Education Desk: ‘Florida Student Journalist Of The Year’ Juggles School, Journalism And Health Issues
An Orlando student was just named Florida Student Journalist of the Year. Florida Scholastic Press Association picked Jack Rummler based on his reporting portfolio. Rummler is a senior at Boone High School. He spoke to 90.7’s Crystal Chavez.
Rummler is editor in chief of his school’s newspaper, a hybrid publication with a newspaper and website. Check out his work here.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Chavez: Tell me about one of your favorite stories?
Rummler: One of the stories that I think really represented me well in my portfolio was one I actually wrote my sophomore year. It was my first year on staff, and I was really still trying to figure out how things were working, but I was tasked with one of the bigger stories of the year. It was about how Orange County Public Schools was making a transition into web curriculum. Every student was going to be supplied with a laptop the following year and it was talking about the advantages to learning through technology rather than, you know, traditional pen and paper.
That was a really big story for me because it was so long and I had to get so many different interviews, and talk to so many different people, and make it all packaged together to show why this is going to be such a benefit to students. That was one of the big stories that really got me interested in continuing journalism because I think that it was something that my advisor trusted me to do. I think her confidence in me was what pushed me to keep going and always challenged me to do different stories.
Chavez: Your teacher mentioned that you overcame a lot of challenges. She said you have some kind of health condition that you’re dealing with?
Rummler: I have spina bifida. Pretty much like the extent of spina bifida, it does affect me physically and internally. It pretty much is a disability that affects your nervous system, but it has also affected some of my other organs and my legs. Overall, I think, you know, in any event in my life, or any activity I’ve participated in, it’s definitely a challenge compared to my friends who are you know, able-bodied. I have to push a little harder for me to be on the same level. In terms of newspaper, how that’s impacted me is like, there were times where I had deadlines where you really had to stay on top of your stuff and also, I had to go in for a surgery.
I’ve had to have surgery on my knee; I had prostate stones that had to be removed. I’ve had various obstacles and sicknesses as a result of my disability that I had to overcome and then on top of that, I had a newspaper deadline and obviously all my other school subjects. That was one of my biggest struggles: was to always manage staying on top of my deadlines and stuff but also trying to stay healthy because it was a struggle compared to everyone else.
Chavez: Your teacher said that you don’t shy away from stories that may be physically challenging for you.
Rummler: Yeah, I do my best to know my limits but also try and push myself, too. There’s times where you have to be like a professional and run around campus to get like certain shots or videos and there’s a lot of tasks that are not like physically demanding but you know, it is something that’s harder for me in comparison to other students but I don’t want my disability to define me and, you know, I’ve done my best to never let it. I think I never try and shy away from it because that’s just not in my nature to do so because I don’t want sympathy, like pity for you know ‘oh I can’t do this,’ like I’ll make it work for myself.
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