Downers Grove North student is journalist of the year

Sam Bull, a senior at Downers Grove North High School, has been named the 2021 Illinois Journalist of the Year by the Illinois Journalism Education Association. He becomes the organization’s 32nd Journalist of the Year since 1989 and the third from Downers Grove North High School.

“Sam is an outstanding student who is fully engaged in and passionate about everything he undertakes,” said Janice Schwarze, principal of North High. “We are so proud of him for achieving this prestigious honor.”

Bull serves as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Omega. He also serves as the North High student representative on the Community High School District 99 Board of Education.

“Sam is an exemplary editor-in-chief for the Omega newspaper. He is dependable, creative and one of the best writers I have ever had the privilege of teaching,” wrote Eric Landschoot, English teacher and Omega advisor. “Sam’s overall contribution to our newspaper and school has made a lasting impression on his peers, teachers and classmates. To say that Sam is deserving of this award is an understatement, and we all look forward to following him as more accolades come his way.”

The honor comes with a scholarship and makes him eligible to compete for the national title. Downers Grove North graduate Natalie White received the title in 2018 and Abbey Murphy received the title in 2017.

“The passion, honesty, dedication and commitment to excellence reflected in your outstanding portfolio moved everyone,” wrote John Gonczy, IJEA president, in a letter to Bull. “You are clearly an articulate and self-reflective young man with a key sense of social justice.”

The Illinois Journalist of the Year winner receives a scholarship and becomes the Illinois representative In JEA’s national-level Journalist of the Year contest. For more information, visit