is editor-in-chief of the Wolf’s Eye yearbook at Oswego East High School in Oswego.

As EIC, she assigns pages; approves and plans content decisions; edits copy, captions and designs; develops the theme; runs class meetings; sets deadlines and mentors staff.

Emma’s adviser, Colleen Calvey, said that Emma’s contributions this year went above and beyond her assigned role. She recalled that the program struggled initially as students transitioned back to in-person instruction: Staff members resisted conducting interviews and talking to people they didn’t know. They missed deadlines, ignored Emma’s feedback on drafts and didn’t follow design rules.

Ms. Calvey said that, although frustrated, Emma looked for solutions. “She held everyone on staff accountable by knowing what they were doing, where they were on their page and where they needed help.” She planned workshops, got to know the personalities of all students, made sure to have face-to-face conversations, brainstormed interview questions and shadowed on interviews.”

Ms. Calvey said, “Although her name will not appear on many pages of this year’s book, Emma had an instrumental role in bringing it to life. …. She challenged her peers to ‘be the guardians of the school’s legacy.’”

Emma said of the Wolf’s Eye staff: “We all have such drive and passion for what we are trying to accomplish. I do not think these challenges would have been able to be overcome without the dedication of each and every one of us.”

Julia Hanson

Downers Grove North H.S. | Downers Grove, DuPage County | Elizabeth Levin, adviser

Junior Julia Hanson is arts and entertainment editor at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove.

She reports on the school’s fine arts students, creates the A&E pages in the print issue and supervises student reporters.

Her adviser, Elizabeth Levin, described an incident that she said demonstrates Julia’s understanding of art as “one of our truest forms of expression.” When the school library was under fire this past year from conservative groups over a novel, Julia read the book, wrote a review and prepared a speech for the board of education meeting.

“The meeting attracted almost 200 people, including members of the Proud Boys group … [who] sat in the front row of the auditorium… and held 4-foot tall signs printed with the panels they considered most graphic,” Ms. Levin said.

In this environment, Julia gave her speech and remained “poised, well-informed and unintimidated,” Ms. Levin said.

Julia said: “Stepping outside of my comfort zone in journalism and working with ambitious writers has made me into an opinionated woman and journalist. I’ve also realized that writing about people gives them a platform to speak their truth — which is exactly what journalism is all about.”

Jared Juenger

Okawville H.S. | Okawville, Washington County | Dana Donovan, adviser

Junior Jared Juenger is co-editor-in-chief of the Launch Pad news website at Okawville High School in Okawville.

Beyond the usual EIC duties of assigning stories, working on revisions and choosing photos and headlines, he also posts final versions of stories on the website and maintains the Launch Pad Facebook page. He also has been instrumental in fundraising to cover expenses.

Jared’s adviser, Dana Donovan, noted that social media use is something Jared brought to the Launch Pad site: “It has been extremely successful. … Our readership statistics on our website have increased dramatically, not only from student reading, but also because of readers within our community who love to know what is happening in our school with our students.”

Jared said: “My motivation for keeping up with journalism is simply to represent the great school and community I am a part of. I am proud to inform the public of our latest news, which really drives me to become the best journalist I can be.”

Bridget Nelis

St. Charles North H.S. | St. Charles, Kane County | Alice Froemling, adviser

Senior Bridget Nelis, is editor-in-chief of Stargazer newspaper at St. Charles North High School in St. Charles.

She leads the after-school club in posting weekly content online and led a print issue on homecoming in the fall – the first since February 2020.

Her adviser, Alice Froemling, credits Bridget with leading a recruitment drive that yielded more than 50 students at the club’s introductory meeting in August, far exceeding any previous total.

Then, in addition to her EIC duties, Bridget mentored and co-wrote with multiple new writers to help them transition into journalistic writing.

Ms. Froemling said, “She has a knack for knowing the pulse of the staff: who needs more guidance, who might need help getting an interview, who needs a check-in [and]….she doesn’t hesitate to pick up a story herself as needed.”

Bridget described herself in her All-State materials as an introvert who knew that if she wanted to be a good editor-in-chief she would need to push herself out of her comfort zone. The club has built “a culture of inclusion and acceptance. We celebrate each other’s triumphs,” she said.

Anna Olp

Kaneland H.S. | Maple Park, Kane County | Dominic Bruno, adviser

Senior Anna Olp is design executive and photography executive for the Kaneland Krier in Maple Park.

Typically these two separate roles are held by two different students. Anna’s oversight of all elements of design in each print issue includes coaching staff members on InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, taking photos and instructing beginning journalists in photography basics.

She also writes stories, runs the staff Instagram and Twitter accounts and helps teach a Journalism 1 class.

Anna said of her experience with the Krier: “One of my favorite aspects of my year as an executive is just how much I can look through one of our issues and comment on what I committed to that page. From something as small as contributing a photo to the collaborative reconstruction of a design as a whole, I am so glad that I am able to feel so proud of our publication and know how much hard work was put into it.”

Her adviser, Dominic Bruno, said: “To put it simply, I do not know how we would function as a staff without Anna… she is the face and voice of the Krier. She is a writer, an investigator, a coach, a leader, a friend and a role model.”

Alyssa Schulz

Prospect H.S. | Mt. Prospect, Cook County | Jason Block, adviser

Senior Alyssa Schulz is one of two editors-in-chief at the Prospector at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect.

As such, she writes multiple stories, designs numerous pages and edits a majority of the stories for each issue. She also brainstorms art with the visuals staff – or creates it herself.

Her adviser, Jason Block, said: “Alyssa is known throughout our program as a person who will do anything to take her story from good to great. Alyssa is always willing to do one more revision, ask one more follow-up question, brainstorm one more source — all in an effort to get her work up to her own very high standards.

“As co-editor-in-chief, Alyssa became a consistent and steadying voice on our staff, reaching out to all staff members … to build bonds and improve the work environment exponentially. Everyone felt like they had a friend and confidante in Alyssa.”

Alyssa said, “Good journalism … is telling the truth simply as it is and not what you think it should be.”

Jacob Siciliano

Prospect H.S. | Mt. Prospect, Cook County | Jason Block, adviser

Senior Jacob Siciliano is editor-in-chief of, the news website at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect.

His adviser, Jason Block, said that Jacob not only led online breaking news and sports coverage and assigned, edited and posted all stories, but also redesigned the look and feel of the site.

Mr. Block said: “Jacob has taken our website — and entire program — to a new level this year under his leadership. He strives to get new content on the site every day and pushes his peers to take advantage of the web platform by adding multimedia content to their posts and use social media in innovative ways …. He wants great, and he just continues to reach that standard every single day.”

Jacob says: “I can’t believe how lucky I was to find journalism. Everyone has an identity, and over the last three years being a journalist for KnightMedia has become a part of who I am…. I feel so lucky that I’ll have a career doing what I love.”

Téa Tamburo

University of Chicago Lab H.S. | Chicago, Cook County | Logan Aimone, adviser

Junior Téa Tamburo is deputy managing editor of U-High Midway, the newspaper at the University of Chicago Laboratory High School in Chicago.

In her position, she oversees daily publication of content to the website, coordinates with other editors on daily website posts, manages social media content managers and manages a weekly schoolwide newsletter.

She is also a member of Midway’s editorial board and contributes to The Gate, a review published by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

Her adviser, Logan Aimone said of Téa: “Téa doesn’t hesitate to speak up and speak out. She suggests story topics and sources that need a spotlight, including coverage of mental health, learning differences and disabilities. She’s on the editorial board and a regular opinion columnist, vulnerably sharing her own experiences to bring attention to important topics. She expands her comfort zone with each assignment.”

Téa herself said in her All-State packet, “A good journalist authentically and accurately represents the community she serves and covers topics that will be more controversial or less widely publicized.”

William Tong

Naperville Central H.S. | Naperville, DuPage County | Keith Carlson, adviser

Senior William Tong is co-editor-in-chief of Central Times at Naperville Central High School in Naperville.

He is equally involved in the content of the print publication and the website.

William’s adviser, Keith Carlson, said: “The Central Times is well-respected in our community and disliked by district administrators, and William Tong is primarily responsible for both. In all honesty, our paper would be a large collection of Netflix reviews and inconsequential news reports without William’s editorial leadership and his constant desire to report ‘the big stories,’ even if they happen when school is not in session.”

William said of his news work: “In June, I spent an entire day covering the aftermath of a devastating E5 tornado. At the beginning of the school year, I reported on tense contract negotiations, interviewing the teacher union president eleven times. I also repeatedly contacted our district administrators for comment, but those attempts failed, foreshadowing a new challenge.”

In response, William filed a FOIA request to learn just how the district was processing the paper’s communications. He said, “My current goal is to collect enough information before I graduate so next year’s editorial board can make informed decisions on long-term solutions.”

IJEA All-State Journalism Teams Since 2004-05

Our 2022 honorees join a long line of distinguished high school journalists who have earned All-State recognition since the competition began during the 2004-05 school year. Congratulations to all of our past winners, and we look forward to honoring many more outstanding scholastic journalists in the years to come!

2022 Team (2021-22 school year)

• 2021 Team (2020-21 school year)

2020 Team (2019-20 school year)

 2019 Team (2018-19 school year)

 2018 Team (2017-18 school year)

 2017 Team (2016-17 school year)

 2016 Team (2015-16 school year)

 2015 Team (2014-15 school year)

 2014 Team (2013-14 school year)

 2013 Team (2012-13 school year)

 2012 Team (2011-12 school year)

 2011 Team (2010-11 school year)

 2010 Team (2009-10 school year)

 2009 Team (2008-09 school year)

 2008 Team (2007-08 school year)

 2007 Team (2006-07 school year)

 2006 Team (2005-06 school year)

 2005 Team (2004-05 school year)


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2022 IJEA All-State Journalism Team