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2016 Michael S. Powell HS Journalist of the Year: Richard Montgomery High School’s Andrew Kostka

Andrew Kostka named MDDC’s Top High School Journalist for 2016

Andrew Kostka of Richard Montgomery High School and the Montgomery Sentinel has been named the 2016 Michael S. Powell High School Journalist of the Year, beating out more than 15 students from the Maryland, Delaware and DC areas.  Andrew is the 17th overall winner of the award, which is given by the Press Foundation, the charitable arm of the MDDC Press Association, to recognize and nurture the talents of up and coming journalists. The MDDC reaches out to high schools each year in the region to solicit nominations for the $1,500 scholarship.  Students submit an application, several writing samples, and letters of reference, which are evaluated by the selection committee.  The students were evaluated on the quality of the writing and references as well as the time and energy put into the school news publication and their passion for journalism.

Andrew is a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland.  His decision to “step out of his comfort zone…and join the student newspaper” has led to an online expansion for the award-winning publication.  Drawn to sports journalism, Sports Editor last year.  Upon becoming an Editor in Chief for his senior year, Andrew created the first-ever website for the Tide, www.thermtide.com, which was at 100,000 visits within the first two months.  After creating the website, it was back to (sports) business for Andrew. He focused on making The Tide Online the “go-to news outlet for postgame reports”, including the entire 11-game football season.  Andrew covers the entire cycle, “live tweeting the games, then continuing on with postgame interviews.”  After the players have left the field, Andrew writes on, racing “against the clock to get [his] article online the same night, preferably beating the Washington Post to the story.”  Andrew has branched out, writing freelance sports coverage for the Montgomery Sentinel and posting on the Read Everything Network, which focuses on English soccer.  Brian Karem, Andrew’s editor at the Sentinel, says he is the “best high school intern we've had in years.”

Andrew has broadened his coverage, recently investigating a fight that broke out after a game, and experimenting with concert reviews.  His teacher, Lisa Hines MacFarlane, writes that “Andrew has always been a conscientious student and a detailed writer who stood out from the rest of the class.”  She believes that Andrew has “a passion and talent for journalism.” 

Members of the selection committee agreed with Ms. MacFarlane’s assessment.  Committee members Angie Price of the Bay Times (chair), Hannah Carroll of The Daily Times, Dan Divilio of the Kent County News, Brian Karem of the Sentinel Newspapers and Ben Penserga of The Daily Times deliberated over their choice.  There were several very strong candidates for this award.  The judges felt Andrew’s “writing abilities are strong and his submissions show he can cover a range of topics, although it is clear to see his heart belongs to sports journalism.”  The committee was impressed with Andrew’s potential, noting “he could step into a newsroom right away.”

Andrew plans to continue his journalism education at either University of Maryland, College Park, Syracuse University or Boston University, where he plans to continue covering sports.  Congratulations to Andrew Kostka, the 2016 recipient of the Michael S. Powell High School Journalist award. 

Two students were runner-ups for the High School Journalist of the Year award and deserve mention. 


Taylor Markey 

Taylor is a senior at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, MD and is Editor-in-Chief of The Roadrunner.  As top editor, Taylor has focused on covering “more controversial and interesting” topics of interest to students, while balancing the requirements of prior review by her Catholic school administration.  Her teacher, Bridget Snyder, writes that Taylor “especially strong at writing opinion columns as well as the more difficult news stories that come up”.  The judges agreed, noting “she can accurately cover a wide range of topics.”




Marissa McCloy

Marissa is a senior at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, DE.  As Editor-in-Chief of the Viking Ventures Student Newspaper, Marissa “oversees the production of six print issues with a staff of 33 students,” while maintaining capevikingventures.com.  The judges felt that “she can cover a wide range of topics, not only pertaining to her school, but to her generation.”  Marissa’s teacher, Amie King, writes that Marissa is devoted to the role, and “takes action and inspires others to help make Cape Publications the best it can be.”

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