DHS Student Awarded Journalism Scholarship

Filed under: Schools |

While professional journalists win Emmy Awards for outstanding news coverage, Duncanville High School Panther Prints reporter Taylor Harris is winning money. After submitting ten top stories and an essay, a resume, and a picture, she was awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the DFW Association of Black Journalists (DFW ABJ) on November 31. “It makes me proud of myself to have been chosen from all the other applicants,” said Harris “My hard work paid off, and hopefully it will continue to.”

As validation of her good work, two of the stories Harris submitted were a feature on a fellow DHS student who passed away and a sports column covering a big basketball win over rival Cedar Hill. “My story on Deion Jackson-Houston was the first really personal one I had written,” explained Harris. “Even though I didn’t know him that well, it was heartfelt. After that story, I decided that I wanted to be a reporter. The Cedar Hill game was my first sports column. I was really hyped up about the win, and excited that I got a chance to write about it.”

Harris’s stories not only helped her win the scholarship – the feature on Jackson-Houston was published in a local newspaper, and her sports piece won first place at an Interscholastic League Press Conference (ILPC) contest. But she says the DFW ABJ recognition was by far the best. “This has been the big bang of my senior year. I plan on studying print journalism at Howard University next fall, and this scholarship will hopefully pay for some books as well as lead to other tuition assistance.”

On her way to a news career, Harris had no idea that this is where she would end up. “I’ve always loved to write,” she said, “but I only started taking journalism classes because someone told me I should.” Harris also had no idea that three years later she would be one of the guests of honor at a DFW ABJ gala featuring big media names like CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and Fox 4’s Clarice Tinsley. She was first surprised in class with a check presentation, caught on camera by a NBC 5 videographer. “He started asking me questions about bullying, and then my dad and grandpa walked in,” remembered Harris. “I was really surprised and glad that they could be there. They’ve always been supportive and encouraged me to apply for college and scholarships.”

That video was shown at the gala during Harris’s recognition. She was then presented with an award and given the opportunity to say a short acceptance speech. During the event, scholarship recipients were also given the chance to ask keynote speaker O’Brien a question. “I asked her what she thought was her greatest story,” commented Harris. The rest of the night was spent mingling with professionals from area newspapers, radio and television stations, and public relations and advertising firms, as well as freelance journalists and media-related professionals – people Harris hopes to join ranks with soon. “I will definitely keep in touch with the DFW ABJ.”