editor-in-chief Sam Ahmed ’20 has been named Texas High School Journalist of the Year by the Texas Association of Journalism Educators (TAJE). Sam received the award on Friday, March 6, 2020, during a surprise visit by Margie Raper, immediate past president of TAJE and yearbook advisor for Highland Park High School. Sam will now compete for National High School Journalist of the Year, which will be announced at the spring convention of the Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association in Nashville on April 18.
Sam graciously accepted the award and was quick to share the accolades with his fellow journalism students. “I wouldn’t be in this position without every member of The ReMarker staff. It means a lot to me that we’re able to work together to create something that makes a difference to the School community.”
Sam has led The ReMarker
staff through an extraordinary year. Following the October 2019 tornado that devastated campus, Sam helmed the production of a 12-page special section covering the tornado’s impact, which was published just two weeks after St. Mark’s reopened. Sam also received wide acclaim for a personal opinion column
he wrote in the Dallas Morning News
, reflecting on his own personal experiences following the storm. Most recently, Sam led a three-page cover story
offering an incisive look at mental health issues in the March issue.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of Sam, as a journalist, as a Marksman, and as a young man who is going to go out and do great things in the world,” said David W. Dini, Eugene McDermott Headmaster. “This award is an honor for Sam, as well as the entire journalism staff. It represents the time, effort, and dedication invested by the whole team toward something that is greater than themselves.”
“While Sam certainly has the journalism acumen, he offers a rare sensitivity to stories, always being mindful of the humans involved in the stories he is leading his team to cover,” said Ray Westbrook, Alice & Gene Oltrogge Master Teaching Chair and The ReMarker adviser. “He has that wonderful combination of knowing what makes a good story, the writing skills to engage the reader and a natural empathy which comes through in everything he does.”
This is the eighth consecutive Texas High School Journalist of the Year award earned by a Marksman. Previous winners include Daniel Hersh ’13, Ryan O’Meara ’14, Matthew Conley ’15, Will Clark ’16, Rish Basu ’17, Kobe Roseman ’18, and Parker Davis ’19.
For winning the state title, Ahmed will receive a $1,000 cash scholarship from the Texas Association of Journalism Educators.