Suburban News

Dist. 99 journalism students receive grant from Illinois Press Foundation

Emma Fudacz (from left), Ava Lafin and Abigail Culcasi, who serve as editors-in-chief of the Blueprint student newspaper at South High School, accept a $1,400 grant from Peggy Bradford from the Illinois Press Foundation. The journalism students will purchase a new camera and kit with the funds.

Journalism students at Downers Grove South High School received a grant from the Illinois Press Foundation and Illinois Farm Bureau.

The $1,400 grant will be used to purchase a professional camera and kit for students to take quality photographs, according to a news release.

Downers Grove South is one of 16 grant recipients in the state this year.

Downers Grove North High School also received a grant to purchase a camera.

“It’s so invigorating to see students engaged in journalism and excited about learning the foundational elements of the craft,” Jeff Rogers, director of the Illinois Press Foundation, said in the release.

Illinois Press Foundation Board of Director Peggy Bradford visited Downers Grove South and presented the donation to Emma Fudacz, Ava Lafin and Abigail Culcasi, the editors-in-chief of Blueprint, the school’s award-winning student newspaper.

The Journalism class at South High cheers on the editors-in-chief as they accept the grant from the Illinois Press Foundation.

“Part of my mission when applying for this grant was to make photography more accessible to all students,” Mary Long, English teacher and Blueprint adviser, said in the release. “Not everyone has a $1,000 camera at home to use. Students are relying on their phones and Chromebooks and this often produces grainy photographs. Now all students in the class will be able to learn how to use this, take pictures and diversify their portfolios.

The Illinois Press Foundation is dedicated to promoting and protecting free expression through educational activities that foster the practice and respect of First Amendment principles and values, to enhance the quality of services provided by newspapers to their communities and to support reading and literacy efforts, according to the release.

The IPF was established in 1982 as the charitable arm of the Illinois Press Association. It promotes and protects free expression through educational activities. Read more at