Nguyen represented Washington state to D.C.

By Erick Yanzon

One of the Hawkeye news editors, AnhViet Nguyen, went to a trip to Washington D.C. at the annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference program from July 14 to 19. He was chosen to represent the Washington state, to be part of the 51 students from each state, including the District of Columbia. The program awards $1000 scholarships to rising high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism and who demonstrate qualities of “free spirit.” The scholarships will be paid to the student’s colleges and universities of choice in the fall of 2013. The event was an an all-expenses-paid journalism conference at the Newseum, located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. This program began in 1999 and is funded by the Freedom Forum, who paid for all the expenses for travel, lodging, ground transportation and meals for participants, to honor Al Neuharth, the founder of USA TODAY, Newseum and the Freedom Forum. The scholarships and conference are designed to promote the vital role of the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy, and to inspire students to pursue journalism careers.

According to, the Freedom Forum joined with the Journalism Education Association, high school journalism teachers and news organizations throughout the country to promote the program. Applicants were required to submit work samples, letters of reference, a transcript and essays about their interest in journalism and their free spirit qualities. The essays prompt were to explain why they want to pursue a career in journalism, and what characteristics make them a “free spirit.” The class of 20 boys and 31 girls reflects the multicultural diversity of the United States. Twenty-one of the students are from diverse backgrounds including African American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian and Middle Eastern.

Through presentations, classes and experiences at the Newseum and elsewhere in Washington, the students learned about the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy and the vital role of a free and responsible press. Students also studied the three branches of government and how journalists cover them.

Students visited the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the headquarters of USA TODAY. They also attended a National Press Club luncheon program about the “State of the First Amendment.” They participated in a courtroom simulation with U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell and watch a taping of NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory.

Nguyen was the first to represent Mountlake Terrace High school, and second to Edmonds School District, following Tom Giratikanon, from 2005 in Edmonds-Woodway High School.