Official site of the Illinois Journalism Education Association, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston

IJEA Blog: High school journalism gave me my voice

Solomon Davis, a 2016 graduate of Marist High School, can say with confidence that high school journalism did indeed give him his voice. Now active as a collegiate journalist, Solomon looks back on what he learned from his days on the staff of Marist's newspaper, The Sentinel.

November 1, 2016

As early as grade 4, I knew I wanted to write. 

solomon-photoMy teacher at the time, Mr. McMorris, sent out a newsletter to the parents. One day I convinced him to leave a little section for me and some other students to write in. Our section was eventually named the “Kids Corner.”

Even though that is the earliest memory I have of wanting to write, it is something I carried with me as I grew up.

Fast forward to my time at Marist High School. I was not sure I wanted to be a journalist, but I sought out the newspaper with the conviction that I would join when my schedule allowed. I enrolled in Journalism 1 my junior year and learned the fundamentals.

Senior year I progressed into Journalism 2, and that is where the real magic happened. I really found my voice and my knack for writing feature stories. I was able to interview coaches, administrators, faculty and fellow students.

Reflecting on that time, I miss the staff that I was part of for two years of high school journalism.

We were in the same class every day and developed a bond through helping each other, critiquing each other’s work and debating current, relevant issues.

We had a journalism adviser, John Gonczy, who was there every day for us, helping us to edit what we wrote, submitting our works for contests and pushing us to our limits and to always do our best.

College journalism is different in the sense that there isn’t really the same closeness among your staff. At least not yet. I am involved in a student media organization on campus, and I am experimenting with more things than I had while in high school, such as designing logos, sets for shows on the student-run TV station and flyers for events.

I can say with confidence that high school journalism gave me my voice, and for that I am forever thankful. Without all those who helped me along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I wouldn’t trade the experience of being on The Sentinel for the world.



Solomon Davis graduated in 2016 from Marist High School, where he served as a two-year staff member of The Sentinel newspaper. He won numerous awards in scholastic journalism competitions, including Chicago High School Journalist of the Year and selection to the 2016 IJEA All-State Journalism Team. He is a freshman at the University of Missouri, where he is studying journalism.

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