Prospect High School senior named Northern Illinois High School Journalist of the Year
A Prospect High School student has been named Northern Illinois High School Journalist of the Year.
Ayse Eldes, a senior who will be attending the University of Michigan, was described as the "moral compass" of the student newspaper's staff by Jason Block, her journalism instructor and adviser.
Eldes was chosen by a panel of Northern Illinois Newspaper Association judges based on her work as a reporter, editorial writer and editor for The Prospector, Prospect High School's award-winning student newspaper.
In her autobiographical essay, Eldes noted that, as a Muslim teen, she has had to endure her fair share of "stares, discomforting comments and unnecessary put downs …, " according to the NINA news release on her selection.
She recalled that on the first day of her freshman year, she found that Prospect's journalism program provided a "pathway to balancing this dichotomy I struggled with personally. A reporter's job is to blend into their surroundings, become a fly on the wall, and journalism taught me that I can do that while also being the elephant in the room."
As a reporter, Eldes demonstrated the skills of a professional in taking on a wide variety of complex topics, from the financial problems facing a local elementary school district to tax increment financing districts to the challenges facing Turkish refugee students at her school, the release said.
Eldes takes on "challenging topics, then proceeds to tell these stories in a personable and engaging way," Block said in the release.
"She always seems to make the responsible and correct decision on what to run, where it should run, and what topic or even what words might not reflect the professionalism of our publication."
Eldes said she has learned that journalism means truth-telling and analyzing that truth to help others understand why it matters.
"The average person doesn't have the time or ability to know what's happening every moment of the day across the globe, nor do they always know how it affects them," she said. "My journalistic mission statement is no different from my mission behind everything I do: inform people about what I believe is important for our society's global progress."
Eldes will receive a $1,000 scholarship from NINA.