Edwardsville High School student Caspar Dowdy named 2023 Illinois Journalist of the Year

March 5, 2023

Congratulations to Caspar Dowdy, a senior at Edwardsville High School. Caspar has been named the 2023 Illinois Journalist of the Year by the Illinois Journal Education Association. A website featuring Caspar’s portfolio of work and other supporting material is available here.

Caspar is IJEA’s 34th Journalist of the Year since 1989 and the first Edwardsville student to be named the state’s top high school journalist. Caspar serves as editor-in-chief of both the print and online versions of the EHS student newspaper, The Claw and Tiger Times Online respectively, as well as editor-in-chief of the EHS yearbook, The Tiger.

Amanda Thrun is Caspar’s journalism teacher and publications adviser.

A panel of IJEA board members selected Caspar after assessing the portfolios, self-analytical essays, résumés, transcripts and letters of recommendations submitted by applicants from around the state.

“I am proudly recognized as ‘the journalism kid’ among my peers in my (sometimes rare) ventures outside the publications classroom,” Caspar wrote as part of the application process. “This program has shaped the person I am, both in and outside of my journalism work. On days when chronic illness leaves me tired and overwhelmed, this program keeps me engaged in school and excited about the future. It’s given me the opportunity to work with people and mediums that I’d never thought possible and cover topics I had never even thought about. But more than that, it’s been foundational in giving a self-admittedly awkward autistic kid a new way to conceptualize identity, confidence and purpose.”

The award, the highest individual student honor given each year by IJEA, comes with a $300 scholarship. Caspar now advances to compete against other state winners for the national title.

Kevin Lynch, a senior at Prospect High School, earned IJOY runner-up honors for his work as a writer, reporter and editor for The Prospector school newspaper. Jason Block is his journalism teacher and The Prospector’s adviser. Kevin’s portfolio is available here.

The national JEA winner and runners-up will be announced in April at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco. Scholarship funds of $3,000 will be awarded to the top winner, with $1,000 each for up to four runners-up.

Congratulations again to Caspar and Ms. Thrun, as well as to Kevin and Mr. Block, and all of this year’s applicants and the advisers who supported them!


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