Highland Rambler

The student news site of Highland High School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Highland Rambler

Highland Rambler

Laynee Hall Has Found Herself In Journalism


For some people, journalism is just news. For some, it’s entertainment. For others, especially high school students, it can be just a crinkled newspaper abandoned on a hallway floor. But for English Sterling Scholar Laynee Hall, journalism is an entire world of opportunity and expression.

Hall has been a part of the journalism program at Highland for the past three years, and this year, is editor in chief of The Highland Rambler.

“I think that being in journalism has given me a new way to express myself as an individual,” Hall said. “A lot of the times in different situations, I find myself kind of being a little bit more, reserved, and kind of holding back a little bit more, but in journalism, I am confident enough in my writing, and in my ability to assess different information and create a news article about it or an analysis of what’s happening to different people, that it’s given me an outlet to kind of be a little bit more outspoken and a little bit more confident, and so it’s kind of interesting,”

The English category for Sterling Scholar focuses heavily on students as writers, but even more so as readers. For Hall, being a student journalist at first didn’t seem like enough to qualify her to win the category, but because of the multiple other extracurriculars she’s been involved in in the past four years, she was proficient enough to make it to the final round of sterling scholars for the state of Utah.

Hall has been a part of the IB program at Highland, which puts a huge emphasis on reading, writing, and analyzing, which gave her a definite leg up in the Sterling Scholar competition.

“I give a lot of credit for my English abilities [to IB] because a lot of IB is writing,” Hall said. “The majority of our tests are essay writing, and so having the skill to be able to kind of analyze information and write about it in a clear way that other people understand has been really helpful,”

Between IB, being editor-in-chief of the newspaper, sports, and having a social life outside of school, Hall already seems pretty booked (English pun intended), yet she still makes time for more.

This year, she was the alternate student board member for the Salt Lake City School District, where she was put on a teen advisory council, and helped to discuss different topics affecting Highland as a student. She is a member of Young Diplomats through Utah Global Diplomacy, where with a group of other high school students, she learned about international relations, and competed in Academic World Quest.

“Essentially, it’s a team event, and four team members work together to learn a lot of different information about different diplomatic instances and history and crises happening around the world,” Hall said. “We ended up winning for the state of Utah, so we got to go to DC to represent Utah in the national competition. We ended up placing 15th nationally out of 47 states, which was pretty cool.”

Hall also has volunteered for the past four years with the Salt Lake City Public Library, which meant being involved in their super summer challenge, but more importantly, allowed her to become published through the library, which in turn, helped her Sterling Scholar portfolio become even stronger.

“Two years ago, I published kind of like a booklet called, A Teen’s Guide to Classic Literature, where I basically went through and explained different books and how they related to different themes that everyday teens encounter,” Hall said. “I think that was kind of a big part of my English thing too, because working in the library, I got a different type of English exposure. Just because journalism is a lot of writing, and reading, but working in the library and working with books, it’s just kind of a different thing, but it still falls into English.”

On top of that, Hall is NHS service coordinator, a student-athlete, and she holds an after-school job.

With so many demanding activities all at once, Hall has had to know how to stay on top of work, prioritize, and be disciplined with herself. She has a strict schedule during the week which helps keep her going, and she’s sure to make time for herself and her social life, because she knows the importance of leaving some energy for less stressful aspects of her life.

“I think that I care about a lot of the things that I participate in, so I’m a little bit more motivated to make time for them and create balance for them,” Hall said.

Balance is something that her mother, Melissa Hall, worried about because of how busy Laynee made herself. But Melissa had a front-row seat to watching someone who has become a master of dividing and conquering.

For most people, teens especially, having more than one or two things to do becomes overwhelming to the point where they can’t focus or get anything done without becoming paralyzed by stress. Hall, however, has the ability to not let a long to-do list stop her. She knows how to compartmentalize each and every task and focus on one at a time until everything is done.

“I think that she does do a lot, but she’s also tried to be strategic in deadlines or demands with what she does, and so I think that that’s helped us, but sometimes we do wish she’d schedule more fun things in there,” Melissa said.

Even so, Hall’s hard work has been a success.

Journalism has been beneficial to Hall not only as a method of expression, but it’s also opened up a world of creativity for her. She not only writes for The Rambler, she is required to design pages and work with photographers and graphic designers to create a product that is informative and aesthetically pleasing.

“I think it’s given me a lot of opportunity to learn how do design things, and kind of just go through a process of trial and error,” Hall said.






Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Highland Rambler Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *