Bennett Durando of Webster Groves High School is the journalismSTL Bruce Schneider Memorial Leadership Scholarship recipient for 2017.
Durando serves as sports editor for The ECHO newspaper and plans to carry on his sports journalism studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia in the fall. Webster Groves High School journalism adviser Donald Johnson, who has worked with Durando since Durando’s freshman year, believes Durando’s skills truly set him apart in the journalism field.
“He remembers all of these details that he works into all of these statistics and analogies and is just a really cool, masterful storyteller,” Johnson said.
Johnson describes Durando as ethical, focused and creative, sentiments that Durando’s other teachers wholeheartedly confirm.
Durando’s English teacher, Kristin Moore, wrote in her letter of recommendation that “Bennett is a young man with exceptional integrity, and he is committed to reporting information fairly and reasonably. He is a hard worker, equally committed to every activity he undertakes, and an excellent communicator, regardless of his audience.”
Apart from his vast writing abilities and ethical decision making, Durando also takes on an active leadership role for his peers.
“He is incredibly focused,” Johnson said. “He serves as an example to the rest of the staff as to what is possible.”
Johnson explained how Durando took on the challenge of live tweeting sport games and has seen incredible success as well as developed quite a following. Durando also pens his own sports column for The ECHO: “Bennett from the Bleachers.” Durando’s presence at school sporting events is so widely known by players, coaches and fans alike that he was one of five students nominated for the Statesman Spirit Award despite not playing a sport.
“He is an amazing kid,” Johnson said. “As a freshmen he wrote a story about how we lost to Kirkwood [in basketball districts]; Kirkwood and Webster are mild rivals, and he wrote this story about it that was just brilliant, and so as a freshmen he wound up winning a [CSPA] Gold Circle.”
Bruce Schneider was a beloved St. Louis Scholastic Journalism Adviser who passed away in 2004; his leadership skills and love for journalism are passed on through this scholarship where students who excel in the journalism field as leaders are recognized and honored for their hard work and dedication.