CJAM held its banquet and awards ceremony last week

On May 2, Poynter Institute held Journeys in Journalism for their annual banquet.


Special to SNN

Kevin Mort (left), seniors DeMarria Raiford and James Cruickshank, photojournalism teacher Jordan Pompey, and senior Bella Croteau stand at the podium at the Poynter Institute on May 2. The three seniors pictured all won scholarships to help with college tuitions.


The annual CJAM and Journeys in Journalism award ceremony took place May 2, where journalists from kindergarten to their senior year were given awards and recognition in front of friends, families and peers.  The Journeys in Journalism program in Pinellas County consists of Melrose Elementary School, John Hopkins Middle School and Lakewood High School. 

This event was held at the Poynter Institute and was catered by Sonny’s Barbeque. It went from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with free parking. Ticket prices varied from school to school, with Lakewood tickets costing $20. 

Upwards of 20 Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) awards were given out for the spring submission, both to John Hopkins Middle School students and Lakewood students in the high school journalism competitions. Teachers from each school gave individualized awards to their students.  

Four scholarships were also awarded this year, three Cynda Mort Scholarships presented by the husband of Cynda Mort, Kevin Mort, and one Peggy Peterman Book Scholarship presented by Frank Peterman. The recipients of the $2,000 Cynda Mort scholarships were seniors Bella Croteau, James Cruickshank and DeMarria Raiford, with Raiford also winning the $500 Peggy Peterman Book Scholarship. 

Both scholarships are named after journalists in the community, with Mort founding Journeys in Journalism – which hit its 21st anniversary this year – and Peterman being an outstanding female African American journalist in the community. 

Also announced was next year’s editing team for Spartan News Network.  

2023-24 SNN Editor Team 

  • Editor-in-Chief: Autumn Peelar 
  • Photo Editor: Max Stys  
  • Entertainment & Trends Editor: Keegan Cunningham  
  • Breaking News Editors: Maggie Munoz and Jules East 
  • Social Media Editor: Maggie Munoz 
  • Opinion Editor: Zephyniis Wharton  
  • Multimedia Editor: Kortney Snead 
  • Copy Editor: Owen Blair-Catala 

2023-24 Alpha-Omega Editor 

  • Editor-in-Chief: Gabby Wright