Journalism Award for "The Latin Girl Lunch"

By Madeline Cohen

It started as just another article in the March 2013 issue of The Forum. Rachel Stone, a Latin senior at the time, wrote a piece discussing a difficult topic—one that we hear about in L.A.W. and health classes, one that is plastered on posters throughout our hallways. This topic: body image. Entitled The Latin Girl Lunch, the article discusses the way Latin students see themselves, and how society’s unrealistic ideals for appearance corrupt these views.

Its seventeen responses all express the same agreement.  The article is compelling. People called it (and Rachel) amazing, inspiring, and genius, frequently remarking on not only the topic of the article, but also on the gripping manner in which it was written. After reading the article myself, I can’t help but agree. She addresses the issue of body image with a candidness, passion, and relatability, exposing the self-conscious thoughts that we all have but seldom will admit. And even if her compelling writing won’t convince you, her numbers will. Alarming statistics and survey results are threaded in with every example, allowing the article to become even more persuasive and engrossing.

As it turns out, Latin teachers and students weren’t the only ones to recognize the article’s brilliance. Near the beginning of the month, Rachel won an award in the IWPA (Illinois Woman’s Press Association) Communications Competition. The contest allows students to enter their work in one of twenty categories. Her article won first place in the Opinion Category, which was one of the top three most competitive sections. Rachel’s work was judged by journalists from Crain’s Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Streetwise, and The Daily Herald, as well as by instructors from Columbia College Chicago, Loyola University Chicago and Northeast Illinois State University. She was one of only sixty-three students to earn such a distinction.

Just this past Saturday, May 17,  Rachel was invited to an awards ceremony here in Chicago. In addition, her piece has also been sent to the NFPW (National Federation of Press Women) for judging at a national level. Results of that competition will be announced at the beginning of September.

These congratulations are more than well deserved. Her article—while written particularly with Latin in mind—is applicable to teenagers and adults alike across the country. Rachel completely mastered the difficult task of exposing the reality of body image and the problems that accompany it. The link to The Latin Girl Lunch can be found below, and I encourage everyone who hasn’t already read it to do so. Even a year after it was written, its message is more relevant than ever. Hopefully, with more writers like Rachel and more articles like The Latin Girl Lunch, the dangerous obsession with body image won’t be a timeless one.