Twenty-three Portola Pilot journalists won 17 individual awards at the Orange County Write-Offs on Feb. 22 at Fullerton College. The publication won Best of Show for online news, Best of Show Division 2 for its print edition and the super sweepstakes award, marking the greatest of its achievements in all four years of competition.
Seniors Simrat Singh, Ki Joon Lee, Ajinkya Rane, Maya Sabbaghian and Tiffany Wu qualified for State Write-Offs on March 14th, which has been canceled amid the spread of the coronavirus.
New and experienced students alike competed in various sections: news, sports, critical review, editorial, features, photo and page layout. Several new staff members competed for primarily in novice news while experienced members took to the standard sections.
“For me, the OC Write-Offs was a completely new experience, since I’ve never really competed in writing before,” staff writer and sophomore Lauren Hsu said. “I think I gained the ability to work under pressure. It was a timed writing competition, so it was a little bit different from how I have written in the past.”
The OC Write-Offs has tracked the progression of the Portola Pilot: over the course of four years, the publication moved upward in ranking, ultimately winning the highest cumulative honors in online and print.
“We’ve had the great fortune of having people who’ve been in the program for multiple years showcase their expertise and develop their skills over an extended period of time,” Rapp said. “But that also means we will have to deal with the fact that we’re going to be losing people that have been part of the newspaper three times a week, for four years.”
With a precedent of success left behind by the founders of the publication, the Portola Pilot looks forward to growth, each generation pushing further than the past.