Home: News : Lemont’s Charmaine Balisalisa wins title at 2012 IHSA Journalism State Finals

Lemont’s Charmaine Balisalisa wins title at 2012 IHSA Journalism State Finals


Lemont High School senior Charmaine Balisalisa became the school's first champion at the IHSA Journaliam State Finals, triumphing in the Info Graphics category.

With students representing the school in state finals competition for the fourth straight year, Lemont High School’s journalism program reached new heights at the 2012 IHSA Journalism State Finals, which were contested at the Buzzard Building on the campus of Eastern Illinois University on April 27. Three Lemont students competed in state competition, and seniors Charmaine Balisalisa and Maddy George became the first Lemont students to earn state medals. George was fourth in Feature Photography, while Balisalisa was the state champion in Info Graphics.

2012 IHSA Journalism State Finals results

Balisalisa, George and senior Ryan Peraino all finished among the top three in their respective categories at the IHSA Lewis University Sectional to earn their first state finals berths.

A Tom-Tom Assistant Design Editor, Balisalisa was the runner-up in Info Graphics at the sectional. At the state finals, she was the top performer among the category’s 21 entrants, edging runner-up Mela Moczybroda of Chicago Taft. In the Info Graphics category, students create a graphic to illustrate a given set of statistics for a story that is provided to them. Entries are judged on originality, readability, clarity, and adherence to aesthetic control principles.

George serves as the Tom-Tom’s Photo Editor, and was the runner-up in the sectional’s Feature Photography category. At the state finals, George was fourth of 21 competitors, trailing only state champion Kathryn Powell of University High, Buffalo Grove’s Maya Toler and Fremd’s Justin Lanier. In the Feature Photography competition, students use a digital camera to complete a photo assignment on a given topic and gather the appropriate cutline information.

Peraino, who fills the role of the Tom-Tom’s Sports Editor, was third at the sectional in the Newspaper Sports Writing competition, and was one of 21 students from across the state to compete in that category at the state finals.

The IHSA Journalism State Finals includes competitions in 16 categories, with students being asked to meet a different challenge in each competition. The top three finishers in each category from seven IHSA Sectionals advanced to compete at the IHSA State Finals.

IHSA Journalism State Finals Web site

At the IHSA Lewis Sectional, four other Lemont students placed among the top six in their respective categories. Senior Ian Stratta was fourth in Broadcast News Writing; senior Maribeth Van Hecke was fourth in Editorial Writing; senior Mallory Christine was fifth in Review Writing; and junior Laura Harding was sixth in News Writing.

The Tom-Tom primarily is published online, and each issue is available for download from the school’s Web site (link below to gallery). Lemont’s Journalism advisor is English teacher Sean Clark.

Tom-Tom Web site

This is the fourth straight year that at least one Lemont student has qualified to compete at the IHSA Journalism State Finals. Brianna Smith ‘09 became the first student in school history to qualify for the event in 2009; Rachel Colant ‘11, Janelle Fennessy ‘11, Annie Fox ‘10, Taylor Thanos ‘10 and David Timm ‘10 all were state qualifiers in 2010; and Brittany Baldwin ‘11, Katelyn Bittke ‘11, Gregg Husa ‘11, Kelly Lyons ‘11 and current senior Morgan McPartland all qualified in 2011.

For more information, contact Director of School and Community Relations Tony Hamilton at (630) 243-3280.
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