A talented naturalist was named as one of London’s best teenage journalists at an awards ceremony last night.
The youngsters had triumphed in our annual Young Reporter Awards, beating almost 1,000 other students at 100 schools across the capital and in parts of Kent and Surrey.
Set up six years ago, the unique scheme, run by this newspaper and sister titles across the area, allows school students to get a taste of life as a journalist by completing a series of assignments which are then published on our websites.
The quantity and quality of entries was higher than ever this year and the judges had great difficulty in selecting the winners.
Danielle Connor, a student at Ursuline High School, Wimbledon and a keen naturalist, scooped the prize for breaking news in the years 12 and 13 age group with her article about a coot which was found with a dart through its neck at Queensmere Pond on Wimbledon Common.
After receiving her award, a delighted Danielle, said: "A teacher told me about it and she said it was a great scheme. I was on the scheme last year and I was disappointed when I didn’t win, but it’s hard."
Students from South Thames College also took part in the scheme.
Group managing editor, Andy Parkes, who founded the scheme and helped present the awards said: "This is one of my favourite events, and it just gets better every year.
"The enthusiasm and dedication of the young reporters never ceases to amaze me and it’s an honour to recognise their achievements.
"We know it helps immensely when they’re applying for university places and a number of the young reporters who took part in year one have already gone on to become professional journalists.
"I’m already looking forward to next year."
Peter Le Riche, from the University of Roehampton, the awards' higher education partner, said: "Our congratulations go to each one of the winners for the work they have put in. The students I spoke to at the awards were clearly serious about becoming responsible journalists, which is very heartening to see.
"When the time is right, I would encourage them to find out how a respected degree in the subject, like the courses Roehampton provides, can give them the grounding and knowledge of journalism, including how the industry works in the digital age, which employers really value."
*Read the work of students on the scheme at www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/youngreporter
*Schools that would like to take part in the scheme next year should contact Diana Jarvis now on firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 02087226378.
Young Reporter Awards 2014 – winners
Years 12 and 13
Best Reporter – Yasmeen Ameer - Croydon High School
Breaking News - Danielle Connor - Ursuline High School
Best Event - Rahmon Agbaje – Whitgift, School
Best Interview - Iaya Al-Khafaji - Wycombe High School
Best Feature - Yasmeen Ameer - Croydon High School
Best Photo - Emma Johnson - Streatham and Clapham High School
Years 10 and 11
Best Reporter - Liberty Martin, Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College
Breaking News - Chloe Batchford, Farringtons School
Best Event - Emma Wooldridge, St Martha's School
Best Interview - Louise Bate, Gumley House Convent School
Best Feature - Tara Madsen, The Tiffin Girls' School
Best Photo - Charlotte Allen, Nonsuch High School
Extra Mile – Liberty Martin, Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College
Extra Mile – Muhammed Hussain – Coombe Boys’ School
Most Read - Dan Statham – The Royal Grammar School