Wauwatosa West Student Named 2021 Wisconsin Journalism Education Association Student Journalist of the Year


Senior Sara Stanislawski has been recognized as the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association Student Journalist of the Year.

Claire Guttormson, Writer

Wauwatosa West senior, and editor for the Tosa Compass, Sara Stanislawski, has been named 2021 Wisconsin Journalism Education Association Student Journalist of the Year.

The Journalism Education Association (JEA) is a national organization that works to promote scholastic journalism by supporting the students, teachers and advisors of journalism programs across the country.

“We received submissions from 8 excellent high school seniors across the state, but [Sara’s] stood out for her breadth of work, her passion and her obvious writing and leadership skills,” said JEA Wisconsin state director Mathew Smith. “It’s particularly gratifying when we can recognize someone such as Sara, who has done so much impressive work in all areas.”

The title of Wisconsin Journalist of the Year is given to one student each year with at least two years of journalism experience. In order to be eligible to win, applicants must enter a detailed portfolio of their work which must include pieces stretching across 8 different categories. This year, it was Stanislawski’s impressive portfolio which caught the judges’ eyes.

While applying, Stanislawski took the chance to reflect on her years as a student journalist.

“Being a part of the journalism program has been a crucial part of my high school experience and I was happy I had the opportunity to apply in the first place and reflect on all the great experiences, and skills I have learned through journalism”.

Since joining the Journalism program in her freshman year, Stanislawski has proved her talents again and again, from her work that year in the Writing for Publication class through her three years on the leadership team.

Before this talent was recognized by the JEA judges, it was noted by Wauwatosa journalism faculty advisor and Wauwatosa West teacher Christopher Lazarski in his letter of recommendation to the JEA Wisconsin committee.

“Sara does it all – she leads, organizes and coordinates the staff, she brings new people to the program, she mentors and encourages new and seasoned members, she maintains the web site, she schedules web articles, she writes short spot news stories, she writes long in-depth investigative reports, she makes videos, she takes pictures, she submits open records requests for larger investigative news stories, she tells engaging stories about the people in our school, our school district and our school community using the most appropriate media,” said Lazarski. “Sara has advanced skill levels in every area of journalism.”

Including in her long list of journalistic accomplishments is Stanislawski’s participation in TMJ4’s new literacy week, in which The Tosa Compass teamed up with TMJ4 to produce a video. TMJ4 broadcast director and vetran sports reporter Jessica Garcia worked with Stanislawski multiple times over the course of two years and had nothing but good things to say about the partnership.

“Sara’s talent and skills helped us to show viewers what it takes to create a television news story.” Garcia explains how dutiful a worker Stanislawkski is, and repeats a shared sentiment between those who have had the pleasure to work with her. “Sara Stanislawksi is a very deserving winner of this award.”

Following this win, Stanislawski is still focused on the work.

“Journalism is essential to keeping communities informed and it has been empowering to be able to tell stories about and for students and my community as a student journalist,” she explains. “It is truly an honor to win the award”

Along with the distinguished title of 2021 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year, Sara Stanislawski also received a 1,000 dollar scholarship, funded in part by the Milwaukee Press Club, and will represent Wisconsin at the JEA nationwide contest held in May.