The Hernando Sun’s Editor and Publisher, Julie Maglio, presented the 2023 Florida Press Educational Services (FPES) Friend of Newspapers in Education (NIE) Award to Weeki Wachee High School Journalism Teacher Dawn Ali-Carr. The presentation occurred during the Florida Media Conference in Sarasota on July 21. Julie is a member of the FPES NIE board and worked closely with Dawn Ali-Carr to insert the student newspaper, The Weeki Wachee Buzz, into the Hernando Sun as a special section. Julie’s speech is included below.
I am pleased to be presenting the 2023 Friend of NIE award. Friend of NIE recognizes individuals and organizations that partner with and help grow the NIE programs around the state. The FPES board has chosen a deserving, dedicated educator as this year’s Friend of NIE. Dawn Ali-Carr has taught for 19 years, and she currently teaches at Weeki Wachee High School in Hernando County. She teaches English Composition, Literature, and Journalism. She uses regional and local resources in her classroom. Sometimes her students tell her it’s the first time they have read a newspaper.
This year, Dawn decided her journalism class would produce a school newspaper. This sounds simple enough, and you would think that a journalism program would be producing a school newspaper. Sadly, school newspapers are in decline. In the recent past, there have been no high schools in Hernando County that have consistently published school newspapers. Dawn faced significant challenges in technology, limited resources, and red tape, yet she was able to bring it to fruition.
Dawn partnered with the Hernando Sun in producing the school newspaper, “The Weeki Wachee Buzz.” The idea was a ‘newspaper takeover’ where the Buzz took over four pages of the Hernando Sun as a special section. This is an amazing way to help the next generation connect with journalism and newspapers.
The theme of this conference is connections, and this is a wonderful way for newspapers to connect with their community. So congratulations, Dawn, our 2023 Friend of NIE!
Florida Press Education Services President Jodi Pushkin stated, “Dawn is the reason why we do what we do in the world of Newspapers in Education. It is an honor to award her the 10th annual FPES Friend of NIE Award as an individual who has helped further FPES’ goal of promoting literacy by using the newspaper as an educational resource. Dawn’s dedication to her students and profession is commendable. It is clear she has made the newspapers – the Hernando Sun and the Tampa Bay Times – relevant to students’ lives as well as to the state educational standards.”
Ali-Carr attended the Florida Media Conference sessions on Thursday and Friday. She remarked, “THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for this experience. This has been tremendously inspiring. This was such a learning experience beyond my imagination. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I felt the pride radiating from each speaker when they shared their history and advice. Everyone loves what they do.. and that’s a rare setting.”
About FPES: Florida Press Educational Services, Inc. (FPES) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of newspaper professionals that promotes literacy and critical thinking, particularly for young people. FPES members consist of daily and weekly newspapers throughout the state of Florida. Through its member newspapers, FPES serves educators, students, and families in all 67 Florida counties.