Rebecca Friedemann, Photo by Beth Schlanker, Press Democrat


She’s been writing the news, but one day she may help make it in Washington D.C.

Healdsburg High’s Rebecca Friedemann, a senior who in September will attend the University of Pennsylvania, was named the outstanding high school journalist Thursday at the 62nd Annual Redwood Empire Excellence in Journalism Contest.

Below you will find the complete list of winners for the contest sponsored by The Press Democrat. Once again the overall excellence award for a high school newspaper went to Petaluma’s Casa Grande High. The Gaucho Gazette’s staff won first place in 10 of the event’s 14 categories, including in-depth reporting, news photography, feature story and design and layout.

Friedemann, 17, editor for two years of the Healdsburg High Hound’s Bark, served as a Congressional intern in Washington last summer. After college, she wants to return there to work.

“My dream job is to be a chief of staff on Capitol Hill,” she said. She also wants to write for the news web site Politico.

What will she remember most about her three years on the school paper? “The late nights,” she said. Working with fellow students until midnight to get out a new edition really makes you appreciate one another.

For Casa Grande’s staff, the day included plenty of applause. Adviser Gay Robbins said the class has 33 students, nearly all of whom posed for the picture below.

Joint editors-in-chief Johanna Fleischman and Elvis Wong credited the dedication of their staff members.

“I’m really proud for all our journalists because they worked really hard,” Fleischman said.

Casa Grande High news staff, Photo by Beth Schlanker, Press Democrat

Thursday’s awards were held at the newspaper’s printing plant in Rohnert Park. Students ate pizza and salad while seated at tables between two long rows of machines that place advertising inserts into each day’s edition. The youth also took tours of the plant and its presses.

Here are the names of all the award winners:


1st Place: Johanna Fleischman, Elvis Wong, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Rebecca Friedemann, Healdsburg

3rd Place: Suzanne McNamara, Elvis Wong, Johanna Fleischman, Casa Grande


1st Place: Macile Dietrick, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Nick Pimentel, Maria Carrillo

3rd Place: Kaeleigh Reynolds, Healdsburg

Design and Layout

1st Place: Casa Grande

2nd Place: Maria Carrillo

3rd Place: Healdsburg


1st Place: Rebecca Friedemann, Healdsburg

2nd Place: Samantha Salek, Sonoma Valley

Tie 3rd Place: Erin Schmidt, Maria Carrillo

Tie 3rd Place: Kelsey Dayton, Montgomery

Feature Story – Human Interest

1st Place: Camille Gasser, Kelsey Matzen, T.J. Grayson, Maggie Pieper, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Heidi Hirvonen, Maria Carrillo

3rd Place: Kenny Kasper, Marianna Mapes, Maria Carrillo

In-Depth Reporting

1st Place: Samira Bokaie, Caitlin Griffin, Ashley Moffett, Camille Gasser, Kelsey Matzen, Ashley Slack, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Mikaela Beloberk, Kelsey McDonald, Alan Ramey, Santa Rosa

3rd Place: Kathleen Schaefer, Johanna Fleischman, Ashley Moffett, Maggie Pieper, Amy Jin, Casa Grande

News Story

1st Place: Gabriella Fleischman, Kelsey Matzen, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Heidi Hirvonen, Maria Carrillo

3rd Place: Johanna Fleischman, Casa Grande

Honorable Mention: Laura Pratz, Rancho Cotate

Photography, Feature

1st Place: Forrest Wang, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Karinne Cusenza, Maria Carrillo

3rd Place: Mikaela Beloberk, Santa Rosa

Photography, News

1st Place: Johanna Fleischman, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Jordan Albertson, Sonoma Valley

3rd Place: Karinne Cusenza, Maria Carrillo

Photography, Sports

1st Place: Celine Sargis, Santa Rosa

2nd Place: Jordan Albertson, Sonoma Valley

3rd Place: Jordan Albertson, Sonoma Valley


1st Place: Nate Hromalik, Casa Grande

2nd Place: Savannah Berry, Kaeleigh Reynolds, Healdsburg

3rd Place: Itxaso Garay, Casa Grande

Sports Feature Story

1st Place: Marianna Mapes, Maria Carrillo

2nd Place: Samira Bokaie, Nate Hromalik, Shawna Brown, Elvis Wong, Camille Gasser, Emily Welter, Casa Grande

3rd Place: Arianna Maysonave, Sonoma Valley

Sports News

1st Place: Miranda Owen, Santa Rosa

2nd Place: Joey Ellicott, Casa Grande

Tie 3rd Place: Johanna Fleischman, Casa Grande

Tie 3rd Place: Allison Ashley, Sonoma Academy

Overall Excellence

1st Place: Casa Grande, Gaucho Gazette

2nd Place: Maria Carrillo, Puma Prensa

Tie 3rd Place: Santa Rosa, The Santa Rosan

Tie 3rd Place: Ukiah, Ukiahilite

Oustanding Journalist: Rebecca Friedemann, Healdsburg

Overall Champion: Casa Grande