An Arlington teenager has won the NBC DFW Education Nation Homeroom Reformers Challenge essay contest. In the fall, the station asked North Texas students to submit an essay on why they should win $5,000 to improve their school.
Arlington High School junior Marianne Brown, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, wrote the winning 500-word essay about how desperately her school's publications department needs the money so she and her classmates can more effectively pursue their passion for journalism.
"In my three years on staff, I have only sent one issue to print in its entirety," she wrote about The Colt. "It's so disheartening to have to go to my staff as their editor-in-chief and tell them that everything they are doing is right, but it's not going to work out money wise."
The students know their stories may not get printed if they can't sell enough ads to pay for printing. Brown has spent plenty a late night in this classroom fighting with computers that freeze.
"Our computers would just shut down in the middle of us working. And it's really frustrating," said Brown.
The school newspaper has a budget of only about $500 to $1,000 per school year. $5,000 will give them a lot more to work with.
"I couldn't believe it," said Brown about winning.
Teacher and publications advisor Emily Miller said they can finally fully launch their online newspaper, buy a new camera, and start replacing some of the outdated computers.
"Having this money, it's just, I say life changing, but I mean, it almost is for our newspaper. We're going to be able to do a lot more," said Miller. "I'm like a parent glowing with pride. I'm just so, so proud of her."
Brown will be around for another year to enjoy what $5,000 can buy.
NBC DFW received about 165 entries for the essay contest. The contest also was held by all of the other NBC-owned stations around the country.