Lemont’s Charmaine Balisalisa Wins Title at IHSA Journalism State Finals
Balisalisa, a senior, won the state championship in info graphics, while senior Maddy George took fourth in feature photography.
Lemont High School seniors Charmaine Balisalisa and Maddy George became the first students in school history to earn medals at the IHSA Journalism State Finals on Friday.
The event, held at the Buzzard Building on the Eastern Illinois University campus, featured competitions in 16 categories, with students being asked to meet a different challenge in each competition.
In Lemont's fourth consecutive appearance at the Journalism State Finals, Balisalisa took first place in Info Graphics and George took fourth in Feature Photography.
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.
Balisalisa—who serves as assistant design editor for the school newspaper, the Tom-Tom—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, she 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 top three finishers in each category from seven IHSA Sectionals advanced to compete at the IHSA State Finals.
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 website, www.lhs210.net.