Cactus Canyon Junior High School journalism students win second Edublog Award

Cactus Canyon Junior High School Journalism II Class. (Photo courtesy of Apache Junction Unified School District)

Cactus Canyon Junior High School Journalism II Class. (Photo courtesy of Apache Junction Unified School District)

Cactus Canyon Junior High School’s Journalism II class recently won Best Group Blog in the Edublog Awards.
The Edublog Awards are an annual international program encouraging the use of blogs and social media to support learning and promote digital literacy. The awards also showcase the effective and innovative work being done by educators and students. Entries are welcome from any country and in any language. This is the Cougar News Blog’s second year of winning an Edublog award.
The award was announced on the Edublog Awards website in December. The blog was one of the 24 finalists and one of the hundreds of contestants who were nominated. Instructor Jason Davis strongly believes that his class earned the award. The Journalism II students have been working hard at gathering facts, doing interviews, and writing the best stories they could write.
“Our staff has most definitely earned the awards. In four years, we’ve written over 400 stories and the overwhelming majority are better than what would typically be expected from junior high writers,” said Mr. Davis. “We take pride in doing good work and I think it’s nice that the work is recognized.”
The blog has won one additional Edublog award last school year. It was for being the Best Class Blog. The J2 class was also a runner-up for Best Group Blog. According to Mr. Davis, the blog was nominated by several people.
“It feels great to win two school years in row. It’s always an achievement to win something that you work really hard on,” said eighth grader Alaya Walton.
Mr. Davis said by winning the awards it builds a culture of high expectations. Many students have been in his journalism classes since the start of their seventh-grade year. These students take a leadership role in the class and try to train the newer students. They try to build the program and do as well, or better than the groups before, all according to Mr. Davis.
“I think knowing that we have been recognized for our work helps build a culture of excellence and positivity. Students come into J2 and they know that I not only expect good work, I’m used to getting it,” said Mr. Davis. “Students that have been around for a while take on a leadership role and train the next group. It’s pretty cool.”
All because of their hard work, Mr. Davis and his students believe that they will continually be recognized for their work. The blog, as well as Mr. Davis and his students, have been mentioned on several education-related blogs because of the work they do.
“I think if we continue to produce high-quality writing and telling interesting stories, we will continue to be recognized for our work,” said Mr. Davis.
Editor’s note: Jessica Conrad is a student journalist for the Cougar News Blog at Cactus Canyon Junior High.

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