2014 Scholarship Finalists












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2014 Scholarship Finalists

Ryan Zagrzecki
Stephen F Austin High School

PParents: Richard and Patricia Zagrzecki
Sibling (Age): Blake (14)
ACT Score: 33
HS GPA: 3.6863
Intended Major Field of Study: Journalism




My experience on my high school newspaper staff has sparked my interest in the field of journalism. I was accepted to the newspaper staff as a staff/sports writer during my sophomore year. Acceptance to the newspaper staff is contingent upon grades and teacher recommendation. I received the Rookie Reporter of the Year Award my first year on the staff and knew that journalism was a field I wanted to pursue in college.

During my junior year, I was selected to be the sports editor for the newspaper. It was a great honor and combined my love of sports and newspaper reporting. My role as sports editor confirmed my desire to pursue a career in journalism.

In the summer of 2013, I applied and was one of only 20 students selected from the Greater Houston area to participate in a four-week summer workshop at the Houston Chronicle. The Houston Chronicle Summer High School Journalism Workshop had classes taught by Houston Chronicle employees as well as other media professionals.

At the journalism workshop, I saw first-hand the life of a journalist. Seeing everything from reporters to photographers, the life of a journalist intrigued me. When a Chronicle photographer spoke to us, I realized that he meets interesting people and hears interesting stories. The same is true for the crime/court reporter. I believe being a journalist is something that I would enjoy doing every day.

My experience at the Chronicle enhanced my newspaper skills and I will take what I learned over the summer as I begin my senior year on the newspaper staff. The workshop experience included researching story ideas and interviewing people for stories I was assigned to write. I also had the opportunity to interview the Houston Chief of Police, Harris County Sheriff and Houston Mayor Annise Parker. At the end of the workshop, the class combined the skills and techniques taught to us and we produced a newspaper called the Chronicle Cub.

The field of journalism offers several possibilities. I envision it as a career that will always be exciting as I learn new skills and meet different people. I also enjoy the variety it offers and the potential to travel and see new places. At the workshop, professional journalists told stories about covering news in different parts of the country and abroad.

More specifically, sports journalism is what interests me the most. My passion for sports is how I became interested in journalism. The idea of covering it for a living is exciting. Sports journalism requires knowing many different sports; baseball, football, hockey, etc. I enjoy watching nearly all sports, plus I have been reading the sports section of the newspaper for as long as I can remember, so sports journalism seems like a natural fit for me.

Currently, I am sports editor of my high school newspaper and am responsible for the newspaper and online sports content. I take on many different roles for the newspaper from taking pictures to interviewing coaches to laying out the sports pages of the newspaper.

My goal is to major in journalism at the University of Oklahoma. I believe journalism is a good fit for me since I enjoy being on a newspaper staff and learning about the field of journalism.

I envision my future working at a news or sports entity gathering, writing and/or editing stories. I hope to use my writing skills to impact readers and use the power of the written word as a communications tool that will present and challenge a variety of topics.

Austin Newspaper Staff Sports Editor (Grades 11& 12)
Houston Chronicle Summer High School Journalism Workshop (Summer 2013)
1st Place District 23 5A UIL – News Writing (Grade 10)
Honorable Mention - News Writing (JEA National Write-Off) (Grade 11)
2nd Place District 23 5A UIL – News Writing (Grade 11)
1st Place District 23-5A UIL- Feature Writing (Grade 12)
2nd Place District 23-5A- Headline Writing (Grade 12)
Houston Chronicle Award: Outstanding Achievement in Journalism (Summer of 2013)
National Society of High School Scholars (Grades 11 & 12)
FBISD Academic Excellence Award (Grades 9-12)
Houston Food Bank Volunteer (Grades 11 &12) (26 total hours)

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