This year’s Mississippi High School Journalist of the Year is Muneebah Umar, editor-in-chief of The Vision online student newspaper at the Mississippi School for Math & Science. Umar was selected from a pool of 23 student applicants, and judging was based on the strength of her comprehensive online portfolio of work.
“I asked our final panel of judges to rank their selections, and Muneebah was a unanimous first choice,” Mississippi Scholastic Press Association director R.J. Morgan said. “She’s done a fantastic job of leading her publication through the most challenging of school years, and I’m excited to have her as our state’s standard-bearer in the national contest.”
Umar will now advance to the national level of the Journalism Education Association’s High School Journalist of the Year competition, where she will compete for up to $3,000 in scholarship award money. As Mississippi’s top scholastic journalist, she will also headline a select group of yet-to-be-announced All-Mississippi honorees at MSPA’s virtual statewide spring convention on Friday, April 9.
“Muneebah has all the attributes you would want in an editor: curious, well-informed, fair-minded, open-minded, thoughtful, tactful, organized, sharp-eyed and hard-working,” Vision adviser Margaret Mary Henry said. “She is a talented wordsmith and a gifted leader. I am thrilled — but not surprised — that she has been named the Journalist of the Year.”
Umar is a senior and plans to study biology and/or neuroscience in college. She has yet to finalize where she will attend school next fall.
“This is such a huge honor, and I’m so grateful for all the life lessons and skills I’ve developed through journalism, such as the ability to think on my feet and a strong work ethic,” Umar said. “I know regardless of what field I end up in, I will use the lessons journalism has taught me. The Vision has been a huge part of my high school career, and I’m so proud of everything I’ve gotten to accomplish through it. I’m very excited for what’s next.”
Umar’s winning portfolio can be found here.