CAF&DM Wins Yet Again at the 41st District 6 Journalism Convention


Junior Catarina Ruggiano and senior Nicole Aguerre film shots at the opening session for their On-The-Spot contest.

Patricia Passwaters, Editor-in-Chief

Eighty-five students in the Communication Arts, Film and Digital Media Academy (CAF&DM) attended Florida International University’s 41st Journalism Day on Saturday, October 26th. Over 500 students from both public and private middle and high schools from all over Miami-Dade county attended and competed, as well, in this convention.

The convention began with keynote speakers Rick Folbaum (evening anchor), Lauren Pastrana (reporter), and Liz Roldan (director), who are all a part of the CBS-4 News Crew. Each of these speakers took a turn to go into detail about their specific area in the field and their experience. They also addressed the importance of free expression for students and the responsibilities that come with such.

When asked about her favorite part of the job, Pastrana said, “My day is different every single day. It’s a front row seat for history as it’s unfolding. We are the gatekeepers to our community.”

After the keynote speech, the rest of the day was then divided into three different seminars that held about 5 -7 sessions, with students choosing what session to attend based on what they wanted to learn. Every seminar was about an hour long and consisted of speakers whom have had experience in the field of journalism, and ranged from teaching the students about different aspects of the subject or simply speaking to them about their career in general.

“My favorite session was the marketing session because they gave out free goody bags full of candy. I learned some crazy ways to promote yearbook sales which I will definitely try out as we get closer to the end of the year,” said Alexander Duran, marketing editor of the yearbook staff.

Each year, Journalism Day serves as an inspiration and provides motivation to many students who are a part of the various publications offered at high schools. Whether or not it is the first time a student is attending, they always use this convention to gather information from speakers to build and mature their publication.

When CavsConnect Sports Editor, junior Jonathan Torres, was asked about why he decided to attend J-Day for a second time, he said, “Last year I attended and was provided some information I later used to improve some of my methods. Knowing that there was going to be new speakers, I knew I could probably learn a thing or two from them. It’s not everyday that you get to meet so many professionals and hear their opinion all in one place.”

On-The-Spot competitions were also held during the first seminar. Categories were offered for each of the different publications and were judged throughout the day. For freshman Olivia Fields, a staff writer of the CGHS newspaper highlights,  it was not only her first time attending, but also her first time competing in a journalism convention.

“My first time at J-Day was definitely better than I expected. Waking up early wasn’t the best, but it was fun and I learned some helpful tips on interviewing that I will pass on to my fellow staff. The thing I enjoyed the most was probably participating in the On-The-Spot Features Writing contest. It was super exciting since it was my first competition,” Field said.

Once the third seminar came to an end, students and advisers met in the ballrooms at the Graham Center to attend the closing ceremony. Both Digital Contest awards and On-The-Spot Contest awards were presented during this time. The Cavalier Spirit was yet again at an all time high as CAF&DM took home awards in various categories.

highlights (Newspaper) – Adviser: Mrs. Nieves
Newspaper Features Section – Excellent Rating – Raquel Braun and Avery Budin
Commentary and Artwork – Excellent Rating – Stephan Chamberlin and Margarita Rivers
On-the-Spot Feature Writing – Second Place – Olivia Field
On-the-Spot News Writing – Second Place – Jordan Payne

Gables Live! (TV Production) – Adviser: Ms. Camacho
Event Coverage Package – Honorable Mention – Samuel Tapia, Diana Galiano, Catarina Ruggiano, and Daniela K. Suarez
All Florida Broadcast Commercial – Second Place – Jorge Suarez, Wassim Khalid, John Bryant

Catharsis (Literary Magazine) – Adviser: Ms. Zaldivar
On-the-Spot Creative Writing – First Place – Aliyah Symes
Literary Magazine Spread– Honorable Mention / Second Place – Katya Sarria and Kassandra Lopez

Cavaleon (Yearbook) – Adviser: Mrs. Zuniga
Yearbook Student Life Spread – Honorable Mention – Michelle Tapia and Keana Mercado
Back to School Photo Page – Excellent – Michelle Tapia and Cynthia Martinez
Sports Reaction Photo – Honorable Mention – Bradley Lee

CavsConnect (Online Newspaper) – Adviser: Mrs. Suarez
On-the-Spot Creative Writing – Third Place – Patricia Passwaters

Congratulations to all of CAF&DM’s aspiring journalists!