Teens in Print students pose with Prince Lobel employees, holding up the Rising Voices Awards recipients’ framed articles.

Writing quality news articles on top of schoolwork, extracurriculars, and after-school jobs is no small feat—but Teens in Print journalists know that high-quality work can reap rewards.

This March marked the third cycle of the Teens in Print Rising Voices Awards, a cash prize offered to three TiPsters each issue. The award winners are carefully chosen by a team assembled by a corporate sponsor—this month, Boston law firm Prince Lobel. The week before the March edition went to print, Teens in Print staff members nominated six stories for the Prince Lobel team to read and judge. The team, a diverse assembly of lawyers from several departments, were instructed to judge the pieces based on strength of argument, reporting, and voice. After a few hours of read-alouds and lively discussion, they assigned each piece a score, and the articles with the highest point totals were announced: “The Plight of the Transgender Prisoner” by Masha Leyfer, “Depression and Anxiety Plague Adolescents” by Anilda Rodrigues, and “Let’s Stick Together: Chopsticks Link Us to Asian History” by Ivy Chen.

Two weeks ago, all of the nominated students met with the panel of judges—and some additional Prince Lobel employees—at the firm’s offices downtown. Between bites of pizza, they distributed the prizes to the winners and chatted about everything from the students’ college plans to How to Get Away with Murder.

“What a treat to be a ‘judge’ of such talented writers, to read the student articles and to meet the authors in person!” remarked Prince Lobel lawyer Anita Robboy.

Because students know that they can only be nominated for the award if they turn in their drafts on time, interview one adult and two teens, and cite only reliable sources, competition for the honor has greatly increased the quality of writing TiPsters produce.

“Knowing that a whole group of adults will be reading my article definitely makes me work harder,” said Jacob Downey, a two-time Rising Voices Awards nominee. “When I brainstorm story ideas now, I think about what topics I can write about that will make me stand out.” However, the Rising Voices Awards are not only beneficial to TiPsters. Robert Bertsche, a partner at Prince Lobel, noted that the experience was also an uplifting one for his colleagues. “The event had the side advantage of turning into a team-building exercise for a group of Prince Lobel employees who don’t normally have the opportunity to work together,” he noted.

For TiPsters and lawyers alike, the Rising Voices Awards offered a special opportunity to celebrate writing and engage with others who share that passion.

“I wasn’t simply impressed by Mariella, Anilda, Ivy, Masha, and Jacob—I truly enjoyed the opportunity to talk with them about their lives, their views, their plans, and their politics, and I know everyone else felt the same way,” said Bertsche. “It was a great experience for all of us.”

To learn more about our Rising Voices Awards and how to support great writing, click here.

Thank you to Prince Lobel for their support and enthusiasm for youth journalism!