Senior Jessica Morales Wins Wyoming State Journalist of the Year

At 9:12 AM on March 3rd, senior Jessica Morales received the email confirming her title as Wyoming State Journalist of the Year.

“Ever since my freshman year, I have wanted to be Journalist of the Year,” says Morales. Morales has been working to achieve her goal for four years, having participated in five semesters of broadcast journalism and becoming director her senior year.

“I put in lots of extra time both in school and outside of school to produce stories that impact my school and community,” says Morales. “Being the director of CHS Wired has helped me become a better leader not only to my staff, but in my other classes as well.”

Applying for Journalist of the Year is time consuming, and by no means an easy process.

“In order to become Journalist of the Year, I had to make a website showcasing my best work, get letters of recommendation, write an essay, and put together a resume,” says Morales. “I’ve been working on it for months, a couple hours every night.”

Morales has been eagerly awaiting a reply from the Wyoming High School Press Association for two long weeks.

“I’ve been checking my email a couple times every hour because I knew that any day now, I would be receiving an answer,” says Morales.

When Morales received the email during her first period English class, she says “there really weren’t any thoughts for how I was feeling. My first reaction was to grab all my things and run to tell my advisor, Mrs Quick.”

Morales says she was filled with excitement and an overload of emotion.

“I started crying in class because my years of hard work had finally paid off,” says Morales.

In April, Morales will be attending the Journalism Education Association National Convention in Seattle, Washington where she will find out if she places as National Journalist of the Year.

“Students applying for National Journalist of the Year usually favor the writing portion of journalism rather than the video side,” says Morales. “I focus on the broadcast portion, but recently I have begun to write articles for CHS Bonfire, so I have experience in both areas.”

Morales says that her experience in the broadcast program will set her apart from other applicants for National Journalist of the Year.

“Even if I don’t win National Journalist of the Year, being selected to represent Wyoming is a great honor,” says Morales. “I’m grateful to my family, my advisors, Mrs. Quick and Mr. Riley, and especially my staff and community who have encouraged me to conquer obscurity and succeed.”

Morales will find out if she won the national title at the Seattle Convention in early April.