In the latest Around Town column, news about groups receiving recognition from a state senator for their work in assisting locals during the COVID-19 pandemic and Palo Alto High student publications that stood out in a national journalism contest.
STEPPING UP ... As we navigate our way through the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of numerous organizations across the Peninsula since early 2020 hasn't gone unnoticed. State Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park, took the time to thank groups that have become a lifeline during a critical time of need during a virtual April 29 town hall meeting when he recognized "COVID Community Champions'' across Senate District 13.
"Individuals and organizations from all across the Peninsula have stepped up. In doing so, they reminded us what it truly means to be a community," he said. Becker gave a shoutout to a couple of groups, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley, Project We Hope and JobTrain.
Some organizations were featured during the hourlong event, including the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. In conversation with Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Nicole Taylor, who co-hosted the event, Midpen general manager Ana María Ruiz discussed the countless benefits of open spaces during the pandemic. The district's open spaces have provided "much-needed respite," as seen through a 200% increase in visitors. "People who are able to ground themselves and recharge in nature have the tools to then present the best version of themselves to the people they love," Ruiz said.
Local elected officials also joined the meeting, including East Palo Alto City Council member Lisa Gauthier, who commended locals Boys & Girls Clubs for providing meals for people in need during the pandemic. "We live in a region where we care about others and that is so important," Gauthier said.
MAKING THEIR MARK ... Palo Alto High School's student journalists received high honors in the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association's Best of Show competition. The young journalists were honored during a virtual April 10 ceremony, which was part of the JEA/NSPA's spring national convention.
The Campanile was named top newspaper (broadsheet). The Campanile's story titled "Being Black at Paly," by staff writers Ben Antonow and Braden Leung and online editor Ajay Venkatraman, took third place in social justice reporting. The Feb. 14 article covers Black students' experiences, background on the school's history with race and responses from administrators, plus interviews with campus community members who said Black people and culture lack representation in education. The story points out that eight Black students graduated from Paly in 1969 and the same number are set to receive their diplomas next month.
Verde Magazine and social activism publication Anthro each came in sixth place in the news magazine and newspaper/news magazine categories, respectively. Ink, which debuted late last year, ranked seventh in the literary arts magazine category. InFocus took a respectable eighth place in the broadcast news program category. The Paly Voice ranked ninth among websites for schools of over 1,500 students.
SPREAD POSITIVE VIBES ... As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold at home and around the world, we want to share positive stories from our readers for upcoming Around Town columns. Have you witnessed a random act of kindness or watched the community form bonds while maintaining a safe social distance? Or have you seen a creative project come about as many stay at home? Send us your story in 250 words or fewer by email to [email protected] Photos are also welcome. We look forward to hearing your stories!