Glebe report salutes local writing excellence

For 24 and 18 years respectively, the Glebe Report has sponsored two awards for local students showing ability and interest in writing and journalism: the Anne Donaldson Memorial Scholarship for Community Journalism, awarded to a Carleton journalism student, and the Susan Jermyn Award for Creative Writing, given to a Glebe Collegiate student.

Anne Donaldson Memorial Scholarship for Community Journalism
The Anne Donaldson award was established by the Glebe Report board of directors in 1997 in memory of Anne Donaldson, chair of the board who died that year. This award is given annually to a student in the journalism program at Carleton who displays academic excellence and commitment to the wellbeing of the urban community. The fund has grown through donations from the community as well as friends and family of Anne Donaldson and the Glebe Report.

The 2020 recipient was Gabrielle Van Looyen, and the 2021 recipient is Julia Paulson.

Julia Paulson: in her own words
I was honoured to be awarded the Anne Donaldson Memorial Scholarship for Community Journalism.

Growing up in Barrie, I began reading the newspaper when I was nine years old. Many of the articles in the Toronto Star were beyond my understanding. One subject, however, always stood out: crime.

The Star published quick blurbs about recent crimes in the city. I read them all but was never satisfied. It wasn’t the “what” that I wanted to understand, it was the “why.”

Why were some streets mentioned more often than others? Why would someone on parole commit a crime again? Why did people break the law?

I received a variety of answers throughout my adolescence, but they all seemed to boil down to one simple idea: bad people come from bad neighbourhoods.

My coursework at Carleton took me all around Ottawa. I never did find these “bad neighbourhoods.” Instead, I found communities. Some of them had been torn apart, like Heron Gate where 105 families were evicted in 2018. Others had been brought closer together, like West Carleton after a tornado touched down there that same year.

I also couldn’t find the “bad people.” My work as a journalist piqued my interest in forensic psychology. I enrolled in courses about addiction, criminal behaviour and data analysis. As I progressed in my studies, my interest in “why” evolved into an interest in how I could help.

Receiving the Anne Donaldson Memorial Scholarship gave me my answer. I was proud to be recognized for community journalism. I realized I needed to connect the things I’m passionate about: exploring and understanding communities, psychology and criminal activity.

I added a second major in Psychology to my Journalism degree, enrolled in the Honours thesis stream and reached out to potential supervisors. I found a perfect fit in Dr. Kirk Luther’s Investigative Interviewing Research Lab. The money from this scholarship supported me as I entered the new and unfamiliar territory of scientific research.

This year, I’ll complete a research project exploring young peoples’ understanding of their legal rights. Those small blurbs in the Toronto Star started this whole journey. A few sentences shaped my life. When youth in our community encounter the justice system for the first time, a few sentences can shape their future.

Susan Jermyn Award for creative writing
The Susan Jermyn award is given to a graduating student from Glebe Collegiate Institute’s creative-writing classes. Susan Jermyn, a former Glebe student and editor of the Glebe Report, died in 2003, and the award was established by the board of directors to honour her memory. The award criteria centre on originality and ability in writing, as well as development of writing skills during the course. In 2019-20, recipients were Juliana Morewood and Brigitte Gerlach. The 2020-21 recipients were Noah Snieckus and Drew Dwyer.

Juliana Morewood
There’s something beautiful about the way we as humans can take something as meaningless as a combination of somewhat random letters and turn them into an entire world. From poetry to prose and even essays, the act of putting thoughts to paper is hugely rewarding to me; it is what kickstarted my love of writing.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m a slam poet, a musician and an aspiring author. After receiving the Susan Jermyn Award, I was asked to write this short piece about myself, and my immediate reaction was: I know absolutely nothing about myself.

So let’s start with the basics. I am currently enrolled at Carleton University studying English Creative Writing and Film. I’m also a recent graduate of the Algonquin College Music Industry Arts Program. As you may be able to tell at this point, I do not have a solid career plan.

That being said, I do love the idea of being a screenwriter or a location sound recordist for film. Mostly, I just want to be able to smash all my hobbies together and call it a job.

I do write and produce my own music under the stage name Moonlit Storms – you can find me on Spotify! You can also connect with me on Instagram at moonlitstorms_official or on TikTok at moonlitstorms.

Winning the Susan Jermyn Award was completely unexpected, but it was a huge honour. I can’t believe that what started as a hobby in middle school is now my primary area of study. To all the fine folks reading this, I do hope you encounter more of my writing in the future.

Noah Snieckus
I am a first-year student at the University of Ottawa starting my undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies.

I was born and raised in a town half an hour outside Bath, England, and found myself in Canada in February 2020, just before the first pandemic lockdown. While I originally moved here to support my paternal grandfather during treatment for cancer (both my parents are Canadian), I made the decision to complete my last year of high school in Ottawa after remotely finishing a Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology from Bath College.

Completing secondary school at Glebe Collegiate Institute, I was introduced to a new system of education wherein students choose two subjects each term in a “quad-mester” – a system of greater choice than in England where your “options” are narrowed to three subjects (plus cores) by the age of 15 for GCSEs and three altogether by 17 for A-Levels. I found the Canadian system allowed me to expand my academic outlook to subjects I might not otherwise have considered and to develop a substantial interest in them while enhancing my love of learning.

At graduation, I was named an Ontario Scholar and a member of the Honour Society. I also received the Carleton University Partnership Award in English and the Susan Jermyn Award for Creative Writing.

Aside from academics, my main interest is music. I have been writing songs since the age of 12 and putting out music since the age of 14 in the rap and hip-hop genre, first under my nickname, then as of April 2020 under the tag “S Realz,” on various platforms, but mostly through Soundcloud. I hope to incorporate this lifelong passion of mine into whatever field I pursue and develop myself as an artist as well as a scholar.

Now that I am in university, I am taking a broad range of subjects in which I have an interest to build a foundation before I specialize in an area of study, and I am looking forward to all that is to come.

Drew Dwyer
I was born in Ottawa and lived in Dunrobin and rural Kanata until I was nine, when my family moved to Boston. I have an older brother who is studying engineering at Queen’s University and an older sister who just graduated as a nurse from Simmons University in Boston. I completed Grades 4–11 in the United States and returned to Ottawa in June 2020 for Grade 12.

I am just beginning my first year as a Sociology major at Concordia University in Montreal with a minor in Economics. I haven’t decided on my career direction just yet, but I’m planning to enjoy every opportunity to learn and explore my program.

Although the U.S. and Canada are geographic neighbours and share a common language, the cultural differences are very apparent. I found that living outside Canada offered me insight that I otherwise would have missed, about the U.S. but also about Canada. I believe you must leave your own country to really know it. Spending eight years in a different country heightened my deep love and appreciation for Canada, the beauty of its landscape and the people who live here, and this appreciation inspires most of my writing.

I love spending my free time in nature and playing guitar. I also occasionally write poetry, and I love to read. I’ve particularly enjoyed works by Michael Ondaatje, Malcom Gladwell and Kurt Vonnegut.

I’ve been writing and journaling for many years, and it is a great honour to receive this recognition from Glebe Collegiate Institute.

The Glebe Report salutes these articulate young writers and budding journalists and urges them to pursue their dreams with vigour and optimism. Glebe Report readers can certainly come away feeling optimistic for the future of writing.

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