Senior Bennett Durando of Webster Groves High School has been named the journalismSTL Bruce Schneider Memorial Leadership Scholarship recipient for 2017.
Durando currently serves as sports editor for The ECHO newspaper and plans to carry on his sports journalism studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia in the fall.
Webster Groves High School journalism adviser Donald Johnson, who has worked with Durando since Durando’s freshman year, believes Durando’s skills truly set him apart in the journalism field.
“He remembers all of these details that he works into all of these statistics and analogies and is just a really cool, masterful storyteller,” Johnson said.
Johnson describes Durando as ethical, focused and creative, sentiments that Durando’s other teachers wholeheartedly confirm.
Durando’s English teacher, Kristin Moore, wrote in her letter of recommendation that “Bennett is
a young man with exceptional integrity, and he is committed to reporting information fairly and
reasonably. He is a hard worker, equally committed to every activity he undertakes, and an
excellent communicator, regardless of his audience.”
Apart from his vast writing abilities and ethical decision making, Durando also takes on an active
leadership role for his peers.
“He is incredibly focused,” Johnson said. “He serves as an example to the rest of the staff as to
what is possible.”
Johnson explained how Durando took on the challenge of live tweeting sport games and has
seen incredible success as well as developed quite a following. Durando also pens his own
sports column for The ECHO: “Bennett from the Bleachers.” Durando’s presence at school
sporting events is so widely known by players, coaches and fans alike that he was one of five
students nominated for the Statesman Spirit Award despite not playing a sport.
“He is an amazing kid,” Johnson said. “As a freshmen he wrote a story about how we lost to
Kirkwood [in basketball districts]; Kirkwood and Webster are mild rivals, and he wrote this story
about it that was just brilliant, and so as a freshmen he wound up winning a [CSPA] Gold
Bruce Schneider was a beloved St. Louis Scholastic Journalism Adviser who passed away in
2004; his leadership skills and love for journalism are passed on through this scholarship where
students who excel in the journalism field as leaders are recognized and honored for their hard
work and dedication.
See also: Bennett from the Bleachers: Some parting words from a sentimental columnist
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