Cy Springs teacher wins HSJN award for 'Adviser of the Year'

Cy Springs teacher wins HSJN award for 'Adviser of the Year'

The journalism department receives awards at HSJN. (Noah Spencer)

The journalism department receives awards at HSJN. (Noah Spencer)

On Wednesday, multiple journalism students were honored in the High School Journalism Network Awards at Cy Falls. Michael Damante, advanced journalism and yearbook teacher, was named adviser of the year by the network.

Journalism has been a huge part of his life since high school, and he was a staff member of the Houston Chronicle for seven years.

“I believe I received journalism adviser of the year for the district because I was really aggressive to try to get our students bylines every week,” said Damante. “I bombarded them with our work, and our content week- by-week. ….My overall feeling was shock because I didn't expect it because there are so many great teachers in the program, and in the district.I was very happy that the students were able to be acknowledged.”

Students won an award for contributing to the network. Students who won awards either received a byline on the district website or submitted a photo used on a district story. Avery Collins of Cy Falls won Journalist of the Year.

Cy Springs sophomore Mya Banks, junior Jasmine Trevino, senior Nathalie Marquez, senior Kelsey Crowder, senior Abi Rodriguez, senior Destiny Cisneros, senior Sharif Goodlette, sophomore Abiliene Brewer, and senior Oyinlola Hastrup all received awards.

Angel Verdejo presents Michael Damante with adviser of the year award. (Joel Weckerly)

Angel Verdejo presents Michael Damante with adviser of the year award. (Joel Weckerly)

Presenter Angel Verdejo handed out the awards to students while also offering his own personal experience before and after the awards. Verdejo used to work as a high school sports writer at the Houston Chronicle. He now works for the Cy Fair communications network covering the district.

“The evening was outstanding,” said Verdejo via Twitter. “And the future is bright for reporters and photographers in Cy Fair ISD.”

Sam Khan, ESPN sports writer, also spoke as a keynote speaker at the awards. Khan graduated from Cy Falls in 2000, and now works as a sports writer covering college sports. Khan gave students advice, and spoke on how he built his career after college.

Verdejo, communications director Joel Weckerly and other district employees cannot be in multiple places at once covering multiple games. or events. This is where the journalism network comes in. The HSJN is a network where high school students from every school in the district can submit stories and photos to the network. Students also receive credit for their work; allowing them to build their portfolio before they graduate high school.  

“It felt nice to get the recognition I deserved, and for what I have been doing all year,” said Haastrup.

By Mya Banks and Zia Williams

with Jasmine Trevino and Ashanti Walker

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