by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

Congratulations to Mollie Cook, Logan Ulrich and Molly Zweibel, three high school journalists named as Free Spirit Scholars who are part of the JEA Mentoring Program.

The three – representing Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania – are students whose advisers have JEA mentors.

Fifty-one students – representing the 50 states and D.C. – will attend an all-expenses-paid journalism conference held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., July 14-19.

The Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference program awards $1,000 college scholarships to rising high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism and who demonstrate qualities of “free spirit.” The program began in 1999.

We asked the students to share their reaction to being selected as a Free Spirit Scholar.

Mollie Cook

Mollie Cook
Homestead High School, Mequon, Wis.
Adviser: Rachel Rauch
Rachel’s JEA mentor:  Linda Barrington

Mollie Cook — “This award is a way for me to fulfill my obligation as a journalist to inform the public through my nascent connections and understandings and a way for me to continue my success in my future endeavors. I hope to gain experience in the field in which I aspire to have a career while meeting new people and developing and advancing my journalistic and design skill set. Mrs. Rauch has inspired me over the past year to take risks and go for it even if it doesn’t work out 100 percent of the time:  some of the risks are worth it, whether it be in design, writing or life in general.”


Logan Ulrich

Logan Ulrich
South Iredell High School, Statesville, N.C.
Adviser: Leah Baisden
Leah’s JEA mentor: Martha Rothwell

Logan Ulrich — “Attending the Al Neuharth Freedom Forum will be a tremendous opportunity for me.  I’m incredibly honored and thrilled to be one of the students chosen, and I’m excited for the convention!  The opportunity to spend a week in the capital, seeing the Newseum and learning more about the First Amendment is the chance of a lifetime.”


Molly Zwiebel

Molly Zwiebel
Pottsville Area High School, Pottsville, Pa.
Adviser: Bridget Freiler
Bridget’s JEA mentor: Kathy Zwiebel

Molly Zwiebel — “My desire is to do nothing more but to tell stories with my images, and to allow the world to see what I see. Being selected as Pennsylvania’s Free Spirit winner is a blessing and an honor that I will value for the rest of my life. I plan on absorbing as much information and experience as I possibly can, as well as meet others passionate about journalism while I’m in Washington, D.C. My dream is to share my eyes, thoughts, and explorations with everyone I encounter — to be a journalist.”