Mr. Goodwin goes to Washington

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HCHS senior wins Free Spirit Award

By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

A passion for journalism, both print and broadcast has earned an HCHS senior a trip to Washington.

Brandon Goodwin, a senior at Henry County High School, has already come a long way and is still going places. An Oklahoman transplanted to Franklinton,  Goodwin soon will travel to Washington, D.C., to collect a scholarship for outstanding work in the field of journalism.

Goodwin said the opportunity to apply for the scholarship kind of snuck up on him. Media teacher, Steve Galyon told him he would be a good candidate, but the deadline was short.

“The first time I saw it was the day before it was due,” Goodwin said. After getting an extension on the deadline, Goodwin rushed to complete a letter of interest, two essays, a six-page application and video proof in broadcasting and journalism.

The gambit paid off when he won at the state level. He was one of two Kentucky students to receive the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholarship, an annual prize given to one male and one female student in each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Goodwin said his journey began when he transferred to HCHS as a sophomore from a small high school in Okemah, Okla. “I was in a graduating class of 40,” he said. “They considered computer classes a foreign language.”

The variety of courses available to students at HCHS was a thrilling change for the gifted teen who quickly discovered his niche. Journalism is Goodwin’s passion. “I started taking Mr. Galyon’s classes,” he said, “and it just sparked.”

Galyon teaches Broadcast Journalism including Introduction to Filmmaking and Broadcast News. Goodwin also takes a print journalism course offered by Language Arts teacher Jona Arnold. “Writing and videography are where my peak of talent is,” he said.

Goodwin started writing weekly sports stories, which led to a position with WLKY-32 News High School Playbook. There, he reports high school sports for eight schools in Henry, Oldham, Shelby and Trimble counties. Goodwin posts to the internet, writes a blog and records video for the Web site.

Goodwin also writes for the HCHS school paper, The Paw Print, published by print journalism students. He said most of the class is more focused on yearbook work and knows he enjoys writing. “I end up doing most of the reporting,” he said.

The Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholarship is another stepping stone on his path to a career in journalism. State winners receive a six-day all expenses paid trip to the scholarship and journalism conference program at the Newseum, a museum dedicated to news and journalism. It was built by the Freedom Forum.

The annual conference and scholarship awards gives budding journalists opportunities to meet nationally acclaimed journalists as well as their peers. While there, students will meet with Meet the Press moderator David Gregory and sit in on a session of C-Span.

The 102 high school students also will be vying for more scholarship money. “I’ll be competing for a $10,000 scholarship,” Goodwin said. “The girl attends DuPont Manual,” Goodwin said. “I’ve been scouting out the competition.”

The $1,000 scholarship already has been earmarked to help defray some of his expenses at the University of Kentucky, to which Goodwin received a full scholarship, in Lexington next fall.

Goodwin said he considered Western Kentucky University, but chose UK for its challenging academics.  “I’m majoring in Political Science with a minor in Journalism,” he said. “I want to have some back-up plan.”

After graduating college, Goodwin plans to launch a journalism career. “The first job I’d really want is working at a major newspaper or local TV station,” he said.

Goodwin said although he has seen statistics showing journalistic growth in the negative, he is not deterred. “With the industry as shaky as it is,” he said, “I’ll go wherever the job is.”


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