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WHHS senior named N.C. Journalist of the Year

Elise Trexler says her interest in journalism grew from a “happy accident” four years ago at West Henderson High School.

“I wasn’t actually interested in journalism but then freshman year I had an elective spot free and I had no idea what to do,” she said. Her English teacher, Jason Livingston, was also the adviser for the Wingspan, the school’s award winning magazine.
“He told me I should take it and one of my friends was in it,” she said. “It was a happy accident. Then I went to convention with our journalism program. We had a bunch of classes with journalists and journalism students from all over the Southeast. in Columbia, South Carolina.” The experience inspired her, and she went on to become a reporter and editor for the magazine. Last year she was editor of the website and this year as editor in chief she oversees the website and the thrice-yearly print product.
She’s also top journalist in the state. The North Carolina Scholastic Media Association announced last week that it has named Trexler the 2020 Rachel Rivers-Coffey North Carolina High School Journalist of the Year. Judges noted her editorial leadership, skillful storytelling and community media links.
Since 2001, the North Carolina Press Foundation has funded the annual scholarship award in memory of Rachel Rivers-Coffey, former N.C. Press Association president. NCPF will award a $3,000 scholarship to Trexler. The three alternates will each receive $1,000. West Henderson’s journalism program also receives a $500 grant.
Trexler will now represent the state in the National High School Journalist of the Year scholarship competition. Winners will be announced April 18 at the National High School Journalism Convention in Nashville. Trexler will receive the Rivers-Coffey award during the N.C. Scholastic Media Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill on June 16. A 17-year-old senior, she is the daughter of Katherine Van Horne and Jonathan Trexler. She has been admitted to several colleges and has not decided which one she’ll attend.