The best high school journalists in the Central Valley were honored Saturday, March 6, at the San Joaquin Valley Scholastic Press Association’s annual conference at California State University, Fresno.

Diwata Fonte, a Clovis High School student, won the prestigious Student Journalist of the Year award while Bear Creek High School in Stockton won the sweepstakes trophy.

The event included contests, workshops and publication critiques conducted by Fresno State professors and professionals from The Fresno Bee, The Hanford Sentinel and other media.

Over 180 students from Central Valley high schools between Bakersfield and Stockton participated in the event, which was sponsored by the university’s Department of Mass Communication and Journalism.

Greg Lewis, of mass communication and journalism professor and conference director, said the event proves the value of scholastic journalism. He praised the quality of work produced by this year’s students.

“The range of talent in these high school students is amazing,” said Lewis. “Many of them are producing professional-quality work. They are addressing the serious issues affecting their lives in a mature and responsible way.”

Lewis said Fonte, who is editor of the Clovis High School student newspaper, was honored for her “range of talent and depth of commitment.”

Sweepstakes runner-up was Bullard High School in Fresno, second runner-up was Stagg High School in Stockton.

Named All Valley Newspapers were Fresno Christian High School’s The Feather (Fresno), Golden West High School’s The Pathfinder (Visalia), Bullard High School’s The Charger (Fresno), and Madera High School’s The Maderan (Madera).

Named All Valley Yearbooks were St. Mary’s High School’s The Cauldron (Stockton), Mount Whitney High School’s The Oak (Visalia), and Bullard High School’s The Lance (Fresno).