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Riptide staff to attend National High School Journalism Convention

Top row: Sierra, Madi, Hunter, Lilly, Sarah; Bottom row: Julian, Anne, Alden, Sasha
Top row: Sierra, Madi, Hunter, Lilly, Sarah; Bottom row: Julian, Anne, Alden, Sasha

Nine journalism students from Vashon High School will represent our island at the upcoming National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) National High School Journalism Convention in Los Angeles, CA. These journalism students went through a competitive process at VHS, including meeting the minimum 3.5 GPA requirement in Journalism.

Students attending are: Sasha Elenko, Lilly Hennessey, Alden Hinden-Stevenson, Anne Kehl, Madi McCann, Sierra Richter, Hunter Stanley, and Julian White-Davis.

VHS is no stranger to journalism conventions. Last year, some of the students attended a journalism conference in New York City. According to The Riptide adviser, Steven Denlinger, they came back with enthusiasm, fresh ideas, a new design for The Riptide, and increased leadership skills that were put to the test as they have been expanding the program.

VHS boasts an integrated high school journalism program: an award-winning newspaper, The Riptide, in its print and online platforms; a radio broadcast program, Fresh Delivery, a collaboration with Vashon’s local professional 101.9 FM radio station; and a new television broadcast program, which will help increase their visibility through social media channels.

According to Danny Rock, the VHS Principal, it is important for VHS students to get experiences outside the classroom.
“Being on an isolated small island in a rural setting, our students - who have so many talents - have very few opportunities to extend their learning beyond the shores of our island,” said Rock. “Attending the NSPA Journalism Convention in April will give student journalists a unique opportunity to both get experiences off our island as well as combine their journalism experiences with the national stage,” Rock said.

Journalism Conventions provide excellent opportunities for high schoolers who want to build journalistic skills; hone critical skills for the 21st century - collaboration, creativity, communication and problem-solving; test their knowledge and skill at the highest level; and gain valuable motivation and exposure to admissions officers and recruiters. Several graduates of VHS’s Journalism program have been inspired to pursue careers in journalism, attending University of Washington, Syracuse University, New York University and Tulane University.

The Riptide needs community support to help them get to LA. The students have been campaigning since February to raise the $10,000 needed to cover tuition, lodging, food, scholarships for students who can’t otherwise afford to attend, and a day of fun and bonding in LA. Car washes, babysitting nights, and bake sales have raised $3,600 to date.

Additional opportunities to donate will include a special showing of Spotlight on April 3rd (which includes a bake sale and art auction), an opportunity to purchase LA postcards (special personalized messages to your journalist to be published in The Riptide), a special Palouse Wine Tasting Event on April 8th, and more.

Any funds not used for the trip will support the VHS journalism program, including participation in the Washington Journalism Education Association’s Summer Program for Students and Advisers at Western Washington University in Summer 2016.

The trip will be led by The Riptide’s Associate Editor Madi McCann, who has already developed her leadership skills in organization, logistics, and team management. They will be accompanied by Adviser Steven Denlinger (who will also participate in the Convention) and a Parent Chaperone.

For more information on upcoming fundraising events or how to make a donation, please contact The Riptide Advisor Steven Denlinger:
Donations can be made on the VHS website:
* Go to
* Scroll down on the left, choose: Pay Fees Online
* Set up a Guest Account
* Choose: Items at all schools
* Choose: DONATIONS and then RIPTIDE ASB Donation
* Choose: BUY then Checkout
Or by check payable to VHS Riptide ASB, earmarked “LA Journalism Convention”, and mailed to 9309 SW Cemetery Rd Vashon, WA 98070.