Mr. Merithew accepts service award for journalism

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Mr. Merithew accepts service award for journalism

Broadcast Journalism/News Media Teacher Mr. Ben Merithew speaks at the podium during his acceptance speech. He received the Taft Award at the 2019 50th Missouri Interscholastic Press Association's Annual Journalism Day.

Broadcast Journalism/News Media Teacher Mr. Ben Merithew speaks at the podium during his acceptance speech. He received the Taft Award at the 2019 50th Missouri Interscholastic Press Association's Annual Journalism Day. "It's a big deal that people are recognizing you for your service," Mr. Merithew said. "We (Journalism Teachers) all serve."

Feliciti Mitts

Broadcast Journalism/News Media Teacher Mr. Ben Merithew speaks at the podium during his acceptance speech. He received the Taft Award at the 2019 50th Missouri Interscholastic Press Association's Annual Journalism Day. "It's a big deal that people are recognizing you for your service," Mr. Merithew said. "We (Journalism Teachers) all serve."

Feliciti Mitts

Feliciti Mitts

Broadcast Journalism/News Media Teacher Mr. Ben Merithew speaks at the podium during his acceptance speech. He received the Taft Award at the 2019 50th Missouri Interscholastic Press Association's Annual Journalism Day. "It's a big deal that people are recognizing you for your service," Mr. Merithew said. "We (Journalism Teachers) all serve."

Story by Kate Pope, Reporter

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As the crowd grows quiet, Broadcast Journalism Teacher Mr. Ben Merithew steps up to the podium. He scans the room full of unfamiliar and familiar faces, then begins speaking to more than 1,200 journalism students and their teachers at the annual Missouri Interscholastic Press Association’s Journalism Day at the University of Missouri.

Mr. Merithew was the 2019 recipient of the MIPA Taft Award. The Taft award is awarded to a person or group giving outstanding service to scholastic journalism and/or to MIPA. Mr. Merithew felt shocked and humbled to have been nominated for this award.

“I was really honored,” Mr. Merithew said. “It was like a surprise. It’s named after a person who puts me to shame. Dr. Taft did 10 times what I did. He just gave freely of himself.”

Past president for MIPA, Mr. Merithew has contributed to the association even after his term by partaking in J-Day activities. Fellow member Michelle Turner, current vice president of MIPA, nominated him due to his dedication and passion towards journalism.

“I think one of the reasons why she nominated me was because I was president at a time when MIPA was struggling,” Mr. Merithew said. “A new state organization called the Missouri Journalism Education Association started in opposition to MIPA.”

According to the nomination, “Merithew has not only more than proved himself as a Journalism Educator, he has been a CHAMPION for MIPA. During many a difficult year, he stayed the course as MIPA President. His goal was never for us to be divided but united, which is why he never gave up on trying to preserve our Journalism teachers group. I can safely say that MIPA today wouldn’t be as strong, or perhaps even still EXIST if Ben Merithew hadn’t been in charge. He is the glue that kept us together during some incredibly rocky years.”

Senior Elliot Mejia has been involved in Mr. Merithew’s broadcasting course since freshman year. He thinks Mr. Merithew is very hard working and dedicated to journalism.

“I’ve seen multiple times of him dedicating his effort to helping someone,” Mejia said. “He’s one of those people who looks into his morals and is like ‘I’m gonna help you regardless of the situation.’”

Senior Mass Media Staff Member Joel Huntebrinker only took Mr. Merithew’s class his senior year of high school. He believes Mr. Merithew’s broadcasting program makes it easier for our school community to be more aware of our sporting activities.

“Broadcasting allows students, teachers and faculty members to support the activities going on in our school,” said Huntebrinker. “He’s not even being paid to broadcast yet he does it for the school and the students.”

Mr. Merithew has been involved with MIPA for over 12 years. He feels the organization helps develop leaders and servers that help students who are interested in journalism.

“MIPA offered me the opportunity to be that servant leader, and I decided to help where I could to assist other teachers and students in journalism education, “ Mr. Merithew said. “To me…the kids are worth it.”

Mr. Merithew invited all of the teachers to stand up in the auditorium, and the crowd applauded in appreciation. Mr. Merithew acknowledges the service they also contribute to MIPA. After all, together they make Journalism Day a day to celebrate.

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