Huntley High School senior Marek Makowski has been named Illinois Journalist of the Year by the Illinois Journalism Education Association (IJEA). On April 27, he will travel to San Francisco with journalism adviser Dennis Brown for the Journalism Education Association spring conference where he will be in the running for National Journalist of the Year.
“I couldn’t believe it when Mr. Brown told me the great news,” said Makowski.
For the competition, Makowski submitted a 38-page portfolio, which was the culmination of three years of his dedication to writing. The portfolio featured samples of his work and corresponding commentary on feature stories, columns, photos, blogs, page designs, and photography that he has produced.
“I can honestly say that I’ve never had someone who was so multi-dimensional and prolific in my years here,” said Dennis Brown, journalism adviser. “Marek doesn’t just try for a grade; he does whatever it takes to make the paper or the website good, far beyond what his grades ask of him. He’s truly a journalist in every sense of the word and I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished.”
“We had some excellent portfolios submitted this year,” said Stan Zoller, state director of the IJEA. “The judges were very impressed by the quality of Marek’s work and the presentation of his portfolio.”
Makowski, who has written for The Voice since his sophomore year, currently serves as the sports editor of the paper. In addition to writing for The Voice, he has written for Sun Day in Sun City and The Mash, a product of the Chicago Tribune.
He will be was awarded a $300 scholarship from IJEA and a framed certificate that he will receive at the All-State Journalism Team luncheon on Saturday, June 1 at the Executive Mansion in Springfield.
The winner of National Journalist of the Year will receive a Sister Rita Jeanne Scholarship worth $3,000. Up to six runners-up will receive scholarships worth $1,000.
Zoller said that 35 states have submitted portfolios for the national competition.
“I know there will be tough competition, but I’m hopeful that I’ll win,” said Makowski.