Texas adviser wins Benz scholarship

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Andrea Negri of Alief Hastings HS in Houston earns $500 from Quill and Scroll

Andrea Negri of Alief Hastings High School in Houston, Texas has been named the winner of the 2019 Lester G. Benz Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a high school journalism teacher by Quill and Scroll.

Quill and Scroll will contribute $500 to Negri’s pursuit of a master’s degree in journalism education at Kent State University in Ohio. Negri said that her classes at KSU will help her students become better journalists, and specifically to help them take their publications online.

“As an adviser, I want to make sure I stay on top of trends and new developments in journalism,” Negri said. “That is one reason I enrolled in Kent State’s program. I also love to help other advisers and other schools. Quill and Scroll’s scholarship will help me continue to serve my students and peers.”

For the past 10 years, Negri has taught newspaper and yearbook classes at Hastings, where 67 percent of the student body receives a free lunch as part of the federal free lunch program and another 9 percent receives reduced-price lunches, according to 2015-2016 data from the federal government.

“Despite her school being a high-poverty school on a shoestring budget, Andrea finds success,” wrote Jeanne Acton, the director of journalism for Texas’ University Interscholastic League. “Her students have won numerous awards both at the local and state level. Every day she is  making an impact in her classroom.”

Negri is the contest director for the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, and she serves on the board of the Association of Texas Photography Instructors.

“Andrea hasn’t figured out the word ‘no’ yet,” Acton wrote. “Andrea is an integral part of why Texas has some of the best scholastic journalism in the nation.”

TAJE Executive Director Cindy Todd also noted Negri’s devotion to her students and to scholastic journalism in Texas, where journalism students and advisers are seeking to pass an anti-Hazelwood “New Voices” bill that would guarantee Lone Star State public high school students their full First Amendment rights.

“Last week, she left early on a Thursday morning during deadline to drive to Austin and spend the day supporting teachers, students and professionals as they testified on New Voices before the Texas House Public Education Committee,” Todd wrote. “And she has done all of this while taking classes in grad school to become an even better teacher, adviser and mentor. Impressive.”

In her decade as a journalism teacher, Negri has also received the Edith Fox King Award from the UIL Press Conference and the Pathfinder Award from TAJE, and she earned designation from the Journalism Education Association as a Master Journalism Educator.

Lester G. Benz

Lester G. Benz served as Quill and Scroll’s third executive director and was in the position from 1957 to 1972.

Here’s the list of Quill and Scroll’s executive directors:

  • George Gallup, 1926-1932
  • Edward J. Nell, 1932-1957
  • Lester G. Benz, 1957-1972
  • Richard Johns, 1972-2007
  • Vanessa Shelton, 2007-2017
  • Jeff Browne, 2017-present
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