Fr. Ed and Rutgers Prof Talk Journalism, Hive members, BNewsers garner honors

BEHIND THE PAGES: What’s the Scoop on the BNews Banquet?


Dr. Dennis Lansang

BNews Banquet: Br. Asiel Rodriguez, O.S.B., second from right, convinces BNews staffers to wait til after dinner to eat the cake. (From left) Jonathan Dulce, Seun Eisape, Israel Small, Yannie Lopez, Br. Asiel,, and Kevin Calle.

Note: This is part of an occasional blog series on behind-the-scenes activities at The Benedict News.

There are nights. And then there are NIGHTS.

Last Wednesday’s was one of those — a really good one.

Dr. Dennis Lansang
(From left) Editors-in-chief Jacob Anthony Amaro and Jules-Roland Gouton honor Fr. Ed with a gold “Key” journalism pin

Our biggest promoter, Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B., showed up to prod and tease us and remind us that we can’t rest on any laurels and must always continue to work hard. The world won’t wait. A New York Times best-selling author, Robin Gaby Fisher, spoke and urged students to continue their efforts in journalism beyond high school — nothing less than democracy is at stake.

Monks, faculty and staff, alums, and SBP families gathered in the cafeteria last Wednesday night for The Benedict News’ Awards and Honors Dinner. After the speeches by Fr. Ed and Prof. Fisher, we honored our Seniors, we lauded those in the community who have greatly and unselfishly assisted the Benedict News’ efforts, and we tipped our hats to members of the BN staff. It was all done under the aegis of the Quill and Scroll, an international honor society for high school journalists.

Dr. Dennis Lansang
After a rousing speech about the importance of journalism, author Robin Gaby Fisher bestows an honor cord on Senior Jose Garcia-Orozco at the Benedict News Awards Dinner

Br. Asiel Maria Rodriguez, O.S.B. gave a beautiful benediction reminding us that God is always there for us. Then, we dined on the most delicious food imaginable, including succulent chicken and mad-delicious mac-and-cheese made by Monastery Chef Shirley Walker. If you didn’t make it, sorry — it’s long gone. But, everyone in the community is always invited, and there’s always next year!

Our editors-in-chief, Jacob Anthony Amaro SY and Jules-Rolande Gouton SY, were able to distract Fr. Ed long enough to pin a Quill and Scroll “Key” pin on him, one of the organization’s top honors. He said, he would “NOT wear it proudly,” but we suspect he will be wearing it all next year hidden under his cassock when Jules and Jacob are running The Daily Targum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

Ms. Fisher is a noted author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who leads the journalism program at Rutgers University in Newark. She didn’t pull any punches, either.  

“Good journalism is necessary for our democracy and it is necessary to our understanding of each other,” said Fisher. “It is hope, and it needs people like you. Committed, bright, curious minds with a passion to make the world a better place. That’s what it comes down to, really. Making a contribution, big or small, by researching and reporting and telling stories without bias or judgment, but with honest intentions and truth.”

Dr. Dennis Lansang
Jacob Amaro thanks Mr. Stephen Adubato, a religion teacher and writer, for his philosophical essays published in print and online versions of the BNews

Senior and BN Business Manager Jose Garcia-Orozco performed flawlessly as the evening’s master of ceremonies.

Several members of the Hive, as well as students, were honored with the Benedict News Award of Excellence for contributions above and beyond expectations. They included: Ms. Candace Bradsher, Ms. Susan Kronberg, Mr. Stephen Adubato, Fr. Augustine Curley, O.S.B, Ms. Noreen Connolly, and Mr. Lincoln Mullings. BN staffers noted for outstanding contributions included Seniors Jose Garcia-Orozco, Luiz Narvaez, and Phil Wilson and Freshmen Anthony Mosquera and Israel Small.

Editors-in-chief Jacob and Jules were inducted as full members of Quill and Scroll, with each receiving an “editor-in-chief” pin, membership certificate, and subscription to Quill and Scroll magazine.

Dr. Dennis Lansang
As Newark Abbey’s archivist, Fr. Augustine Curley, O.S.B., provides invaluable access to research for student journalists. (From left) Editor-in-chief Jules-Roland Gouton says thank you. Fellow E-I-C Jacob Amaro is at center.

Prof. Fisher placed honor cords on BN Seniors who will wear them at Commencement: Jacob Amaro, Frank Deigh, Jose Garcia-Orozco, Jules Gouton, Luis Narvaez, and Phil Wilson.

A number of BN staffers were honored for their excellence this year, including: Staff Writer Alex Benanti, Online Editor Kevin Calle, Photographer Frank Deigh, Managing Editor Jonathan Dulce, Op-Ed Editor Seun Eisape, Business Manager Jose Garcia-Orozco, Photography Editor Yannie Lopez, Designer Anthony Mosquera, Head Administrator Luiz Narvaez, Staff Writer Carlos Presina, Photographer Emory Rodrigues, Designer Israel Small, and Designer Phil Wilson.

In a surprise move, my students presented  me with a beautiful plaque noting what they allege was my “unrelenting support and guidance in what was a successful year full of pain, endurance, and growth.”

I’m not crying. You’re crying.

Dr. Dennis Lansang
Benedict News Seniors surprise their journalism teacher with a lovely plaque