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Monday 19 February 2018

Student bounces back from bullying to scoop press award

Student bounces back from bullying to scoop press award

Elayna Keller
Elayna Keller
Elayna Keller from Our Lady's College in Drogheda recieves her award from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, , surrounded by other winners. Mark Condren
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

A BULLYING victim picked up the top prize at the National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) Press Awards.

Transition-year student Elayna Keller from Our Lady's College Drogheda, Co Louth, revealed she drew on her own experience to write an open and honest piece entitled 'Kids Can be Cruel'.

It landed the top award at the second annual NNI Press Pass initiative designed to encourage reading and improve literacy levels among post-primary students.

"Writing is my way of getting my feelings out," she told the Irish Independent,adding that she was bullied as a child.

"My social skills were really stunted afterwards; I had no idea how to talk to people.

"Just writing down my feelings about that time felt like enough of an achievement; to win the award is completely overwhelming."

Emily O'Grady from Colaiste Chiarain, Croom, Co Limerick, received the top prize in the features section for her interview with radio host Joe Duffy.

"It really is easy to talk to Joe. That's why everyone phones him. He was so articulate and generous with his time. I sent him an email telling him I got the nomination so I cannot wait to let him know I won," she said.

Other winners announced at the ceremony in Dublin's Convention Centre included James Healy, from St Joseph's Secondary School, in Drogheda, Co Louth, in the news category, and Connell McHugh from Athlone Community College, in the comment category.

Aaron Amond from Presentation College Carlow came third in the Sports Category. "I wrote about my club getting into the All Ireland semi-final. I never thought I would get an award. I am delighted with myself."

First prize in the Sports category went to Niamh Hetherington, from Dunshaughlin Community College, Co Meath.

The prize for photojournalism went to Kinga Strama, from St Mary's College, Arklow, Co Wicklow, for her glowing portrait of a girl tangled in fairy lights.

Irish Independent

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